The Witcher 4 is officially in the works, although you can’t call it that when it finally releases. You see, the next major game in the Witcher series is called Polaris for now. We still call it The Witcher 4, but note that it seems to be starting a whole new saga.
In March 2022, developer CD Projekt Red announced The Witcher 4 in a blog post. Several games from the Witcher series have been revealed, each of which has received a codename. The next main game has been labeled Polaris and will be the first game in a new trilogy. In addition, there are still many questions that have not yet been answered.
It’s still early days, and The Witcher 4 doesn’t even have an official title yet, but thanks to some rumors and developer comments, we’ve got an idea of what we should expect. First off, The Witcher 4 will be developed using Unreal Engine 5, and the trailer could hint at a new school of The Witcher we’re focusing on.
Here’s what we know so far about The Witcher 4, including all the latest news and rumors.
The Witcher 4: get to the point
- What is this? Another major Witcher game
- When can I play it? to be confirmed
- What can I play it on? to be confirmed
The Witcher 4: release date and platforms
Let’s start by cooling down our excitement. CD Projekt RED announced that The Witcher 4 is in development, but also explained in blog post (opens in a new tab) that “no further details on the release date” are available.
Now, to put it in perspective, the original reveal the trailer of Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in a new tab) it was released seven years before the game actually came out. To bring some hope back to the situation, CD Projekt RED released a The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt reveals the trailer (opens in a new tab) just two years before the premiere of The Witcher 3.
That’s all there is to say, we’re probably many years away from The Witcher 4’s release. Mark 2024 on your calendars at the earliest, though it’s likely to be longer.
No platforms for The Witcher 4 have been confirmed either, but that’s not surprising. We expect CD Projekt Red to use current-gen hardware, so PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC releases seem almost certain.
What we do know is that The Witcher 4 will be the first part of a trilogy. This was revealed in October 2022 along with some new The Witcher and Cyberpunk projects.
Polaris is the codename for the next installment of The Witcher series of games, which, as we recently reported, is in the pre-production phase. This is the beginning of a new saga: after Polaris, we intend to release two more The Witcher games, creating a new AAA RPG trilogy. pic.twitter.com/898Ez6Yk79October 4, 2022
The Witcher 4: plot and setting
The Witcher game series spoilers
As mentioned above, few details are available about The Witcher 4. The official blog post only confirms that it’s in development and that it’s being built on Unreal Engine 5. However, over the years CD Projekt RED has said a lot about what a future Witcher game would require .
For starters, this isn’t really The Witcher 4.
“The first three ‘The Witcher’ games were by definition a trilogy, so we just couldn’t call the next game ‘The Witcher 4’,” said Kiciński interview. “This does not mean, of course, that we will leave the world of The Witcher.”
At the end of The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine, monster hunter Geralt was alive and well. Well, at least he was alive. But his storyline is over, the Wild Hunt is over. That doesn’t mean he won’t be back in the new Witcher game, though he probably won’t be the main character.
The developer said the same thing back in 2013: “We’re not killing the world and we’re not moving away from it, but we’re definitely going to want this game to be a grand finale,” said executive producer John Mamais Polygon (opens in a new tab). “We could even potentially include Geralt in later games. We just need to talk about it and find out what we’re going to do next.”
Perhaps we will see Ciri take the reins – if it is decided that she canonically survived The Witcher 3. To avoid problems with continuity, perhaps the team will set its plot based on 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.
The confirmation that the medallion shown in the game’s preview image is a lynx certainly suggests the game is going in a new direction. This potentially introduces a whole new school of The Witcher.
The author of The Witcher books, Andrzej Sapkowski, has signed a new deal with the company to “further strengthen their relationship.” So. the studio is free to draw from any of its stories or novels. (If you want to get caught, here’s how to read The Witcher books in order.)
The Witcher 4: news and rumors
The Witcher 4 has its own game director
Sebastian Kalemba, the former lead animator of The Witcher 3, has been announced as Game Director of The Witcher 4. This was announced on Twitter, stating that their goal is to “raise the bar”.
