CD PROJEKT RED has revealed that the next instalment 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.
The 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.”
This is a really interesting move for CD PROJEKT RED and is potentially a huge win for other developers who will benefit from the Open World tools that CDPR develop for UE5.
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. This last part is not surprising as redeveloping an existing game in a new engine is a massive undertaking so using the existing tool makes sense.