After years of waiting, The Witcher 4 is officially on its way. Or at least the next main Witcher game is, as we don’t have a real name for it at the moment.
In March 2022, developer CD Projekt Red announced The Witcher 4 in a blog post. This stated that “the next installment in The Witcher video game series is currently in development” and the title will usher in “a new saga”. This new saga is actually a new trilogy, which will start with whatever Polaris is. This is, for all intents and purposes, The Witcher 4, although it will likely be called something else entirely. For now, we’re taking The Witcher 4 as the project codenamed Polaris in the recent game revealed.
Not surprisingly, CD Projekt RED is finally talking about a new Witcher game. The developer was already open to another entry in their mega-successful fantasy series. CD Projekt RED president Adam Kiciński said in March 2020 that there is a “relatively clear concept” for the next witcher game. He also revealed that full production would begin “immediately” after the release of Cyberpunk 2077.
Want to know more? Read on for everything we know about The Witcher 4 so far.
The Witcher 4: Get straight to the point
- What is it? The Witcher’s Next Main Game
- When can I play? To confirm
- What can I play on? to be defined
The Witcher 4: release date and platforms
Let’s start by tempering our excitement. CD Projekt RED announced that The Witcher 4 is in active development, but also made it clear in its blog post (opens in new tab) that “no further details” about a “release date” are available.
Now, to put this in some perspective, the original Reveal trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab) was released seven years before the game actually came out. To bring some hope back to the situation, CD Projekt RED has published a Witcher 3: Wild Hunt title reveal trailer (opens in new tab) just two years before The Witcher 3 was released.
That’s all to say that we’re probably several years away from the release of The Witcher 4. Mark your calendars for 2024 as early as possible, although it will likely be longer.
No platforms for The Witcher 4 have been confirmed, but that’s not surprising. We expect CD Projekt Red to make use of current-gen hardware, so releases on PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC feel almost certain.
What we do know is that The Witcher 4 will be the first in a trilogy. This was revealed in October 2022, along with several new projects from The Witcher and Cyberpunk.
Polaris is a codename for the next installment in The Witcher series of games, which we recently announced was in pre-production. It’s the beginning of a new saga: we aim to release two more Witcher games after Polaris, creating a new AAA RPG trilogy. pic.twitter.com/898Ez6Yk79October 4, 2022
The Witcher 4: story and setting
Spoilers for The Witcher game series
As stated above, there are few details available about The Witcher 4. The official blog post only confirms that it is in development and that it is being built on Unreal Engine 5. But over the years, CD Projekt RED has said a lot about what a future Witcher game would involve.
For starters, it’s not really The Witcher 4.
“The first three ‘Witchers’ were, by definition, a trilogy, so we simply couldn’t name the next game ‘The Witcher 4’,” Kiciński said in a statement. interview. “That doesn’t mean, of course, that we’re leaving the world of The Witcher.”
At the end of The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine, monster hunter Geralt was alive and well. Well, he was alive, at least. But their story arc was over, the Wild Hunt was over. That doesn’t mean he won’t be returning in this new Witcher game, though he’s likely not the main character.
The developer said this in 2013: “We’re not killing the world and walking away from it, but we definitely want to make this game the finale in a big way,” said executive producer John Mamais. Polygon (opens in new tab). “We might even include Geralt in later games potentially. We just need to talk about it and figure out what we do next.”
Perhaps we’ll see the reins pass to Ciri – if it’s decided that she canonically survived The Witcher 3. To avoid continuity issues, perhaps the team will set their main story from the events of Geralt’s adventures. After all, Netflix is developing a series set long before the events of the books, Blood Origin is a prequel set 1,000 years before the events of The Witcher.
Confirmation that the locket shown in the game’s announcement image is a lynx certainly suggests that the game will take things in a new direction. This potentially introduces an entirely new school of Witcher.
The author of the Witcher books, Andrzej Sapkowski, has signed a new contract with the company to “further solidify their relationship.” Then. the studio is free to use any of their short stories or novels. (If you’re looking to get caught, here’s how to read The Witcher books in order.)
