It’s been a few years now since we knew that CD Projekt wasn’t quite done with The Witcher saga. Outside of Gwent quietly continuing on its merry way, it’s hard to imagine the Polish studio letting a franchise die that made it a major player in the industry. Therefore, CD Projekt, very discreetly and without much detail, has formalized the existence of a new game The Witcher. The opportunity is therefore found to come back to what we know after this announcement, what we assume and what this means.
A whole new saga
To start with the less obvious, given the information communicated so far: what is this new opus from The Witcher all about? CD Projekt, just like the end of the last DLC of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Winehad heavily hinted: Geralt de Riv must continue to enjoy his retirement peacefully. It is indeed a safe bet that the Witcher will not take center stage in this new game from the Andrzej Sapkowski saga and that he will give way to a new figure from the universe of The Witcher. The only and rather meager clue that could set the tone for CD Projekt’s next AAA is the snow-covered medallion on the poster accompanying the ad.
If Geralt de Riv belonged to the school of the Wolf, and therefore wore a medallion with the image of his formation, it now seems that it is a new school that is being honoured. Thus, if we refer to the mythology of books and video games, the school of the cat could be the one featured on the medallion, even though there is currently speculation about a school of the Lynx on social networks. Indeed, the medallion is much closer to this cat than its distant cousin and even if the school of the Lynx has no canonical mythology for the time being, fan writings already exist on the subject. Whatever the school represents, whether new or existing, this at least means that The Witcher will start over on new bases, with new protagonists, and why not a new era far removed from Geralt’s. We still remember that the developers of the game did not exclude the possibility of alluding to the charismatic witch in the future or having him appear in future games.
Finally, note that despite a minor dispute between the author of The Witcher saga and CD Projekt, the two sides now seem to have reconciled and an agreement signed 3 years ago was intended to strengthen their collaboration. It is therefore not forbidden to think that Sapkowski could participate in the development of an entirely new plot, which would come to life in a video game rather than in a book.
Just a little patience
Needless to say, the new The Witcher probably won’t be for a while. First off, CD Projekt is still hard at work on Cyberpunk 2077, trying to catch up after the RPG’s chaotic launch. If the game is in much better shape today than it was a little over a year ago, DLC and a multiplayer mode are still expected. Given CD Projekt’s relative discretion regarding the progress of its work on additional Cyberpunk content, and if we refer to the studio’s desire to offer generous DLC content, we can rest assured that these forays today. have the priority and that they are a good part of the company’s workforce. Despite everything, the game’s durability remains quite uncertain, and the specter of ambitious multiplayer like GTA Online, ambitions that CD Projekt seemed to maintain in its original plans, are fading as the game nears the end of its life. For now, the latest multiplayer news dates back to mid-2021, where the studio co-founder claimed the idea had been “reconsidered.”
Therefore, as for The Witcher, unless the game has been in production for a while, it will therefore undoubtedly have to wait a few years before we hope to dive back into the world of Witchers. There is one certainty: CD Projekt will at all costs reproduce the severe communication errors that came with the development of Cyberpunk 2077, which ultimately tarnished the look of the studio. Recall that the futuristic RPG was announced 7 years before its release and the first snippet of the game’s gameplay was revealed two years before its marketing. As of now, there is little doubt that the Polish studio will master its communication and will not rush to reveal gameplay elements too early. The Witcher may still be in its early stages of development and this announcement will no doubt serve as a loss leader in recruiting new talent for the Warsaw-based team. Anyway, the game’s director Jason Slama replied that crunch will never be the order of the day. Hopefully this will apply over time.
As a reminder, for most of its productions, CD Projekt had worked on the RED Engine, an internal engine that evolved naturally over time and the technological demands of video games. It was a solid engine that could deliver some pretty spectacular renderings, as Cyberpunk 2077 clearly showed when you pushed the graphics options to the max. However, it will fade in favor of the Unreal Engine 5, the industry’s real engine spearhead, an engine owned by Epic Games.
