2022 was a big year for CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher franchise. Not only we got a next-gen upgrade of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for PC and consoles, but the studio also announced the future of the franchise, including a new mainline trilogy and an remake of The Witcher 1. Here we break down of what’s to come:
The new Witcher trilogy aka ‘Polaris’ and its two sequels
The new project codenamed ‘Polaris‘ and its two sequels are the new trilogy that is set to succeed Geralt’s original trilogy and move The Witcher franchise forward. It’s a new saga that will continue and expand the open-world storytelling known from The Witcher 3.
As of 2022, Polaris was in pre-production according to CDPR. What’s more, as everyone already knows, the new games will be developed using Unreal Engine 5, leaving CDPR’s own RED Engine behind.
CDPR also announced that they plan to release the two sequels of Polaris within a six-year period since the release of Polaris. Meaning, if Polaris 1 or The Witcher 4 ends up being released in, for example, 2026, then CDPR’s aim would be to have both The Witcher 5 and The Witcher 6 released by 2032.
“It’s a bold statement,” says CDPR President and Joint CEO Adam Kicinski, “as we are talking about three large-scale productions, but we really mean it and we have a plan how to achieve it.”
As for the protagonist, the time period or the location, absolutely nothing is known when it comes to Polaris or The Witcher 4, as some prefer to call it. So far we only have one teaser image of a witcher medallion which looks like a lynx.
Lastly, we also know the director of the new witcher saga: Sebastian Kalemba, who announced his involvement on Twitter in November 2022. Kalemba worked on The Witcher 3 as the Lead Animator and on Cyberpunk 2077 as Head of Animation and Animation Director.
Back in May 2022, Gwent: The Witcher Card Game director Jason Slama was announced as the Game Director of the next Witcher game. It isn’t clear if that has changed or whether there are two co-directors leading the development of the new Witcher saga.
The Witcher 1 remake aka ‘Canis Majoris’
Another very exciting item on CD Projekt RED’s menu is a long-anticipated remake of the first Witcher game, which was released in 2007. This project is codenamed ‘Canis Majoris‘.
“The Witcher is where it all started for us, for CD PROJEKT RED. It was the first game we made, ever, and it was a big moment for us then. Going back to this place and remaking the game for the next generation of gamers to experience it feels just as big, if not bigger,” said Adam Badowski, Head of Studio at CDPR.
Not many details have been revealed about this one, but it will be open-world as opposed to semi-open world that was the original. As per CDPR it’s a “story-driven, single player open-world RPG – a modern reimagining of 2007’s The Witcher.”
Like Polaris, The Witcher 1 remake will be developed using Unreal Engine 5 as well. Unlike The Witcher 4, it won’t be developed directly by CDPR, but by a fellow Polish studio Fool’s Theory that has many Witcher and CDPR veterans and worked on such games as Baldur’s Gate 3, Outriders, Gord and more.
That said, CDPR will provide “full creative supervision” for The Witcher 1 remake, so they are still very much involved.
“Collaborating with Fool’s Theory on the project is just as exciting, as some of the people there have been previously involved in The Witcher games. They know the source material well, they know how much gamers have been looking forward to seeing the remake happen, and they know how to make incredible and ambitious games. And although it will take some time before we’re ready to share more about and from the game, I know it’ll be worth the wait.”
Single-player/Multiplayer game by Molasses Flood aka ‘Sirius’
The fifth game is a bit of a mystery as it’s not entirely clear what it is exactly. Codenamed ‘Sirius‘, the new game is developed by the US game studio Molasses Flood and is said to differ from the previous Witcher games in the sense that it will be targeted at a broader audience, offering a multiplayer experience on top of a single-player story campaign.
Again, nothing is known regarding the time period or the setting of this game aside from the fact that it’s set in the Witcher universe. The only thing to give us any clue at all as to what kind of a game this might be, are the previous games developed by Molasses Flood. Here are their trailers:
Here’s CDPR’s own breakdown on manpower behind its projects that shows approximately how the forces are distributed. The latest report was according to October 31, 2022. As you can see, most of CDPR’s workforce is occupied with Cyberpunk 2077‘s Phantom Liberty DLC, which is set for a 2023 release.
After that is released, we can imagine CDPR starting a more active phase of the development of the next Witcher game.
The future of the Witcher franchise at CDPR is surely interesting with so many projects. Who knows, maybe they will even decide to venture into making animated series like Cyperpunk: Edgerunners? In any case, stay tuned for more news!