Hey, there's another Witcher game on the way. It's in development at CD Projekt Red right now and will apparently run on Unreal Engine 5. That's pretty neat. CPDR announced the news today with a single image: a mysterious witcher medallion buried in snow.
It's also likely the only image we'll have of the sequel for quite some time, so let's dissect it to see what we can glean about the next Witcher game right now. For starters, let's cover what we already knew about The Witcher 4 before today.
- Geralt won't be the protagonist (but could cameo)
- It's likely still years away
- It probably won't be called The Witcher 4
These facts bring us to today's snowy teaser. We don't know where Witcher 4 will take place or who the protagonist will be, but that medallion raises some major questions, starting with: Is that a Cat school medallion?
Is that a Cat school medallion?
Sort of, but not really. The School of the Cat is one of seven witcher schools depicted in the books and games. As with witchers as a whole, the Cat school is essentially defunct and few of its witchers remain by the time the games come around. There aren't many cat witchers wandering around the world of The Witcher, but we do know what their medallions look like.
Here's a Cat medallion (left) compared against the new medallion (right) shown in today's Witcher 4 teaser.
Those are definitely different. The face on the new medallion looks a lot closer to a Lynx, a breed of feline that's bigger than a house cat and has distinct pointy hair tufts at the tip of its ears (clearly visible in the snow medallion). The two are different enough that my gut says we're looking at the medallion of a witcher school that doesn't yet exist, except, it's not that simple.
This isn't the first time lynxes have come up in CDPR's Witcher games. The Witcher 3 features a side quest in which players learn about the Cat school while hunting down armor pieces worn by its members. The game calls these armor pieces "Feline" gear. The other way to get the armor is to spawn them into the world using console commands on PC. The commands to spawn Feline gear refer to the armor as "Lynx school" gear.
So, will Witcher 4 star a new breed of witchers represented by the lynx, or is this simply a retcon/rebranding of the existing Cat school? The Witcher 3 item codes suggest CDPR referred to the Cat school as "lynx" at some point, and with Witcher 4 being the start of a "new saga" detached from Geralt, now would be the time to make larger changes.
Is Ciri part of the Cat school?
Very possibly. Players have been asking for a Ciri-led Witcher game since Witcher 3 released in 2015, and there's good reason to think it's possible.
For one, Ciri actually wears a Cat school medallion. It's not really mentioned in Witcher 3, but you can spot it hanging off her waist in-game and during cutscenes. While playing as Ciri, the Wolf symbol next to Geralt's health bar is replaced with a Cat symbol. The games don't call attention to this detail, but in the books, Ciri takes the Cat medallion from a bounty hunter named Leo Bonhart, who himself looted it from a Cat school witcher he killed.
We're still unsure about the whole cat vs. lynx thing, but if the Witcher 4 teaser is simply a rebranding of the Cat school, then we very well could be looking at Ciri's medallion.
There are other things that make Ciri a good candidate for protagonist. In what many consider to be the best ending of Witcher 3's main story, Ciri becomes a witcher and sets off on her own. A new game set after Geralt's retirement would be a natural place to pick up a new game and consistent with what CDPR has said about the future of The Witcher games.
Who are the Cat school witchers?
Among the various witcher factions, the Cat school is something of a black sheep. They were a nomadic group that traveled and trained by caravan, picking up new members and trying out some seriously messed up mutation methods along the way. They are known for specializing in agility, precision, and speed.
The Cat school also seemed to have a habit of cruelty at its height. In the World of the Witcher compendium published in 2015, Geralt's mentor Vesemir shares some particularly unkind words about his Cat colleagues.
"I have no idea whether they chose their candidates specifically from young outcasts with a penchant for aggression, or if some unforeseen cruelty was somehow unleashed during the trials, but the final effect was a cadre of psychopaths, madmen, and sadists. Needless to say, the ill fame of their deeds hangs like a dark cloud over our reputation to this day."
These details could be relevant if CDPR plans to explore the Cat school further in Witcher 4. There's still a better chance that the sequel takes place long after the Cat school is defunct, but a Cat-era prequel isn't off the table either.