The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Giveaway

The Witcher 3 Giveaway

We are currently giving away 50 game codes for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to some really special people (you, our readers)!  Feel free to leave an e-mail to contests at to enter and tell us why you want The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt! (Minimum of 5 sentences)

Posted By: Usman Ihtsham
ON Monday, May 18th, 2015
7:24 PM

UPDATE # 2 – UPDATED – Developer Insider: The Witcher 3 Was Downgraded From 2013 – List of All Features Taken Out & Why

Mummy, where are my particles?!

It seems The Witcher 3 graphics controversy never ends, and it is for good reason. Recently it has been quite apparent to a lot of people with footage showing up all over the web of newer PC build gameplay demos supposedly running on ULTRA on the PC (Poland preview event) which pales in comparison to the 2013 gameplay trailer. We contacted our insider who provided us information on The Division downgrade and apparent delay into 2016 months ago – who managed to connect us with someone in the know-how at CD Projekt RED last night to further explain the situation and set the record straight.

Here is simply what they had to say in regards to the whole thing (we advise everyone to take it with a grain of salt, despite having vetted their identity ourselves):

2013 was a tough time for CD Projekt RED simply because we were trying to create an entire bulk of the game on the older DirectX 9 renderer that we had in place for The Witcher 2. Most of the assets were created during the time we were creating our DX11 solution render pipeline to bring the next-generation experience to everyone. A lot of the footage including the debut gameplay trailer was done when the consoles were not even out and we only had an idea of the specifications of the system. This landed itself into problem territory when we realized the next-generation systems could not simply meet our graphical output to the desirable level of quality that we needed. There were several options: build three different builds or consolidate to the nearest denominator, which is what we did. We took the specifications of the lowest performing throughput system which I don’t care to mention here at all to avoid that discussion, and worked our way up from there. As almost a 250 man team, we sequentially had to take out/turn down a lot of features not just from our NVIDIA GameWorks pipeline but our normal game solution scripts as well – these include the following:

  • Level of horizon detail (essentially the draw distance had to be completely tuned down to tax the consoles less)

  • Volume based translucency

  • Ambient occlusion and foliage density / tree count

  • Flexible water simulation / tessellation  we resorted to a (script texture effect similar to most games than physical based simulation)

  • Ground/building tessellation

  • Forward lit soft particles (this is the fire, smoke, fog that you would encounter while going through thick terrain into open space)

  • Real-time reflections in the water are completely off and replaced with a cheaper render solution estimator (this is a primary reason blood splatter was also removed from water)

We just did not have the manpower, budget or the console power to produce the vision we intended before the consoles were released to create a more visually stunning game of higher fidelity like 2013 assets. The PCs themselves had more than enough power to achieve this vision, almost certainly. But working on the game across 3 platforms did not make it feasible to keep features included that could potentially break the game as we kept building around it. All the 2013 trailers were actually in-game footage (not prerendered or vertical slices) but essentially just not an entirely finished world running on a high-end PC at the time.

When questioned as to why CD Projekt RED’s community managers have denied that “there will be no downgrade” and that there has not been one (as if this hardly a smart answer to anyone with a pair of eyes):

In game development you simply just don’t explain it like this. It isn’t something a developer ever wants to admit to because it would make us look bad even if it is plain as day. It would make us seem like we’re incapable and that next-gen is not as next-gen as people would think.  The team would rather focus on the positives than admit to any faults, negatives, or that the final product is not the vision they intended politically speaking (because the game still looks good but not 2013 good). As for the PC version, it looks just like the console versions just with a higher resolution and a lower-form of HairWorks in effect.

Again, because I cannot reveal the identity of this developer for obvious reasons, I can tell anyone out there interested to take this whole thing with a grain of salt. But likewise, take any talks of “nothing has been downgraded” since 2013 with the same amount of salt as well from CD Projekt RED.

