CD Projekt Red has released official modding tools for its monumental role-playing game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Enterprising modders have already been working hard to create new content for the PC version of Wild Hunt, and the developer has admirably opted to make this even easier.
The tool kit is available via the Nexus Mods website, a fan-run community and platform to share mods for a variety of games. In addition to the tools, it also includes a quick start guide, a sample modding walkthrough, and four examples to help get you started. These are mods that replace the texture on Geralt’s starting outfit, replace Roach with a unicorn, a modification to game scripts, and a system for hot-keyed equipment sets.
It’s important to note that this is not an editor, but rather a set of technical modding tools, as the developer points out in an interview with Gamespot: “First of all, the modding tools we are releasing are not an editor. They’re meant for people who are somewhat experienced with modding software and are designed to make creating mods easier. They give access to game files and allow for easy extracting, compilation, and decompilation of resources.”
The developer also offers some insight into what sorts of mods to expect from the game’s passionate community: “On one hand, we have the extremely popular character appearance modifications, which should be even easier to make now. On the other, we have gameplay modifications, which — so far — have been limited to XML files. With access to script files, players will be able to change nearly every aspect of gameplay mechanics, including creating new, custom skills for character development, adding new features to the game, modifying aspects of enemy AI, making changes to UI, and so on … all these things can significantly change the gameplay experience so we imagine there will be a lot of ‘hardcore mode’ mods, making the game more difficult or ‘power up’ mods allowing Geralt to kill stuff with a flick of his fingers. Alternatively, someone can turbocharge village cats to run twice as fast, hell, we’re eager as hell to see ourselves!”
With Bethesda bringing mod support for Fallout 4 to the Xbox One, a console first, many fans are wondering if other developers will follow suit. CD Projekt Red is certainly excited by the prospect:
“We are thinking about it but it’s a way more complex process to do this on consoles so we can’t give you any details now. It’s really important for us not to partition The Witcher community and allow access to mods to console gamers, too. We’re considering various approaches to solve this and started initial talks with first-parties about this. We can’t make any hard promises yet, but you can be sure that we’re looking into it.”
CD Projekt Red’s explicit partnership with Nexus is unconventional, but welcome. The site has been instrumental in the long tail of passionate play in many of Bethesda’s games, hosting many of the most popular mods for Skyrim and Fallout 3. Along with the deluge of free DLC after release, CD Projekt Red has shown itself to be remarkably pro-consumer in the way it has handled The Witcher 3‘s release, setting a strong example for how blockbuster games can embrace and support engaged communities of players.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt released in May of this year to near-universal acclaim. Two major expansions are planned for the coming year, adding 30-plus hours of content to the already massive game.