CD PROJEKT RED today revealed that the next installment in The Witcher series of video games is currently in development with Unreal Engine 5, kicking off a new saga for the franchise and a new technology partnership with Epic Games.
Today’s announcement marks the first official confirmation of a new game in The Witcher series since the release of CD PROJEKT RED’s previous single-player, AAA RPG in the franchise — The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — which won a total of 250 Game of the Year awards and was later expanded upon with the Hearts of Stone and Blood & Wine add-ons.
The teaser image for the new game features a medallion, accompanied by the phrase A New Saga Begins. Beyond this initial confirmation of a new saga in The Witcher franchise, no further details — such as a development time frame or release date — were provided.
CD PROJEKT RED also announced that they will be moving to Unreal Engine 5 as part of the multi-year strategic partnership with Epic Games. Since The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings , released in 2011, CD PROJEKT RED has used their proprietary REDengine technology to build their games. 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.
Speaking on the use of Unreal Engine 5 for this, and future games, CTO of CD PROJEKT RED, Paweł Zawodny stated:
“One of the core aspects of our internal RED 2.0 Transformation is a much stronger focus on technology, and our cooperation with Epic Games is based on this principle. From the outset, we did not consider a typical licensing arrangement; both we and Epic see this as a long-term, fulfilling tech partnership. It is vital for CD PROJEKT RED 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. This cooperation is so exciting, because it will elevate development predictability and efficiency, while simultaneously granting us access to cutting-edge game development tools. I can’t wait for the great games we’re going to create using Unreal Engine 5!”
Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO of Epic Games, remarked about the partnership:
“Epic has been building Unreal Engine 5 to enable teams to create dynamic open worlds at an unprecedented scale and level of fidelity. We are deeply honored by the opportunity to partner with CD PROJEKT RED to push the limits of interactive storytelling and gameplay together, and this effort will benefit the developer community for years to come.”
Simultaneously with these announcements, CD PROJEKT RED also provided confirmation that REDengine, the technology which powers Cyberpunk 2077, is still being used for the development of the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 expansion.
I will play any Witcher story they release, that’s how much I loved W3 & its expansions. But I am hoping they don’t go further forward with Geralt as the protagonist. His story ended so well in Blood & Wine (and for that matter, in the base game) that I don’t want the potential to diminish it.
A prequel? Or one with a different character? Crossing my fingers, although I’m sure the money is in more-Geralt.
Are we sure this is an exclusive? They keep using language like “partnering with” but your thread title makes it sound like it wouldn’t be on GOG (or Steam), which I find unlikely.
Either way, the drop from the Red engine to Unreal 5 is pretty huge.
Remember when you use the Unreal engine and release on the Epic Store, Epic doesn’t charge you a single penny for the engine. This saves an additional 5% off the top. Huge deal.
I’m confident it will release on EPIC, and never meant to imply anything less - just less so it won’t be on at least GOG (a subsidiary of CDProjektRed).
They own GOG so their lost cut would be 5% there, just the Unreal engine. On the Epic store, they lose 12%. So I imagine they’ll release on both at minimum.
I love the teeny PS about Cyberpunk at the end. LOL
Yeah, that isn’t switching. My guess is the advancements in UE5 are such that it’s much more challenging for anyone else to compete. Nanite is pretty amazing.
Changed the title to reflect the intent better.
Game will not be exclusive to any one store. CDP needs goodwill, not bad. This is a technological partnership.
Judging from the medallion, Ciri might be a protagonist. I am sure we will meet Geralt and others, but not play him.
It is weird how unexcited about it I am. Sure I look forward to playing it if it is good, but the departures of many talented people from CDP (Tomazskiewicz brothers, Arek Borowek, Karolina Stachyra, Jakub Szamalek) dampen the enthusiasm, as does the game director, who appears to be a canadian who did Gwent before.
Also not a fan of switching to Unreal, although I get it. That Matrix demo showed stuff impossible in other engines and replicating nanite in Red Engine would likely be an effort for several years with unsure result.
Who cares what engine a game uses? I’m fine with whatever. The gameplay and visuals resulting are what matters, and I haven’t seen anything even claiming to compete with nanite.
I just don’t like the idea of every AAA game using the same engine. To me Cryengine has very different look and feel to Unreal, for example, and I like this variety.
Even Elder Scrolls’ Gamebryo monstrosity? :)
A monoculture could be dangerous with Epic flexing its muscles, sure, but it’s not like the concepts behind nanite and lumen are so esoteric, they can be implemented in other engines, they’re just some amount of time behind that curve.
Re Gamebryo I did say the end result matters, and its end result is jank^infinity.
That’s the thing, will anyone actually bother implementing nanite/lumen-like when Unreal 5 already exists and is so cheap and nice and well known by developers…
Sure. Unreal Engine three was super popular and yet there were tons of competitors. Same with 4, and will be the same with 5.
It does seem like they have a major initial advantage this generation with nanite and to a lesser extent Lumen and TSR.
I’m always up for a bit of techno-fetishism but I can’t think of a game I’ve played where the actual tech has been especially important. They’re all good enough, some gooder enougher than others.
On the consumer side, it should just be a matter of end results. For the developer, it matters a great deal. An engine that is much more efficient may mean that the game runs better so either higher FPS, better graphics, or both. That matters to consumers, even if they might not directly care what engine is being used.
Or on the flipside, look at Anthem, Battlefield 2042, and other games that have bombed and where many issues can be traced back to the engine being used. An Anthem customer may not care if it’s Frostbite but they cared that the game had so little content and new content took too long to be developed and couldn’t be rolled out before the game died. In the case of both games, there have been multiple reports that many of the problems in those titles can be traced back to how much time the developers had to spend on wrestling with the engine rather than working on game content/systems/etc.
We’ve had this exact discussion before and I’ll retort with the same thing I did then, like 10 years ago-- it’s super rare for tech to have any material impact on gameplay. It got “good enough” in the Xbox/PS2 generation, and almost everything after that is a matter of visuals, not enabling gameplay.
One counterexample comes to mind, though-- Assassin’s Creed 1’s crowds. This was the first game that could render a crowd of people, and you needed to walk through them. That was genuinely new. I can’t think of anything else since.