Update: Lots of e-mails pouring in. Just to make it clear to people – if you take a look at The Witcher 3: Killing Monsters trailer you will notice something peculiar in the intro. Or if you cannot do that – take a look at this:

E3 Awards Shot 2013

We here at WhatIfGaming do not need publicity. Game developers need our publicity. Our job here is just to report what we know and can verify for the best interest of the public. That is all.

Update # 2:

Eurogamer posted an article with CD Projekt RED admitting this downgrade just as we wrote it. To all the naysayers: remember who we are. We are the voice of truth.

Posted By: Usman Ihtsham
ON Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
6:10 PM

50 Shades of Grey Review: The Worst Movie To See This Valentines Day / Mature Audience Crushed


50 Shades of Grey’s New York City premiere that we were invited to was exciting. The cast was here, and so were screaming  hormonal fangirls and more mature women (mostly mature women). 50 Shades of Grey has been the topic of fangirls worldwide who have been craving their metropolis and rather far-fetched erotica from the popular novelist E.L. James. Being part of a larger trilogy, the first iteration of Fifty Shades of Grey is utterly terrible in terms of not just the acting, but also the storyline in general.

Despite not being a personal fan of the novels, especially after having read the first one, I can see the allure for the sexually repressed teenagers / older women past a certain prime worldwide. Most of the target audience of Fifty Shades of Grey remains primarily women in their 35+ age group according to research done. The novel itself is about an ‘innocent’ virgin girl Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) who has never had sex with any man, but decides to sign a contract with Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) who also happens to be a neurotically creepy and utterly weird millionaire with a penchant for bondage.

After the presumed innocent Anastasia, who has never had sex before for reasons we never entirely know or whether or not she even had opportunities, signs a contract with Christian, she gives it all up for this random guy and his money. He promises to be loyal to her, even if nothing substantial will ever come from it and she’s A-OK with that (remember she’s innocent?). Like the truly innocent women she is as the movie portrays, Anastasia loves exploring bondage with a complete stranger and the journey begins rampantly for her.

The novel itself at least to me is very utterly terrible. I strive to be as unbiased as humanly possible in my reviews of anything as my lovely readers know, and this is no exception. 50 Shades of Grey has an audience that love it, and I am almost certain they will hate the movie as it just simply cannot compound the inherent thoughts and seductive words of Anastasia Steele’s thoughts without overdoing a voice over per scene. The movie is relatively very tame compared to the book, with a rating of Restricted. In a way, I prefer it this way, as I cannot honestly see this being any other rating other than AO (bordering on pornography) if women/fans of this book were hoping that it would do the book justice. Seriously ladies?

Despite what it does have going for it in its Hollywoodization (my own term for this), the acting is horrible and the plot is even more unbearable on screen than the book itself.

Rating: 0.5/5

Posted By: Usman Ihtsham
ON Thursday, February 12th, 2015
2:02 PM

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Review – A Terribly Terrible Time Even For Kids

Spongebob: Sponge Out Of Water

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water sounded like another great SpongeBob movie concept by Nickelodeon Movies, and yet we cannot help but feel it has entirely failed in that aspect. Despite being a kids movie, Sponge Out of Water abandons a lot of the cultural lore of Spongebob in his ability to go out of water, and even makes children ask: how can he (Spongebob) go out of the water?!

In terms of the storyline, the Krabby Patty formula is stolen in a bid by Plankton, or at least that is what the Bikini Bottomites think. Rather the real formula is stolen by a pirate above water who just happens to know that the Spongebob community exists (oddly enough). As if this was not bad enough, he steals the formula from the ocean and begins to sell it above water. Plankton and Spongebob (having been accused of working together to steal it) team up to get the real Krabby patty formula in a time-traveling mess. Somehow they build a time machine, they manage to go back to the day it is stolen, and eventually transform themselves magically into superheroes with the uncanny ability to breathe air.