Professional news: I’m directing a new saga about The Witcher. Since joining @CDPROJEKTRED, I believe nothing is impossible and that raising the bar, telling emotional stories and creating worlds is what we’re here for. I am proud to be part of CDPR and work with such a talented and passionate team.November 3, 2022
Polaris and a brand new trilogy
At the beginning of October 2022, CD Projekt RED announced a handful of new titles via Twitter (opens in a new tab)including the new The Witcher trilogy. Polaris (which we call The Witcher 4) will start a new saga that will run for more than 6 years from the first release. It’s obviously a huge undertaking, so we’ll have to wait and see if it pays off.
I confirm the beginning of a new saga
CD Projekt RED has again confirmed that The Witcher 4 will start the saga. While it hasn’t been confirmed how many games this will take, CEO Adam Kiciński commented during last call for earnings (opens in a new tab).
“We said there would be a new saga. Of course, now we are preparing the first game of this saga. But we mean more than one. The first saga consisted of three games, so now we’re thinking of more than one game. But we are in the pre-production phase of the first game in the second Witcher saga.”
First puzzle solved: the medallion is a lynx
Following the detailed announcement that The Witcher 4 is in development, CD Projekt Red has taken the floor to address one point of fan speculation: the medallion shown in the announcement image. It turns out to be a lynx, suggesting that CD Projekt Red has created a whole new Witcher school for the new game.
“I can confirm that the medallion is in fact shaped like a lynx,” said Global Communications Director Robert Malinowski Eurogamer (opens in a new tab).
However, although the School of Lynx does not appear in official The Witcher fiction, stories about the school circulate on the Internet – na fan fiction wiki about The Witcher (opens in a new tab). On the fan wiki, the School of Lynx is created after the School of the Wolf is disbanded. Founded by surviving members – including Geralt – the school eventually leaves its homeland and explores the western continent.
Keep in mind though that this is all fanfiction and therefore unlikely to be anything like the story CD Projekt is working on for its new RPG. For starters, Geralt may not even appear in the new game. Indeed, the announcement talks about a “new saga” that suggests an intention to move on.
Given that most game announcements feature fancy reveal trailers and big new websites, news about The Witcher 4 is relatively muted. CD Projekt RED has published, among others blog post (opens in a new tab) with one key piece of art and skimpy details about one of the most anticipated RPGs in gaming history.
“We are happy to announce that the next installment of The Witcher video game series is in the works, starting a new saga for the series,” writes the developer.
While the post doesn’t go into detail about the game’s release date or even how far the team is in development, it does include one major detail: CD Projekt RED has ditched its in-house game engine.
The team has been using REDengine in every game since The Witcher 2. Being able to support great open worlds, the Polish developer has spent years developing his capabilities.
There was a huge qualitative leap from The Witcher 2 to The Witcher 3, and the technology was able to handle much larger, denser worlds. Tech has jumped in again in Cyberpunk 2077. While the world may have felt more hemmed in than The Witcher 3’s open plains and winding forests, Night City was a crowded city with a huge amount of activity stretching above you in vertical apartment blocks.
Despite this, Cyberpunk had serious technical problems at launch, and perhaps this is what prompted CD Projekt RED to abandon its own engine in favor of the industry standard: Unreal Engine 5.
“We are moving from REDengine to Unreal Engine 5,” writes CD Projekt in a blog post, “starting a multi-year strategic partnership with Epic Games. This includes not only licensing but also the technical development of Unreal Engine 5 as well as potential future releases of Unreal Engine where applicable. We will be working closely with Epic Games developers, with the main goal being to help tailor the engine to the open-world experience.”
Before we saw any PlayStation 5 games, we saw the Unreal Engine 5 tech demo running on the console. Epic Games was very keen to promote this new version of its engine as a technology for the next generation of consoles. The fact that The Witcher 4 will be built with this technology is something Epic can shout about, and Cyberpunk-burned Witcher fans can take comfort.
Of course, the game engine is just a set of tools, it doesn’t make a game good or bad. And although many people at CD Projekt RED have used Unreal Engine technology in their careers, moving the entire studio to a different set of tools is a production challenge that may appear in the final version of the game.