Believe it or not it’s been nearly five full years since The Witcher 3 first released. Millions of gamers around the world became lost in its believable, low fantasy universe of rife with political intrigue and supernatural creatures. To many gamers, The Witcher 3 is the best game of the decade and one of the greatest games ever. It has sold more than 33 million copies across all platforms and won more than 800 awards.
Based on The Witcher fantasy novels, originally written in Polish, The Witcher video games have brought global attention to a series of books that were already immensely popular in Poland. The books and games follow Geralt of Rivia, a scar-faced, white-haired Witcher. Young boys are taken from their homes and forced to undergo intense physical and magical training so that they may grow up to become Witchers, mercenary monster hunters who travel the world killing beasts for coin.
Last year, millions more were introduced to The Witcher’s characters and lore thanks to the mainstream success of The Witcher Netflix series. But with the second season of the show not slated to hit the Internet until 2021, fans of the white-haired monster hunter seeking more Witcher content have a long wait ahead of them.
Considering the incredible success of The Witcher 3, it’s almost certain we’ll get some sort of follow-up to the series. What’s uncertain is what it will be about and who will star in the next installment. Unfortunately, there isn’t much concrete news to go by – we can’t even be sure they’ve started work! – but CD Projekt Red has shown an active interest in the property. Here’s everything we know so far about the next game in the Witcher universe.
The Witcher 4.. Contract is Underway
CD Projekt recently negotiated a new contract with The Witcher’s creator, Polish novelist Andrzej Sapkowski, in December of 2019. The new contract “reaffirms [CD Projekt]’s existing title to ‘The Witcher’ intellectual property… in developing video games and merchandise.” In short: CD Projekt isn’t done with The Witcher and they’ve definitely got plans for future Witcher titles.
Keep in mind that this isn’t hard evidence that a new The Witcher game is in the works, but it is a strong indicator that CD Projekt Red still has stories to tell in that universe. Hopefully, this spells more for the franchise beyond expansion packs to the standalone version of Gwent. With the global success of the Netflix series leading to record game sales of The Witcher 3 nearly five years after its release, more mainline installments seems a near certainty.
When Will The Witcher 4 Be Released?
No beating around the bush, the simple answer is: nobody knows. CD Projekt Red has their hands tied on their next incredibly ambitious RPG title, Cyberpunk 2077, so we’re all stuck in the dark until its release. And with that game’s recent delay, we’ll all have to wait even longer for any announcements pertaining to a Witcher title.
The good news is that Adam Kiciński, CEO of CD Projekt Red, has all but confirmed that a new installment is definitely coming. According to him, “The Witcher is one of two franchises on which to build the future activities of the company,” likely referring to Cyberpunk 2077 as the other franchise.
What we do know is that CD Projekt Red has it in their plans to release yet another major RPG title in 2021. Only a year away, it’s clear that whatever game that turns out to be has been in development for quite a while. CD Projekt founder Martin Iwinski stamped out potential speculation of this unnamed 2021 title being the next Witcher title with a statement in 2017: “I can assure you we are not working on another Witcher.”
CD Projekt Red has also made it clear that their team already has a concept nailed down for the next Witcher title. After Cyberpunk 2077 releases, a small in-house team is scheduled to start work on the new Witcher while the rest of the studio focuses on updating and creating content for Cyberpunk 2077. It’s clear that the next Witcher game is still quite a few years from release.
It’s (Probably) Coming Out on PS5 & Xbox Series X
Real development on the new Witcher game won’t start in earnest until at least this September (when Cyberpunk 2077 is set to release). The current generation of gaming consoles is winding down and the industry is preparing to make the switch to the next-gen, meaning the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X. CD Projekt Red has made several statements over the past year expressing their interest in the new generation of consoles, so they’re clearly planning for the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Details on the new generation of consoles are sparse, but both Sony and Microsoft are still aiming for a Holiday 2020 release window. Expect massive upgrades; both the Xbox Series X and the Playstation 5 boast full support for raytracing as well as proprietary technologies that will improve loading times significantly. Early looks at both console specifications show that 4K will be the standard going forward with both consoles touting support for up to 8K resolution.
With raytracing and 4K gaming the new standard, it looks like those who enjoyed The Witcher 3 on PC will have to prepare for a significant hardware upgrade if they want to experience the next Witcher title at its best.
It Won’t Be Called “The Witcher 4”
Back in 2017, Iwinski said that The Witcher video games were “designed as a trilogy and a trilogy cannot have a fourth part.” There are some 40 different endings a player can get upon completing The Witcher 3, but there is zero doubt that CD Projekt Red has wrapped up the tale of Geralt of Rivia. After long life slaying beasts and specters, Geralt has hung up his blades for good. Fans might be disappointed to learn that we won’t be controlling Geralt in the next Witcher game, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be making an appearance or cameo.
This means someone else will be taking center stage for the new Witcher game. It’s an exciting prospect; the world of The Witcher is full of colorful characters that could helm their own mainline game. The Witcher’s lore spans several millennia of the game’s deep history, from the Conjunction of Spheres onward. It’s also important to remember that the Witcher series thus far has largely focused on the members of the Witcher School of the Wolf. There are seven other schools open for exploration with their own rich tales that we’d love to get the chance to dive into.
CD Projekt Red is wrapping up development on Cyberpunk 2077 so we aren’t likely to get much more news about the new Witcher title until at least September of this year. The company has at least confirmed that a new title is definitely coming and they’ve already mapped out a concept for it and it won’t be called The Witcher 4. Additionally, Geralt of Rivia won’t be starring in the new Witcher title and someone else will be taking on the mantle of The Witcher.
What are your expectations for the new Witcher game? Who do you think will be the new player character in the next installment?