CD Projekt has confirmed that a new Witcher game (opens in new tab) is in development, "kicking off a new saga for the franchise."
The new game will be built using Unreal Engine 5 rather than CD Projekt's REDengine, which the studio said will begin "a multi-year strategic partnership with Epic Games."
"It covers not only licensing, but technical development of Unreal Engine 5, as well as potential future versions of Unreal Engine, where relevant," CD Projekt said. "We'll closely collaborate with Epic Games’ developers with the primary goal being to help tailor the engine for open-world experiences."
CD Projekt said that the change to the new engine was made to help streamline the development process. "From the outset, we did not consider a typical licensing arrangement; both we and Epic see this as a long-term, fulfilling tech partnership," CD Projekt Red CTO Paweł Zawodny said. "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!"
The studio also confirmed that despite the shift to a new engine, the new Witcher game is not planned as an Epic Games Store exclusive.
We are not planning on making the game exclusive to one storefront.March 21, 2022
CD Projekt has previously hinted (opens in new tab) that a new Witcher game could be on the way, but this is the first time it's been formally confirmed. No other details have been revealed, but the teaser image included with the announcement suggests, as we already expected (opens in new tab), that the new game will not feature Geralt. The snow-covered Witcher medallion is difficult to make out but is definitely not from the School of the Wolf.
My initial impression was that the medallion had the appearance of the School of the Cat (opens in new tab), an outcast school that's apparently the only one that trains women and non-humans. It's also the medallion carried by Ciri in The Witcher 3, although she didn't actually earn it from the school, but took it from a bounty hunter hired to kill her—which could point to a post-Witcher 3 spinoff series.
Others, however, have noted that it looks more akin to the School of the Lynx (opens in new tab), which the Witcher wiki says came to being shortly after the official end of the Wolf School. It was founded by veterans of the School of the Cat in partnership with Wolf School hothead Lambert and his lover, the sorceress Keira Metz. This would make for a good followup series too, being explicitly post-Geralt but still leaving the door open to appearances by him and other Witcher trilogy supporting characters.
As a few people have pointed out, the Lynx School history is unofficial—fanfic, you might say—but you could also argue that the entire Witcher videogame trilogy is fanfic. In that light, it wouldn't be entirely out of the question to see this new school (or something like it) adopted as a stepping-off point for a new Witcher game.
The bottom line is that we really have no idea at this point and I expect it'll be a long time before we get any solid detail. Whatever it is, speculation is fun for now—and you can bet that we will be watching very closely.