How to install and play Witcher 3 on macOS! (2021)
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. And if you have a Mac with relatively powerful GPU or external GPU attached to your Mac, it is quite playable.
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.
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. See the end of the article for a 15% off promo code for CrossOver!
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 GOG.com 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!
Once you have all the installer files downloaded, its time to start up CrossOver and install Witcher 3 on your Mac. The easiest way to do this is to click on the “Install a Windows Application” button on CrossOver’s interface.
This would bring up a new dialog box that would guide you through the whole process. Start by searching for the Witcher 3 in the Select Application step. This is important as it would help install all the dependancies and configure the underlying Wine emulator bottle to make it run well. Don’t worry if you’re don’t understand what Wine is and why there’s a bottle involved here. 😄 You don’t really need to know to get Witcher 3 running on your Mac.
Next, it’s time to select how you would install the game. Select “Choose Installer File…” and 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_goty_1.31_(a)_(9709).exe“.
Next up, CrossOver will always default to installing the Windows application in a new Bottle. For Witcher 3, it would use a Windows 7 64-bit bottle. Leave the default selection and click “Continue” to… continue.
Click “Install” and CrossOver would start installing Witcher 3 on your Mac. You would notice that it will look and feel exactly like how it installs on a Windows machine. BTW, if you are curious, you can click on the “Edit Install Option…” button and there you can see the DXVK driver will be installed to get it working on CrossOver.
When you click install, go through the installations steps as usual. There’s actually not much to do except just waiting.
That’s it. Once the game installer is done, don’t launch the game yet. Just exit the installer first. You would also want to install the latest 1.32 patch which you can also download from GOG. To do so, double click on “Run Command…” and browse and select the patch installer file. Then click Run to install the patch.
Once done, you should see The Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt icon on CrossOver. But if you don’t see the shortcut appearing, don’t worry. You can create it yourself. For some reason, the installer didn’t create the shortcut when I installed it, as you can see from the screenshot above. To create a shortcut, open up Run Command… again. Then browse to where the witcher3.exe executable is. You can find it at drive_c -> GOG Games -> The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt GOTY -> bin -> x64 -> witcher3.exe
But instead of clicking on Run, click on Save Command as a Launcher. This will create a new shortcut launcher to the executable on CrossOver.
Now, you would find the witcher3 shortcut on CrossOver. You can also right-click on the witcher3 shortcut, find it on Finder and rename it to something nicer like “The Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt” if you want. When you restart CrossOver, the new name for the shortcut will apply.
[Optional] 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.
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.
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 😄
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.
The required graphics settings on Witcher 3
You will need to make sure that the Nvidia HairWorks settings are disabled in the Video – Graphics settings. Otherwise, the game will crash.
Another thing to note is that depending on your Mac’s display resolution, the game may not load in fullscreen despite setting the Display mode as Full Screen. My display is set to 1440p scaled resolution and with the game set at 1080p resolution, it loads up as you see in the screenshot below. So, I would set my display temporarily to 1080p so that I get the game loaded in fullscreen.
Is Witcher 3 playable on macOS?!
The short answer is that it really depends on your Mac’s GPU. If your Mac does not have a discrete GPU, then unfortunately. you’re out of luck. The game does required a decent GPU, even on a Windows machine.
I have an AMD RX 580 GPU attached to my 2017 MacBook Pro via an external GPU enclosure. With this, I can run the game relatively well with Medium settings at 1920×1080 resolution.
There were some moments of stuttering, but it seemed playable to me. However, at Low settings, it ran a lot better. Update: After upgrading the DVXK drivers with the 1.9.3 async version as well as updating the MoltenVK library, it runs really well now. I hardly notice any stuttering in the game!
If you have the new M1 Max or M1 Pro MacBook, it should run really well too, some claiming that you do get 60fps most of the time. I’m personally waiting to see what Apple would release as the updated and more powerful M1x/2 based Mac Mini. When they do and if I find myself getting one, I will be revisiting this post and updating the performance again. But for now, I would be playing Witcher 3 on my Mac with the AMD RX 580 eGPU at medium settings.
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