How to install and play Witcher 3 on macOS! (2023)

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Perhaps you might have heard somewhere that it is possible to install and play Witcher 3 on macOS. If not, well, I can tell you that it is indeed possible. The latest M1/M2 based Mac have a relatively powerful GPU, making Witcher 3 very playable on your Mac.

I have updated this article to be based on the latest Apple Silicon-based Macs, macOS Sonoma, Next Gen v4.04 of Witcher 3 and using CrossOver 23.5 with D3DMetal instead of DXVK.

Here’s a teaser of the results πŸ™‚

What’s the trick?!

I’ve written here how I’ve tried to use Parallels to play Windows games on the Mac. However for Witcher 3, the trick is to use CodeWeaver’s Crossover to translate Windows applications to run on your Mac. This usually means it runs faster when compared to Windows emulation on platforms like Parallels.

CodeWeavers CrossOver for Mac

This will cost you about $59.95 usually. Sometimes there are promos like Black Friday, etc so you might be able to snag it cheaper. Once you purchased and installed CrossOver, the fun begins.

How to install Witcher 3 on macOS using CrossOver

I personally prefer to get my games from GOG‘s platform as I’m able to play it offline. This is especially helpful to get games working on emulators like CrossOver! But this will also work if you purchase your games from Steam as you would simply install the game via Steam in CrossOver.

Anyways. If you have not bought Witcher 3 yet, I would recommend getting it from here. GOG allows you to download the offline installer and thus removing the dependancy on Steam to get it working. One less problem to worry about! Do note that this would take a while. It is an 85.3GB download in total over 21 files.

Downloading Windows offline installer for Witcher 3 4.04 from GOG

Once you have all the installer files downloaded, it’s time to start up CrossOver and install Witcher 3 on your Mac. The easiest way to do this is to click on the “Install” button on CrossOver’s interface, and then search for “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”. By default it would install it via Steam. Edit that and select an installer instead.

Setting up Witcher 3 bottle on Crossover 23.5

Select the Witcher 3’s offline installer you’ve downloaded from GOG. The latest version as of this post is “setup_the_witcher_3_wild_hunt_-game_of_the_year_edition_4.04a(65527).exe“.

Setting up Witcher 3 bottle on Crossover 23.5

Next up, CrossOver will always default to installing the Windows application in a new Bottle. For Witcher 3, it would use a Windows 10 64-bit bottle. Leave the default selection and click “Install” to start the installation process.

Witcher 3 installing on macOS using Crossover 23.5

You would notice that it will look and feel exactly like how it installs on a Windows machine. Now, it is just waiting until the installation is complete.

Once done, you should see The Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt icon on CrossOver.

Witcher 3 bottle on Crossover 23.5

Note: in the screenshot below, it shows Windows 7 64-bit bottle because I installed over the 4.04a version only my existing Witcher 3 bottle. So if you are wondering, that works well too!

The required graphics settings on Witcher 3

First up, the CrossOver installation defaults to using DXVK for Witcher 3. I recommend switching it to D3DMetal if you run macOS Sonoma on a Apple Silicon Mac.

On Witcher 3’s Graphics settings, it now knows to not enable NVIDIA HairWorks if it does not detect an NVIDIA-based GPU. No more accidental crashes if that’s enabled πŸ˜€

For my M2 Max, 32-cores GPU, I can get an average of 60 FPS when using 1080p fullscreen, Ultra settings with Screen Space Reflections set to low. I would recommend you

Setting up Witcher 3 SSR to low
Witcher 3 settings on Ultra on Crossover 23.5
Witcher 3 settings on Ultra on Crossover 23.5

If any of you have read the previous version of my post, notice how much simpler it is now to install Witcher 3 on the latest version of CrossOver 23.5!

Is Witcher 3 playable on macOS?!

The short answer is that it really depends on your Mac’s GPU. Thankfully, the M1 and M2 Macs have relatively powerful GPUs. Check out the video below and see how I was able to get 60 FPS @ 1080p using Ultra settings.

I would encourage you to try tweaking around with Medium settings if you don’t have a GPU as powerful as the M2 Max. But even at medium, Witcher 3 still looks very pretty. I finished the whole game at low-medium settings when I ran it on an RX 580 eGPU on my old MacBook.

Witcher 3 Next Gen on Mac + Crossover revisited. ~60 FPS - Ultra settings @ 1080p

If you’re wondering how it runs at 1440p resolution, you can see if in the video below.

Witcher 3 Next Gen (4.04) running perfectly on M2 Max using CrossOver 23.5 + D3DMetal

Some graphical issues

While it’s 99% playable, there are some graphical issues that would appear. For example, when I was checking how well Witcher 3 runs on D3DMetal on my new Mac, some monsters would seem to be wrongly rendered.

The ekhidna monster for example used to be invisible when running on DXVK. Now with D3DMetal, you can see it but it’s incorrectly rendered. I suspect the issue would be the same with the other invisible monsters like the sirens as well.

Otherwise, the game runs superbly well!

If this post has been useful, support me by buying me a latte or two πŸ™‚
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[LEGACY and Outdated: Leaving here due to references from other articles.]
Update DXVK and DXVK-patched MoltenVK libraries

A bit of a warning and disclaimer. This is an unsupported setup by CrossOver team and if you want to get support help, you will need to revert the setup back to its original drivers and libraries.

Updated 8 Apr 2022: This seems to be a hit and miss, so I’m now no longer recommending this step. I initially had no issues from the time I wrote this until today when the game suddenly crashed and upon reloading, the game loaded with the ground’s texture not loading. See an example of the issue in the screenshot I found below. I forgot to take my own screenshot. To fix it, simple re-enable DXVK using Crossover to overwrite the 1.9.3-mac-async version below.


But if you still want to try to improve the performance using newer versions of the DXVK drivers, you may try the steps below. Again, I should warn you that this is an unsupported by CrossOver. Also, newer versions of CrossOver, as they are released, may include more stable and newer versions of the drivers anyway, so update it at your own risk.

To further improve the performance of Witcher 3 on CrossOver, you can update the CrossOver bottle the asynced version of the DXVK drivers as well as updating Crossover’s MoltenVK library.

You can find the latest macOS-compatible DXVK drivers here and the DXVK-patched MoltenVK library here. As of this update, I’m using the dxvk-1.9.3-mac-async.tar.xz and macos_dxvk_patched-1.1.6.tar.xz. Do note that for the MoltenVK library, depending on your GPU, you may need to get the one that is patched for M1 GPUs.

macOS compatible dxvl-async drivers download
macOS dxvk-patched MoltenVK library download

Updating the DXVK drivers

You will need to go to the Witcher’s bottle’s C: drive and get to the Windows’ system32 folder and replace the latest version of the DXVK-async drivers.

macOS compatible dxvk-async driver 1.9.3
Open C Drive of Crossover bottle
Crossover system32 location

Updating the dxvk-patched MoltenVK library

To update the MoltenVK library, you will need to open up the package of the CrossOver app and replace it there. And remember to make a copy of the original file just in case πŸ˜„

The libMoltenVK.dylib file to use
CrossOver - Show package
Where to replace the MoltenVK library in CrossOver app package

Once done, you will notice that CrossOver will no longer think that DXVK is enabled for the bottle. This is because it doesn’t recognise the version of DXVK drivers that’s in the system32 folder in the bottle. Just a point to note and nothing to be worried about since this is expected.

CrossOver's not sure if DXVK is enable anymore πŸ˜„
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