Around a year ago, CD Projekt Red announced that their next The Witcher saga (since clarified to be another trilogy) will be powered by Unreal Engine 5, rather than the company’s in-house REDengine. At the time, CDPR promised this move would “elevate development predictability and efficiency,” but has that actually come true? Well, perhaps not yet.
During their most recent earnings conference, CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kiciński admitted the switch to UE5 has not accelerated their development process for The Witcher 4 yet, as they focus on creating tools and getting employees up to speed on the new engine (there are currently around 200 people working on the game). That said, the hope is, development of future UE5 projects will be smoother once these early stutters are out of the way.
“We are preparing things on the pipeline side and toolset sides. Some developers are still learning the [Unreal Engine 5] technology, and at the same time, there are teams working together with Epic on all aspects that are needed for our open-world, story-driven RPGs. Definitely, for [our] first project, Polaris, it will... maybe not slow down, but it won't accelerate the [development] processes. But for the next projects, we assume that it should smoothen production. That was one of the reasons behind [...] saying we want to release three big Witcher games within six years, starting with the release of Polaris, which is The Witcher 4.”
Kiciński also offered a new statement on the internal rebooting of The Molasses Flood’s new take on The Witcher franchise, codenamed “Project Sirius.” According to Kiciński, the game is new to CDPR in terms of “design and format,” particularly compared to their usual roleplaying “big productions.”
“Sirius is a codename for a project carried out by the Molasses Flood, a Boston-based group that joined the CD Projekt group in 2021. This is a project that is, I would say, "insourced." It's also new to us in terms of design and format. For those reasons, it's very different from the big productions we are known for. To stay competitive we need to keep looking for new ways to extend our franchises. At the same time, we need to be ready to re-evaluate our original concepts, even if the development work is already underway. […] It was a tough decision to make, but we also believe it was the right one. Our intention was to cut costs early and give ourselves time for reassessment. We don't want to carry on with projects that we are not aligned with.”
Not a lot to go on, but it sounds like Project Sirius isn’t another big open-world adventure. Talk of a new format almost makes me wonder if the project might be episodic. Or free-to-play? Regardless, whatever it once was has now changed.
You can get more details from CD Projekt Red’s 2022 earnings report here.
The post The Witcher 4 UE5 Switch isn’t Speeding Development, CDPR Hopes it Helps with Future Games by Nathan Birch appeared first on Wccftech.