CD Projekt Red Reveals The Witcher 4 Is In Development
It is almost seven years since PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC gamers clambered over themselves to get hold of a copy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, arguably one of the greatest open-world RPG titles ever created. Polish developer CD Projekt Red sold more than 30 million copies globally, making it one of the best-selling video games of all time. CD Projekt Red lit the blue touch paper under The Witcher fans this week when it announced The Witcher 4 is in development.
Developing a sequel to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt does not come as a surprise. Not only was the third installment massively popular, so was The Witcher TV series on the streaming platform Netflix. Video games make developers a lot of money. Epic titles like The Witcher series earn those same developers unfathomable riches. Details of the upcoming title are scarce, to say the least. There is no projected release date or even a year we can expect to see The Witcher 4 because CD Projekt Red’s announcement blog only spanned 132 words. However, those words were enough to have Witcher fans tingling with excitement.
Out Goes The Infamous REDengine
One revelation, in particular, will please the series’ fans immensely. The developer is doing away with its in-house REDengine and using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5. CD Projekt Red used REDengine to power Cyberpunk 2077, a game that was a favorite for the coveted Game of the Year with the likes of online sportsbook Betnow until the game released jam-packed with bugs, some of them game-breaking. A huge 1.5 patch, released the day after Valentine’s Day and a subsequent patch released on March 22, have helped make Cyberpunk 2077 resemble the game it should have been at launch.
Although CD Projekt Red is using Unreal Engine 5 for The Witcher 4, it plans to keep its REDengine for an upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 expansion.
The Unreal Engine 5 can transform video games like no technological leap before. You only have to download and play The Matrix Awakens demo to see how the engine powers photo-realistic graphics on a grand scale. Having a vast open world to explore with Unreal Engine 5 pulling the strings behind the scenes seems like a match made in heaven. One would expect The Witcher 5 to only release on the latest generation of consoles and PC if CD Projekt Red is to make the most of the new engine.
What Can Witcher Fans Expect?
While the teaser announcement did not reveal much in the way of plot or if any Witcher 3 characters are returning, it did drop a handful of hints that have set chins wagging among the Witcher community.
First, the blog entry is entitled “A New Saga Begins,” hinting that Geralt of Riva will not be the main protagonist as CD Projekt Red prepares to send us on a new journey with a new lead. The lead image on the blog drops a massive hint that Ciri, the adopted daughter of Yennefer from The Witcher 3, will be the main player-controlled character. The picture shows a cat medallion part-covered in snow, and Ciri owned such a medallion in the previous installment. Geralt’s medallion was that of a wolf. Combing the image and the title suggests The Witcher 4 revolves around Ciri.
Of course, spoilers ahead, The Witcher 3 had several endings, with each seeing Ciri meet a different fate. Depending on the interactions with certain characters and the outcome of the final battles, Ciri can either die, fake her death and become a witcher or ascend the throne and be crowned the Empress of Nilfgaard. It would be most likely that the second option, Ciri faking her death and becoming a witcher, is the most likely plot line, but being a hands-on Empress would be a cool path to send the series down.
Hopefully, Witcher fans will not have long to wait to receive more information, even if that info comes in the form of cryptic clues and teasers.