Despite the beautiful visuals of The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, everything has been sacrificed to the confusion of even the intended audience: children. Out of the 3 screenings we begrudgingly went to – not many kids were seen laughing or enjoying the movie. It even went as far as some kids yelling out “this makes no sense.”

If you want to see a good movie with your kids – we recommend Paddington over this mess.

Rating: 0/5

Posted By: Usman Ihtsham
ON Friday, February 6th, 2015
10:44 AM

Paddington Review: Soft, Cuddly, and Short


Paddington is the latest computer generated (CG) family movie from the producer who brought you Harry Potter and is all about warm and fuzzy feelings that the whole family can enjoy. The movie has the perfect elements of comedy, success, and personification all wrapped up in a cuddly package of a Bear named Paddington.

Paddington starts off with an old time movie from the Geographers Guild by geographer Montgomery Clyde (Tim Downie) who meets some very odd bears and ends up giving them his hat and teaching them the proper way to speak English with English customs to boot. The culturalization carries through to Paddington (Michael Brown), a small but loveable bear who finds himself at Paddington Station where he is taken in by the Brown Family. The dynamic between Paddington and the Brown family creates a bulk of the movie in a search for an identity and a place to call home, while the symbolism with the blossoming pink flower tree as the Brown family wallpaper was beautiful when it properly reflected the moods on screen. The main antagonist Millicent (Nicole Kidman) is a taxidermist who wants to add Paddington to her extensive collection of stuffed and rare exotic animals, and Nicole Kidman acted this scene out with a great level of believability and insanity, though we did wish it was slightly more comedic and PG friendly.

The cinematography of Paddington is memorable, while the storyline pacing was clever and always entertaining with each scene. Every scene has a resemblance to Harry Potter’s cinematography in terms of the brightness of the colors and set-direction with the way the actors are portrayed against the backdrop elements. Hilarity ensues in quite possibly one of the most original movies to come out in 2015 so far in terms of family fare. The only downside to Paddington that we found was that it was irrevocably short, and even after the credits were rolling we were left wanting more and generally not satisfied enough.

Paddington is cleverly written, brilliantly acted, and stunningly portrayed with every minute on screen and is quite possibly a must see for people who love a good family movie, even if it is probably shorter than it should be.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Posted By: Usman Ihtsham
ON Monday, January 26th, 2015
6:50 PM

American Sniper Review: The Lethal Marksman


Clint Eastwood returns to directing another big-screen film since 2012’s Trouble with the Curve with the introduction of the biopic American Sniper. There is tense wartime action mixed with citizenship drama that amalgamates into the core of the story written by Jason Hall and based on the book by Chris Kyle – the original American Sniper who the film is based on.

As he grows up, Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) learns about the difference in defending people and being a bully/wolf from his father and their early hunting trips. The real-life sniper enlisted to protect people from terrorists and ended up being the most feared marksman in history – being referred to as “Legend” with his wartime buddies. While American Sniper has a lot of tense moments from early on in the movie, it follows a string of cuts in the sequences within chronological order after every tour. This storyline construction is rather abrupt and feels a bit disconcerting to the viewer’s sense of immersion in the storyline, which is something we are surprised that both the director and writer did not consider. What has been mistaken for a tool of more suspense only serves to make the audience disconnected from the experience – which is a shame. When the tense scenes (of which there are 2 notable ones highlighted in the trailers) continue, the struggle of Kyle coming back from war is apparent but nothing entirely individualistic or memorable. Bradley Cooper’s performance is incredible and the direction by Clint Eastwood seems to be decent enough.

American Sniper reveals a struggle between impending fatherhood with a lovely wife (Sienna Miller), the need to protect people from harm, and the tumultuous difficulty in maintaining a balance with family. As a result, American Sniper seems to juggle a lot of things without fully branching out into the storyline of every motif it tries to touch upon – leaving a lot more to be desired in the characterization of wartime struggle and the never-ending internal battle of returning from war for good.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Posted By: Usman Ihtsham
ON Friday, January 16th, 2015
7:47 PM