It feels like the whole world is currently scouring for information and insight into the new Witcher game that was announced by CD Projekt RED last month. The new game, or The Witcher 4, as it’s being tentatively referred to online, was announced back in March to a frenzy of excitement, along with the news that it will be developed in Unreal Engine 5 as part of CDPR’s new ongoing partnership with Epic Games.
Speaking as part of today’s State of Unreal live stream, CD Projekt RED CTO Pawel Zawodny shed some light on the developers’ choice to move to UE5 instead of using their own REDengine 4 software that was used in the development of the previous Witcher titles. “Our cooperation with Epic has just started,” said Zawodny, “it was the shift towards open-world support that brought Unreal Engine 5 to our attention.”
Newly-announced Game Director for the Witcher 4 game, Jason Slama, also appears in the feature, explaining that some of last year’s demo footage of a medieval environment really caught his eye, thanks to an interestingly-placed noticeboard outside what looks like a ruined inn. Slama also elaborated on the need for engine stability when designing an open-world game like the Witcher 4 will be, because of the “exponential potential” for things to go wrong in that kind of game.
Jakub Knapik, CD Projekt RED’s Art Director, VFX & Lighting, explained that the toolbox-like functionality of UE5 is another reason the team have been drawn to make use of it for the new Witcher saga. “All in all, it’s a really cool technology to prototype and makes environments really quickly, be really beautiful and very realistic,” he said.
It appears as though CDPR are aiming for the highest level of engine quality in their approach to the development of the Witcher 4. The partnership they’ve forged with Epic looks like it could have great outcomes whenever the new Witcher game is finally ready for the world to play.