CD Projekt Red announced today that a brand new entry in The Witcher franchise is in development. The announcement also serves as the introduction to an expansive deal with Epic Games to use Unreal Engine.
The announcement is a spare one, without any details on anything that we can expect. Of course, development time frame, status, or an approximate release window goal are likely far from confirmation. What we do know is that this begins:
“a multi-year strategic partnership with Epic Games. It covers not only licensing, but technical development of Unreal Engine 5, as well as potential future versions of Unreal Engine, where relevant. We’ll closely collaborate with Epic Games’ developers with the primary goal being to help tailor the engine for open-world experiences”.
The business end of this does hold a few elements. One, the upcoming expansion for Cyberpunk 2077 is still being developed in REDengine. So the new deal covers later projects. Unreal Engine and Epic Games do provide some sweet licensing terms for developers using the engine. When it comes to CD Projekt Red, however, the gate as to when royalties start running up (after the first million dollars in sales) is likely to be hit quickly. Yet, the part of the deal covering development and tailoring the engine for open-world experiences is something else to keep an eye on.
This should mean that the next game in the series lives up to its predecessor, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, in terms of being a big adventure, but also perhaps points to the work on the engine being potentially used outside the franchise. It remains to be seen whether this work remains proprietary or if this deal will lead to some additional tailoring of Unreal Engine down the line that is open to all.
For fans, The Witcher franchise is still a tempting name, and with the successful Netflix series and added attention on the books and games since, the potential is high. CD Projekt Red will release details in its own time, but that there is a new entry in development is already exciting many, even with scant information.
You can read the announcement over at CD Projekt Red.