CD Projekt have today announced they're officially working on the next installment in The Witcher series. Whether this is The Witcher 4, though, we don't know - only that it will be supposedly "kicking off a new saga for the franchise," according to a statement on CD Projekt's website. It will also be kicking off a new venture into Unreal Engine 5, as the developer announced they were leaving their own REDengine behind as they embark on a new, multi-year strategic partnership with Epic Games.
Now, before you start raising those pitchforks, CD Projekt have already confirmed via Twitter that this partnership will not mean the next Witcher game is exclusive to the Epic Games Store. "We are not planning on making the game exclusive to one storefront," reads the tweet, which presumably means we'll at least see it appear on GOG in addition to Epic's storefront.
The fact that it's being made in Unreal Engine 5, Epic's shiny new games engine, is about the only concrete fact we have about the next Witcher game right now, with CD Projekt saying there are "no further details regarding the game - such as a development time frame or release date - are available" at this point.
We're probably still looking at an another open-world Witcher game, though, as CD Projekt said their partnership with Epic will see them "closely collaborate with Epic Games’ developers with the primary goal being to help tailor the engine for open-world experiences."
The studio aren't leaving their REDengine behind entirely. They confirmed that the engine will still be used for the development of Cyberpunk 2077's upcoming expansion, for example (and presumably any other Cyberpunk-related DLC that comes after it). After that, though, it looks like it's all Unreal, all the time
Hopefully, the next Witcher game won't suffer the same disastrous launch that Cyberpunk 2077 did, or take over a year to get into an acceptable state. The Witcher series has the added bonus of being a much more familiar type of fantasy open-world RPG for the studio than Cyberpunk's glossy city of guns and shiny neon cars, but eyebrows will no doubt be raised at all points going forward.
Still, I'm excited at the prospect of a new Witcher game. Maybe this will be the news I need to finally start my complete trilogy playthrough? Will no release date in sight yet, I might just finish by the time it comes out.