It’s been a few years since we knew that CD Projekt hadn’t finished the Witcher saga yet. Aside from Gwent quietly continuing on its merry way, it’s hard to imagine a Polish studio letting the franchise that made it a key player in the industry die. That is why CD Projekt has rather cautiously and without much detail formalized the existence of the new The Witcher game. Thus, it is possible to return to what we know after this announcement, what we assume and what it implies.
Brand new saga
Let’s start with the less obvious, given the information that has been shared so far: what will this new Witcher opus be about? CD Projekt, like at the end of the last DLC The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Winestrongly hinted: Geralt of Rivia should peacefully continue to enjoy his pension. It’s safe to say that the Witcher will not take center stage in this new game from the Andrzej Sapkowski saga and will give way to a new figure from the Witcher universe. The only, and rather meager, clue that could set the tone for the next AAA CD Projekt lies in the snow-covered medallion featured on the poster that accompanies the ad.
If Geralt de Reeve belonged to the school of the Wolf, and therefore wore a medallion depicting his education, now it seems that it is the new school that is being honored. If we turn to the mythology of the books and video games, the school of cats could be the one depicted on the medallion, even if speculation about the Lynx’s school is currently widespread on social media. The medallion is indeed much closer to this feline than to its distant relative, and even if the Lynx school has no canonical mythology at the moment, fan writings on this topic already exist. Whatever the school is, whether newly created or already in existence, this in any case means that The Witcher will start again on new bases, with new protagonists, and why not in a new era, far from the era of Geralt. We do remember, however, that the developers of the game did not rule out the possibility of hinting at the charismatic witcher in the future or making him appear in future games.
Finally, note that despite a small dispute between the author of The Witcher saga and CD Projekt, the two parties now seem to have reconciled, and the agreement signed 3 years ago aims to strengthen their cooperation. Therefore, it is not forbidden to think that Sapkowski could be involved in the development of a completely new story that would be embodied in a video game, and not in a book.
A little more patience
Needless to say, there won’t be a new Witcher yet. First, CD Projekt is still hard at work on Cyberpunk 2077 and trying to catch up after the RPG’s chaotic launch. If the game is in much better shape today than it was just over a year ago, DLC and multiplayer are still to be expected. Given CD Projekt’s relative discretion over the progress of Cyberpunk DLC, and if we refer to the studio’s willingness to offer generous DLC content, it’s safe to bet that these releases are a priority today and that they rank well. part of the company’s workforce. Regardless, the game’s sustainability remains rather uncertain, and the specter of an ambitious multiplayer mode like GTA Online, an ambition that CD Projekt seemed to have in its original plans, is fading as the game dies out. For now, the latest multiplayer news is from mid-2021, when the studio’s co-founder said the idea had been “revisited.”
So as far as The Witcher is concerned, if the game hasn’t been in development for some time, then it will undoubtedly have to wait a few years before hoping to dive into the world of the Witchers again. One thing is for sure: CD Projekt will at all costs avoid reproducing the serious communication errors that accompanied the development of Cyberpunk 2077, which ultimately tarnished the studio’s aura. Recall that the futuristic RPG was announced 7 years before its release, and the first gameplay snippet was made public two years before it hit the market. From now on, there is no doubt that the Polish studio will master its communication and will not rush to reveal gameplay elements too soon. The Witcher may still be in its early stages of development, and this announcement will no doubt serve as a waste leader in recruiting new talent for the Warsaw-based team. Whatever the case, game director Jason Slama replied that crunch would never be on the agenda. I hope this stays true over time.
As a reminder, CD Projekt has run most of its products on the RED Engine, a proprietary engine that has evolved naturally over time and the technological demands of video games. It was a solid engine that could offer some pretty impressive visuals, as Cyberpunk 2077 made clear when you maxed out the graphics settings. However, it will be erased in favor of Unreal Engine 5, the true engine leader in the industry, an engine owned by Epic Games.
This declaration is not as trivial as that. If the very act of developing and refining the engine allows for greater control over the technology in relation to the games being developed, the introduction of Unreal Engine 5 is a sign of a certain commitment to openness. This should reduce internal technology costs as well as make it easier for CD Projekt to hire employees. Unreal Engine is indeed a lot more versatile than RED Engine, and choosing a much more mainstream engine also means providing a much broader recruiting base for talent. In terms of economics, CD Projekt confirmed the benefits that Epic could bring to the development process, stating that it is vital for CD Projekt RED to set the technical direction for our next game as soon as possible, and that in the past they have spent a lot of resources and energy on development and adaptation of Redengine for each new release.
The studio added – and I quote – that:
This collaboration is interesting as it will increase the predictability and efficiency of development while guaranteeing them access to the most up-to-date development tools.
This alliance with Epic could allow CD Projekt to recruit more people, as well as save time and resources to perhaps better dedicate them to developing the game itself. But this new partnership naturally begs the question for players who are often very attached to their favorite platforms: Will the next Witcher be exclusive to the Epic Game Store?
Not just for one platform?
When Epic broke into the world of download platforms, offering free games and aggressive exclusives, it caused quite a stir. While the Epic launcher seems better integrated into the landscape today, players are still reluctant to watch when a game comes out in his library and no other. Fear of seeing a new Witcher saga exclusive to the Epic launch program quickly grew so much that CD Projekt’s communications director Radek Grabowski cleared up a few points in a tweet. He elaborates that the studio hasn’t announced a game called The Witcher 4 or said the game will be exclusive to the platform. For clarification, he adds that this announcement had the value of confirming the existence of a new game in the Witcher franchise and that he is not yet ready to go into details regarding mechanics or characters.
If we pay close attention to the employees, CD Projekt confirms that no, the next Witcher is not meant to be an exclusive platform, and also implies that it will be released on consoles. So it makes sense that we can hope to see the game on the Epic Games Store as well as CD Projekt’s GOG platform. However, this does not mean that the game will hit Steam. The partnership with Epic is not complete without information sharing, and despite the loss of respect brought about by Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt remains a major studio and The Witcher saga a showcase of choice to advance the platform. This is probably why CD Projekt was evasive and assumed that the title would only be available in one store. This does not mean that it will be distributed to all launchers, including Steam. It is possible that this is not so, but the future will show us.
What is the future of the Witcher
As we know, the development of events from one episode of The Witcher to another was very clear. The Witcher 3, a true culmination of the CD Projekt formula, taught a great open world lesson during its 2015 release. But time flew by and games like Breath of the Wild or Elden Ring were there. , while Cyberpunk was able to disappoint with poor reward research he offered. It goes without saying that CD Projekt, which certainly knows how to create open worlds, has been keeping a keen eye on what competitors have been cheering for, and it’s safe to say that it’s rethinking its open world approach. The Witcher universe is rich, and given the liberties CD Projekt has taken in the past with literary works, there’s no doubt the teams will know what to say. But that will require integrating the stories well into the open world, because we can’t imagine the series going back to a more corridor epic or a world map filled with obvious landmarks. On the other hand, the question of the integration of the multi-user component arises. CD Projekt has really made no secret of its desire to integrate multiplayer into its products since the development of Cyberpunk 2077. If the new franchise could be a good fit for this exercise, if the plans went off without a hitch, whether the future of The Witcher would also be online or not.
In any case, it’s too early to talk about the plot or mechanics of The Witcher, whose name is still unknown. Be that as it may, the announcement of a new game in this universe seems to have even swept aside the loss of trust of the players in the studio, who seem to be counting on it to regain the place of choice that it created for itself. , in industry. Count on us to provide you with new information about The Witcher or Cyberpunk.