The Witcher: 5 things you need to know about the future of the license

It’s been a few years since we learned that CD Projekt wasn’t done with The Witcher saga. Beyond Gwent, which quietly continues its happy path, it is hard to imagine the Polish studio letting a franchise die thanks to which it has become a key player in the industry. This is why, quite discreetly and without many details, CD Projekt has formalized the existence of a new The Witcher game. There is then the opportunity to return to what we know after this announcement, what we assume and what this implies.

A whole new series

To start with the less obvious, given the information that has been communicated so far: what will this new work of The Witcher be about? CD Projekt, as the end of the last DLC of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Winehe had strongly hinted: Geralt de Riv should continue to enjoy his retirement in peace. In fact, it is a safe bet that the witcher will not take center stage in this new game in the Andrzej Sapkowski saga and that it will give way to a new figure from The Witcher universe. The only and rather scarce clue, which could set the tone for CD Projekt’s next AAA, is in the snow-covered medallion that appears on the poster that accompanies the announcement.

If Geralt de Riv belonged to the Wolf school, and therefore wore a medallion with the image of his training, now it seems that it is a new school that is being honored. If we refer to the mythology of books and video games, the school of the cat could be, therefore, the one represented in the medallion, although currently speculations abound on social networks about a school of the lynx. In fact, the medallion is much closer to this feline than its distant cousin, and while the lynx school doesn’t have a canonical mythology at the moment, there’s already fan writing on the subject. Whichever school he represented, be it newly created or existing, this means in any case that The Witcher will start again on new foundations, with new protagonists and, why not, a new era far removed from Geralt’s. We remember however that the developers of the game had not ruled out the possibility of alluding to the charismatic warlock in the future or making him appear in future games.

The Witcher: 5 things you need to know about the future of the license

Finally, note that despite a minor dispute between the author of The Witcher saga and CD Projekt, the two parties now seem reconciled and an agreement signed 3 years ago was intended to strengthen their collaboration. Therefore, it is not forbidden to think that Sapkowski could participate in the development of a completely new plot, which would come to life in a video game instead of a book.

still a little patience

Needless to say, the new Witcher probably isn’t for now. First, CD Projekt is still hard at work on Cyberpunk 2077 and trying to catch up with the backlog that followed the RPG’s chaotic release. If the game is in much better shape today than it was just over a year ago, DLC and a multiplayer mode are still to be expected. Given CD Projekt’s relative discretion regarding the advancement of its work on additional Cyberpunk content, and if we are referring to the studio’s desire to offer generous DLC content, it is a strong bet that these outputs are the priority today and that they occupy a large part of the company’s workforce. Regardless, the durability of the game remains quite uncertain, and the specter of an ambitious multiplayer like GTA Online, ambitions that CD Projekt seemed to keep in its initial plans, fades as the game reaches the end of its life. For now, the latest multiplayer news dates back to mid-2021, where the studio’s co-founder claimed the idea had been “reconsidered.”

So, regarding The Witcher, unless the game has been in the production phase for some time, it will certainly take a few years before you can dive back into the world of witchers. There is one certainty: CD Projekt will avoid at all costs reproducing the serious communication errors that accompanied the development of Cyberpunk 2077, which ended up tarnishing the aura of the studio. Let’s remember that the futuristic RPG had been announced 7 years before its release, and that the first excerpt of the game’s gameplay had been revealed two years before its release. From now on, there is no doubt that the Polish studio will dominate its communication and that it will not rush to reveal elements of the game too soon. The Witcher may still be in an early stage of development, and this announcement will no doubt serve as a loss leader in recruiting new talent for the Warsaw-based team. However, game director Jason Slama responded that crunch will never be the order of the day. Hopefully this will hold up over time.