The Witcher 4: news and rumors
Polaris and a new trilogy
In early October 2022, CD Projekt RED announced several new titles via twitter (opens in new tab), including a new The Witcher trilogy. Polaris (what we call Witcher 4) will kick off the new saga, which will unfold over 6 years from the first release. This is obviously a huge undertaking, so we’ll have to wait and see if it’s worth it.
Reconfirming the beginning of a new saga
CD Projekt RED has again confirmed that The Witcher 4 will release a saga. While he hasn’t confirmed how many games this will involve, CEO Adam Kiciński made these comments during a recent earnings call (opens in new tab).
“We said there would be a new saga. Of course, we are now pre-producing the first game of this saga. But we have more than one in mind. The first saga was three games, so now we are thinking of more than one game. But we are in pre -production of the first game of the second Witcher saga.”
First mystery solved: the locket is a lynx
Following the detailed announcement that The Witcher 4 is in development, CD Projekt Red spoke to address a point of fan speculation: the locket shown in the announcement image. It turns out to be a bobcat, suggesting that CD Projekt Red has created a new Witcher school for the new game.
“I can confirm that the medallion is indeed shaped after a bobcat,” said global communications director Robert Malinowski. eurogamer (opens in new tab).
However, while Lynx School does not appear in official Witcher fiction, there are stories about the school elsewhere on the internet – in a witcher fanfic wiki (opens in new tab). In the fan wiki, the School of the Lynx forms after the dissolution of the School of the Wolf. Founded by the surviving members – including Geralt – the school eventually leaves its homeland and explores the western continent.
However, keep in mind that this is all fanfiction and so is unlikely to be similar to the story CD Projekt is working on for their new RPG. For starters, Geralt might not even appear in the new game. In fact, the announcement talks about a “new saga” that suggests an intention to move forward.
Considering most game announcements come with fancy reveal trailers and big new websites, The Witcher 4 news is relatively muted. CD Project RED has published a blog post (opens in new tab) with a single piece of key art and few details about one of the most anticipated RPGs in gaming history.
“We are happy to announce that the next installment in The Witcher video game series is currently in development, kicking off a new saga for the franchise,” writes the developer.
While the post doesn’t go into detail about the game’s release date or even how far along the team’s development is, it does include one important detail: CD Projekt RED has abandoned its internal game engine.
The team has been using REDengine for every game since The Witcher 2. Capable of supporting gorgeous open worlds, the Polish developer has spent years expanding its capabilities.
There was a huge leap in quality from The Witcher 2 to The Witcher 3, with the technology being able to handle much larger and denser worlds. Technology jumped again with Cyberpunk 2077. While the world may have felt more surrounded than the open plains and twisted forests of The Witcher 3, Night City was a crowded city with massive amounts of activity stretching out above you in blocks. of vertical apartments.
Still, Cyberpunk suffered significant technical issues at launch and perhaps that’s what prompted CD Projekt RED to leave its own engine behind in favor of an industry standard: the Unreal Engine 5.
“We are moving from REDengine to Unreal Engine 5,” writes CD Projekt in the blog post, “beginning a multi-year strategic partnership with Epic Games. It covers not only licensing, but technical development for Unreal Engine 5, as well as possible future versions of the Unreal Engine where relevant. We will collaborate closely with the developers at Epic Games with the primary goal of helping to adapt the engine for open world experiences.”
Before we saw any games for the PlayStation 5, we saw a tech demo of Unreal Engine 5 running on the console. Epic Games made a point of pushing this new version of its engine as technology for the new generation of consoles. The fact that The Witcher 4 is built on this technology is something Epic can scream and Witcher fans burned by Cyberpunk can take solace.
Of course, a game engine is just a set of tools, it doesn’t make a game good or bad. And while many people at CD Projekt RED have used Unreal Engine technology throughout their careers, moving an entire studio to a different set of tools is a production challenge that can show up in the final game.