This announcement is not as trivial as that. If the fact that an engine developed and perfected in-house makes it possible to better master the technology according to the games being developed, the adoption of the Unreal Engine 5 is a sign of a certain desire for openness. This should reduce technology costs internally and also facilitate CD Projekt’s recruitment process. Indeed, the Unreal Engine is much more universal than the RED Engine, and opting for a much broader engine also means ensuring a much broader talent recruitment base. On the economic side, CD Projekt confirmed the benefits the arrival of Epic could bring to the development process by stating that it is vital for CD Projekt RED to have technical direction as soon as possible for our next game to be decided. . in the past they had put a lot of resources and energy into developing and tweaking the Redengine with each new release.
The studio added – and I quote – that:
This partnership is exciting, as it will increase the predictability and efficiency of development, while at the same time giving them access to a state-of-the-art development tool.
This union with Epic could allow CD Projekt to recruit on a larger scale, but also save time and resources to perhaps better spend on developing the game itself. But this new partnership naturally raises a question for players, who are often very attached to their favorite platforms: will the next The Witcher be an Epic Game Store exclusive?
Not exclusive to one platform?
When Epic crashed into the download platform world, with free games and aggressive exclusives, it caused quite a stir. If the Epic launcher seems to be more integrated into the landscape today, players are still hesitant when one game comes out in its library and not another. The fear of seeing the new The Witcher saga exclusive to Epic’s launcher quickly grew, so much so that CD Projekt’s communications director Radek Grabowski clarified a few points in a tweet. He clarifies that the studio has not announced a game called The Witcher 4, nor that the game will be platform-exclusive. To clarify, he adds that this announcement was confirmation of the existence of a new game in the The Witcher franchise and that he wasn’t ready to go into details about the mechanics or the characters yet.
Therefore, if we pay close attention to the contributors, CD Projekt confirms that no, the next The Witcher is not intended to be a platform exclusive 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, but also on the GOG platform, which belongs to CD Projekt. That doesn’t mean the game will make its way to Steam, though. The collaboration with Epic is not without an exchange of visibility and despite the loss of prestige generated by Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt remains a major studio and the saga The Witcher remains a favorite showcase to promote a platform. This is probably why CD Projekt remained evasive, suggesting that the title would only be available in one store. This does not mean that it will be distributed on all launchers, including Steam. This may not be the case, but the future will tell.
What future for The Witcher?
As we know, the evolutions from one episode of The Witcher to the next have been very clear. A true pinnacle of CD Projekt’s formula, The Witcher 3 had delivered a great lesson in the open world at the time of its release dating back to 2015. But time has flown and games like Breath of the Wild or Elden Ring are here. been, while Cyberpunk could disappoint with the poorly rewarded exploration it offered. It goes without saying that CD Projekt, who certainly know how to build open worlds, has taken a keen eye on what the competition has been praised for, and it’s a safe bet that it’s rethinking its approach to the open world. † The Witcher universe is rich and given the liberties CD Projekt has taken with literary works in the past, there is no doubt that the teams will know what to say. But this requires the stories to be well integrated into the open world, as we can’t really imagine the series returning to a more corridor epic or a world map full of explicit points of interest. On the other hand, the question of integrating a multiplayer component arises. Indeed, CD Projekt has made no secret of its desire to integrate multiplayer into its productions since the development of Cyberpunk 2077. If a new franchise could have lent itself well to the exercise if the plans had gone smoothly, it’s hard to tell if the future whether The Witcher will also be online or not.
Anyway, it’s way too early to over-speculate about the story or mechanics of The Witcher, whose name remains unknown to this day. Be that as it may, the announcement of a new game in this universe seems to have wiped out even the loss of confidence of players in the studio, who seem to be counting on getting back the place of choice it had created for itself in the industry. Count on us to bring you new information about The Witcher of Cyberpunk.