opinion

I'm Done Playing Witcher 3 Until CD Projekt RED Fixes It

by Andrew Reiner on May 22, 2015 at 06:10 AM

I'm the victim of a particularly nasty save bug in the Xbox One version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. My first encounter with it resulted in over two hours of progress disappearing into the ether. My second dance with it stole away another hour of questing. My third occurrence came when I had a nice chunk of free time to game this morning. Once I saw it was happening again, I decided to play Puzzles & Dragons / Super Mario Edition instead.

I'm now playing the game scared. Kill a monster. SAVE! Talk to a villager. SAVE! Pick berries off of a bush. SAVE! Losing progress in a game like The Witcher 3, which heavily favors choice and emergent storytelling, can be crushing. Getting a second chance to correct a wrong or see a story play out in a different way is something no player should experience unless they are playing the game for a second time. I now feel like I'm Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, sick of hearing the same conversations, bored of the same events, and praying that my game saves and I can see new content again.

So what is the problem I'm having? It's hard to nail down exactly, as it's reared its ugly head in two different ways. The first came after a death. I chose to restore my most recent save, and the game crashed on the load. I let it sit for a good 20 minutes before turning off the Xbox One. Upon restarting, I couldn't get past the "Click any button to continue" screen. The game locked up again on the "please wait..." screen. I was forced to clear my console's cache to reach the loading menu, which no longer contained my most recent save. That's where I lost a couple of hours.

The save bug can also be sneaky, and you won't know your game is broken until you try to manually save. These attempts are met with a "You Cannot save right now" message. At first I thought it wouldn't let me manually save because I was on a mission, or a monster may be nearby. That sadly isn't the case at all. Instead, it's a sign that you won't be able to save again during this playthough.

I ranted about my problems on Twitter, which caught the attention of CD Projekt Red staffers. They sent me an email with the following instructions to temporaily remedy the save bug:

Please try clearing the cache as instructed below:

- Power down your console

- Unplug the power cable from the back of the Xbox One.

- Wait for two minutes

- Plug the power cable back into the back of the Xbox One

- Monitor the power brick, waiting for it to cycle from a white light to an orange light

- Turn the power on.

This will perform a hard reset of the system.

WARNING! There is another possible solution, however, this may result in losing progress if cloud saving s not on (for more information on cloud saving please consult http://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-360/games/game-saves-in-the-cloud-faq )

The solution:

- Go to the console's settings / system / clear local saved games.

Upon re-starting the game should re-sync, become functional, and progress should be retained as long as the cloud is on.

While it's great that they are looking for solutions, and are going out of their way to help people, this is a Band-Aid over a gaping wound. Continuing my adventure knowing that it could run into the save bug again is the equivalent of playing Russian roulette.

I don't want to play The Witcher 3 this way, and I shouldn't have to. Diving into a save menu every few minutes out of paranoia isn't the experience CD Projekt RED intended. I am sadly shelving the game until a permanent fix is in place. I'm not the only one running into it, either. For more user experiences and fixes on different systems, check out CD Projekt RED's official forum.