After building a niche audience with the first two The Witcher games, Polish studio CD Projekt RED broke into the mainstream with the open-world AAA title, The Witcher 3, in 2015. Since then, fans have been waiting on CDPR to continue the award-winning video game franchise, especially following the success of Netflix's The Witcher show, which follows the book series by Andrzej Sapkowski bearing the same name more closely than CDPR's take on the source material.
Fast forward to nearly two years after seeing its reputation tank with Cyberpunk 2077 and it appears that CDPR is finally ready to move forward with The Witcher.
In the studio's most recent blog post, A New Saga Begins, the developer officially confirmed that it's working on a new The Witcher game. Unfortunately, the post contains very few details about the upcoming installment outside of revealing the next entry in the long-running game series. Interestingly enough, CDPR confirmed that it will no longer use the in-house REDEngine for The Witcher 4. Instead, CDPR will be shifting development towards Unreal Engine 5, joining a long list of upcoming video games that will be developed on the latest version of Epic Games' video game engine.
As specified by CDPR, the next The Witcher game will kick off a "multi-year strategic partnership with Epic Games." The two will collaborate closely to "help tailor the engine for open-world experiences."
CDPR's confirmation comes nearly a year after the studio announced that it will start working on current-gen Witcher and Cyberpunk games this year. The post confirms at least part of CDPR's initial plans, with news of a new Cyberpunk 2077 game as well as the highly-anticipated DLC still nowhere in sight. However, we can't exactly lament CDPR if it intends to focus on The Witcher for now, while waiting to see if public perception of Cyberpunk 2077 improves.
Having said that, CDPR's announcement has had fans speculating about who is going to take the lead in The Witcher 4. Specifically, fans believe that players will play as Ciri in The Witcher 4 as the cat medallion shown in the image belongs to Ciri - Geralt has a wolf medallion. More importantly, A New Saga, the title of the post, hints at a major change for the next The Witcher game, and what could be a more massive departure than putting Ciri in the lead? A possible scenario is to mirror what Naughty Dog did with The Last of Us: Part II, putting players in the shoes of Ellie as the first game's protagonist, Joel, took the backseat and became more of a supporting character.
We're hoping that CDPR will give us more The Witcher 4 news later this year, but if not, it's understandable. Living up to the expectations set by The Witcher 3, which is easily one of the best open-world games of all time, is a mammoth undertaking. After its still-ongoing debacle with Cyberpunk 2077, we wouldn't be surprised if CDPR will take its sweet time working on the new series entry.