The Witcher is coming back. No, there won’t be a new TV series, novel, virtual card game, or other project affiliated with the popular Polish fantasy series. Today, CD Projekt Red confirmed that its tentpole video game series will continue with an entirely new adventure game.
The news arrived on Monday via an image of the game series’ trademark wolf medallion covered in snow, with glowing eyes peeking through the frost. The announcement included a four-word tagline: “A new saga begins.”
“Decided from the earliest possible phase”
The teaser image was quickly followed by an official CDPR press release, which confirms that the game studio will be using Unreal Engine 5 to develop the new game, as opposed to the internally developed REDengine used in prior Witcher games and 2020’s Cyberpunk 2077. The press release says that the company will continue REDengine development to support ongoing CP77 expansion content, patches, and other updates.
CDPR seems eager to communicate to fans what UE5 adoption will bring to its next project:
It is vital for CDPR to have the technical direction of our next game decided from the earliest possible phase, as in the past, we spent a lot of resources and energy to evolve and adapt REDengine with every subsequent game release.
Post-mortem comments from CP77 developers alleged that frustration and technical issues with REDengine caused the studio to struggle to execute its original “bullshot” pitch for how the first-person, open-world gameplay would become a final retail product. (Crunch, apparently, didn’t help.) Bugs, feature delays, and a one-of-its-kind PSN delisting made matters worse.
Unsurprisingly, CDPR did not give any time estimate or target platforms for its next Witcher game on Monday, let alone a name for the title. (And we have to wonder whether “new saga” suggests multiple upcoming games or some kind of games-as-a-service product.) For context, CP77 was first announced in May 2012 before launching in an arguably incomplete state in December 2020.
CDPR’s Monday announcement points to the Polish developer entering an unusual relationship with Epic Games, as it claims the deal will see CDPR devs helping Epic “tailor [UE5] for open-world experiences.” That kind of unusual partnership could carry with it financial incentives for both companies, but neither Epic nor CDPR explained how this portion of the announcement will play out. UE5 is already off to a promising start as a bona fide video game engine, proven in part by an incredible real-time open-world Matrix experience that is playable on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.