The Witcher: 5 things you need to know about the future of the license

engine change

As a reminder, CD Projekt, for most of its productions, worked on the RED Engine, an internal engine that has developed naturally over time and the technological requirements of video games. It was a solid engine, capable of delivering some pretty spectacular renderings, as Cyberpunk 2077 clearly demonstrated when the graphics options were maxed out. However, it will fade away in favor of Unreal Engine 5, the true spearhead of engines in the industry, an engine owned by Epic Games.

This announcement is not as trivial as that. If the fact of having an engine developed and perfected internally allows better control of the technology according to the games that are developed, adopting Unreal Engine 5 is a sign of a certain willingness to open up. This should reduce technology costs internally and also make CD Projekt’s hiring process easier. The Unreal Engine is, in fact, much more universal than the RED Engine, and going for a much more generalized engine also means ensuring a much broader talent pool. Regarding the economy, CD Projekt confirmed the benefits that the arrival of Epic could bring to the development process by stating that it is vital that CD Projekt RED has a technical direction for our next game that is decided as soon as possible, and that in the In the past they had spent a lot of resources and energy to evolve and adapt Redengine with each new release.

The study added, and I quote, that:

This cooperation is exciting as it will improve the predictability and efficiency of development while at the same time guaranteeing them access to a state-of-the-art development tool.

The Witcher: 5 things you need to know about the future of the license

This union with Epic could allow CD Projekt to recruit more, but also save time and resources to perhaps be better dedicated to the development of the game itself. But this new association naturally raises a question for gamers, who are often very attached to their favorite platforms: Will the next The Witcher be exclusive to the Epic Game Store?

Isn’t it exclusive to one platform?

When Epic burst onto the world of download platforms, offering free games and aggressive exclusives, it caused quite a stir. If today the Epic launcher seems better integrated into the landscape, players are still reluctant when a game appears in their library and not in another. Fears of seeing the new Witcher saga exclusively for Epic’s launcher grew rapidly, so much so that CD Projekt 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 has it said that the game will be exclusive to the platform. By way of clarification, he adds that this announcement had confirmation value of the existence of a new game in The Witcher franchise and that he was not yet ready to go into details about the mechanics or the characters.

If we pay close attention to the employees, CD Projekt confirms that no, the next The Witcher is not intended to be exclusive to one platform and also hints that it will be released on consoles. So it stands to reason that we can expect to see the game on the Epic Games Store, but also on the GOG platform, which belongs to CD Projekt. However, that doesn’t mean the game will be coming to Steam. The association with Epic is not without an exchange of visibility and, despite the loss of esteem generated by Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt remains a major studio and The Witcher saga a chosen showcase to promote a platform. This is probably why CD Projekt remained noncommittal and suggested that the title would only be available from a single store. This does not mean that it will be distributed on all launchers, including Steam. It may not be so, but that, the future will tell us.

What future for The Witcher?

As we know, the evolutions of one episode of The Witcher over the other have been very clear. The Witcher 3, the true culmination of the CD Projekt formula, had given a great open world lesson at the time of its launch, which dates back to 2015. But time has flown and games like Breath of the Wild or Elden Ring have been there . , while Cyberpunk may have disappointed with the poorly rewarded exploration it offered. Needless to say, CD Projekt, which certainly knows how to build open worlds, has taken a hard look at why the competition was being acclaimed, and it’s a safe bet that it’s reviewing its approach to open world. The Witcher universe is rich and given the liberties CD Projekt has taken in the past with literary works, there’s no doubt that the teams will know what to say. But for that, it will be necessary to integrate the stories well in the open world, because we really can’t imagine the series returning to more of a runner 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. Whether a new franchise might have lent itself well to the exercise had the plans gone perfectly, it’s hard to tell if the future of The Witcher will also be online or not.

The Witcher: 5 things you need to know about the future of the license

Regardless, it’s too early to speculate too much on the story or mechanics of The Witcher, whose name is still unknown to this day. Be that as it may, the announcement of a new game in this universe even seems to have swept away the loss of confidence of the studio’s players, who seem to be counting on him to regain the place of choice that had been created. in the industry. Count on us to give you new information about The Witcher or Cyberpunk.

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