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CD Projekt Red announces a new Witcher game in development

Fans of the Witcher universe, rejoice! CD Projekt Red has just announced that a new Witcher saga is currently under development, and unlike the previous games in the franchise, it will be developed on the Unreal Engine 5, and in partnership with Epic Games.

Witcher's snow covered wolf medalion
 

It wasn’t that long ago that CDPR dashed our hopes of ever returning to the Witcher universe when they announced that no more games are planned nor will be in development. The team at CD Projekt Red at the time was busy with their new IP, Cyberpunk 2077. The game was expected to be even bigger than Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt – an ambitious undertaking, which the studio ultimately failed to deliver on.

If you look hard enough, a pattern appears to be emerging with gaming studios who have produced iconic games in the past, then got overly ambitions (or greedy, or both) and caused their pet projects to implode – either via poor development cycle and direction decisions, releasing an unfinished game that’s riddled with progression bugs, or simply not understanding the audience of the original franchise, among others.
Perhaps Cyberpunk 2077 wasn’t as much of a disaster for CDPR as Mass Effect: Andromeda was for Bioware, but it is hard not to notice that both studios had made some of the best and most iconic franchises in gaming, then after putting out a sub-par product and bringing down the wrath of the gamers, press and investors upon themselves, decided to revive the games that made them great.

Just as Bioware announced last November that they’re working on another Mass Effect (even teasing with a glimpse of what looked like Matriarch Liara), CDPR has also gone back to the franchise that made them great. And they’re hoping to make it even greater. 

The announcement came with a teaser image – a snow-covered wolf medallion with the caption ‘’A new saga begins’’. No further details on the initial release date nor further story details were provided, though we could speculate whether the story would continue following Geralt of Rivia, or whether the story will now follow someone else. Perhaps Ciri? If I remember correctly, she too has the wolf medallion, which she inherited from Vesimir. 

While this is all still speculation, it is interesting to think about, as choices made in game did not all end with happily ever after, and only one ending with Ciri becoming a Witcher, so if the story does end up following Ciri, one of the endings must be canon. But which one? Perhaps we will still be Geralt of Rivia, or perhaps a new, younger Witcher will be introduced to us. What we can infer from the teaser, is that whoever will be the protagonist is from the School of the Wolf. 

With the Witcher series on Netflix proving itself to be rather popular, it will be interesting to see whether the new game(s) will aim for a broader appeal, or whether they will cater to the fans of the game. Trying to please everyone tends to end with not pleasing anyone, so the ball is in CDPR’s court and their ultimate opportunity for redemption. 
The CD Projekt Red (Dead) Redemption. Someone was going to say it, so it might as well be us.

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In addition, the announcement also emphasised that the game will be developed on the Unreal Engine 5, and we should be excited for this too. There was nothing particularly wrong with Cyberpunk 2077 running on REDEngline, but the third person RPG like The Witcher 3, felt a bit clunky at times when it came to moving around. It’s something you get used to quite quickly, but initially, Geralt’s movement did not seem to be as fluid as the third person games we’re used to.

REDEngine will continue to be used for further Cyberpunk 2077 expansions and development, though judging by the announcement and the partnership with Epic Games, the Unreal Engine 5 might be the way forward for CDPR. 
In their announcement, CDPR stated:

‘’ This new relationship with Epic covers not only licensing, but technical development of Unreal Engine 5, as well as potential future versions of Unreal Engine, where relevant. Developers from CD PROJEKT RED will collaborate with those from Epic with the primary goal being to help tailor the engine for open-world experiences, beginning with the development of the next game in The Witcher franchise.’’

It sounds like an exciting future for the studio, and personally, I cannot wait to see what else CDPR has in store.
I am cautiously optimistic about how the franchise will be treated going forward, yet still hyped. We are unlikely to see anything close to a finished game for a few years yet, however this news is nonetheless exciting for the fans of the Witcher series. The not yet named Witcher game has just boarded the hype train, joining Mass Effect, GTA VI and God of War: Ragnarok in the first class. 

Let us hope that the new saga does not recieve the Cyberpunk 2077 treatment. 

Join the convo on Twitter @cclcomputers, and while you’re there, give me a shout if you’re hyped about upcoming games @millaccl