With Netflix’s The Witcher series set to potentially break viewership records when the show’s second season debuts later this year, it’s only natural to wonder what the state of The Witcher game series is and whether or not we’ll ever actually get to play The Witcher 4.
The answer to that question is…complicated. While it seems likely that developer CD Projekt Red is working on a new Witcher game (or hopes to at some point), it’s not exactly clear whether or not it’s realistic to expect to play The Witcher 4 anytime soon (or even at all). The studio has been very careful with the words they use when speak about even the possibility of such a project.
Having said that, here are a few things we do know (or can reasonably assume) about the game most commonly referred to as The Witcher 4:
The Witcher 4 Probably Won’t Be Called The Witcher 4
The first thing you need to know about The Witcher 4 is that it probably won’t be called The Witcher 4. Actually, CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kiciński pretty much confirmed as much in an interview with Bankier in which he said that “The first three ‘Witchers‘ were by definition a trilogy, so we simply could not name the next game ‘The Witcher 4.'”
Before you abandon all hope, though, you should know that Kiciński also said that the team still intends to explore The Witcher universe in future projects if at all possible. It’s just that the face of the franchise might look a little different from here on out…
The Witcher 4 Will Not be About Geralt (but Might Star Ciri)
CD Projekt Red sometimes goes back and forth regarding where they’re at with the next Witcher game and what they want it to look like, but one thing that’s been fairly consistent is their insistence that they’re done with Geralt’s story. While that much was probably pretty obvious to those who played the Blood and Wine expansion, various CD Projekt Red have made it clear that they see the first three Witcher games as a trilogy about Geralt and that any potential future projects will probably go in another direction.
While they’ve kept things general enough to leave room for a variety of possibilities, the most likely star of any major future Witcher games has to be Ciri. Not only was Ciri’s story clearly not resolved by the end of The Witcher 3, but several CD Projekt Red Developers have stated that Ciri is their favorite character.
Of course, the team could just decide to focus on a new witcher entirely, but again, it’s far too early to do anything but speculate regarding the specifics of their plans for the future of this franchise’s narrative.
Cyberpunk 2077’s Problems Probably Won’t Significantly Delay The Witcher 4
Without discussing the details of the Cyberpunk 2077 drama yet again, let’s just say that the highly-anticipated game’s 2020 launch didn’t exactly go according to plan. As we speak, CD Projekt Red is hard (supposedly) at work on fixing Cyberpunk 2077 and eventually getting it to a point where they feel like they’ll be able to release new content for it. So will all that post-release work delay progress on the next Witcher game?
Well, a CD Projekt Red strategy report shared via Twitter earlier this year reveals that the studio intends to begin “parallel triple-A development” on two major franchises starting in 2022. As you can tell from the images they chose, those franchises are almost certainly The Witcher and Cyberpunk.
So while it sounds like CD Projeckt Red intends to keep the Witcher team separate from the Cyberpunk crew in the near future, it’s again important to note that Cyberpunk 2077‘s launch and post-release schedule did not go according to plan. As such, it’s not entirely clear whether or not CD Projekt Red needs to devote more resources to Cyberpunk than they previoulsy anticipated. We also can’t forget that production schedules across the industry are still very much impacted by COVID-19 related delays.
The Witcher 4 Could Feature Online Gameplay Elements
Make of this what you will, but Adam Kiciński said that CD Projekt Red “makes single-player, story-driven triple-A RPGs” but that their “long-term approach to online” is changing. Specifically, he noted that they are “building an online technology that can be seamlessly integrated into development of future games.”
What’s especially interesting about that statement is that it was released before recent reports strongly suggested that Cyberpunk 2077‘s online multiplayer may have been delayed indefinitely. While some still believe that Cyberpunk 2077‘s online multiplayer may eventually be released, it’s not clear what state it’s in, when we’ll see it next, and how it’s potential delay/cancellation will affect whatever early plans the developer may have had for The Witcher 4 (or whatever it will be called).
That being said, it seems pretty clear that CD Projekt Red wants to incorporate more online play into their titles at some point, and the next Witcher could be the game that really allows them to showcase whatever they’re envisioning.
The Witcher 4 Likely Won’t be Released For a Very Long Time
Even if The Witcher 4 begins development in 2022 as CD Projeckt Red previously hinted (which it very well may), it’s likely going to be a long time before you ever get to play it.
Unless CD Projekt Red deviates from their previously stated strategy, The Witcher 4 will likely be a Triple-A RPG with at least some online elements. Games like that take years to make if you’re trying to do them well, so it seems highly unlikely that we’ll play the next major installment in this franchise until at least 2025 (based on previous CDPR production schedules and what we currently know).