3 possible directions The Witcher 4 could go in

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

A new Witcher game is in development, and it will be "kicking off a new saga for the franchise" in the words of CD Projekt. What does that mean? To spoil the ending of The Witcher 3's final DLC, Blood and Wine, we know that Geralt is a semi-retired vineyard owner these days, having settled down with whichever love interest you chose (or neither of them if you goofed the romance). 

So who and what will this upcoming game, the one that won't be called The Witcher 4 but we don't have a better name for yet, be about? Let's fire up the speculation engine and see what it pops out.

It'll be about Ciri

If the witcher medallion in the announcement represents a redesigned look for the School of the Cat, that could be a suggestion that Ciri will be the protagonist. She wears a School of the Cat medallion, having taken it from a bounty hunter in the books, which replaces Geralt's School of the Wolf medallion next to the health bar in the parts of The Witcher 3 where you play as Ciri. 

If it's not a new look for the School of the Cat and CD Projekt is adding a new lynx-themed witcher school to the lore, perhaps it's one with different requirements for entry—and one Ciri could officially join, despite not having gone through the standard witcher trials. Either way, that medallion's lying in snow, which Ciri's thematically connected to.

Having Ciri as a protagonist presents a few problems, but not insurmountable ones. She doesn't use signs or drink potions, and can teleport, so combat would be quite different. Of course, combat's been completely redesigned in every Witcher game so far, and we did get to play as Ciri in The Witcher 3 already.

More of an issue for some players is that continuing Ciri's story would mean choosing which of The Witcher 3's endings is canonical. It's going to be the one where Ciri becomes a witcher, of course. It's the ending that most obviously sets up another videogame, and it's already the one chosen by the Witcher comic books CD Projekt collaborated with Dark Horse Comics to create.

(Image credit: Dark Horse)

You'll get to make your own witcher 

On the other hand, CD Projekt Red did let players make a V of their own for Cyberpunk 2077. What if the next Witcher game let players design a witcher? One who joins a new witcher school that welcomes men and women, elves and dwarves, and people who've pushed the cheekbone slider too far and will regret it for the next 60 hours or so?

That would free the writers from having to choose which of The Witcher 3's endings is the real one, and let them make a game about a witcher doing witcher things without having to worry as much about contradicting the existing lore. 

It could also build a new cast of characters CD Projekt would own the rights to, while maintaining a sense of continuity by bringing back elements of The Witcher 3 like contracts, witcher senses, alchemy, and Gwent. Imagine if, at the end of a long Gwent tournament storyline, your self-made protagonist got ready to face the ultimate grand master, at which point you heard Geralt say, "Deal me in." And that was his only appearance in the entire game.

(Image credit: CD Projekt)

The thing is, what makes The Witcher games stand out from other RPGs is that they don't let you play an undefined hero who can be whatever you want. The roleplaying in them is about interpreting an existing character, about deciding what kind of Geralt you want to be. To lose that would be to lose a significant part of their appeal.

It'll have multiple protagonists

What if being able to play as Ciri in The Witcher 3 wasn't a suggestion that we'd get to play her more fully in a sequel, but that a sequel would also have more than one playable character? Here's a way to make people who want a game about Ciri happy while also keeping The Witcher 3's signs-and-potions gameplay intact.

Perhaps fan-favorite witcher Lambert could be another playable character, or Eskel. It could be a full ensemble game, with another character taking the role of a sorceress who gets a dedicated magic system to play around with, or a shape-changing doppler, or an ordinary peasant way out of their depth.

That could be a lot of fun, and would reflect the way the original short stories about Geralt became a series of novels that frequently spent chapters away from his point-of-view, following other characters and giving the setting its sense of richness.

Or maybe it'll be a prequel about Young Vesemir Adventures. Honestly, at this stage we're just spitballing. It'll probably be the Ciri one, though.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.