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Almost Half of CD Projekt Are Now Working on The Witcher 4

Almost Half of CD Projekt Are Now Working on The Witcher 4 - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 December 2023 / 3,221 Views

CD Projekt Red in the latest earnings report revealed almost half of the employees at the company are now working on The Witcher 4, which is codenamed Polaris.

The report reveals that nearly 330 developers, or just under half of all staff, are working on the next The Witcher game as of October 31, 2023. CD Projekt CEO Adam KiciƄski expects this number to grow to over 400 employees by the middle of 2024.

Jason Slama, who worked on The Witcher 3 and Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, is serving as the director on The Witcher 4. Slama previously stated the team working on The Witcher 4 will not deal with crunch or being overworked.

The last mainline game in The Witcher series, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in May 2015, for the Nintendo Switch in October 2019, and for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S in December 2022.

A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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shikamaru317 (on 29 November 2023)

I'm so ready for Witcher 4. I hope the wait isn't too awful long, they've now been working on Witcher 4 for 1.75 years and will soon have 400 developers on it. They built Witcher 3 in 4 years starting with 150 devs and working their way up to 250 devs later in development. I'm hoping for a Q4 2026 release for Witcher 4 at the latest, nearly 5 years after it began development in Q1 2022. They're using Unreal 5 instead of their own rather messy RED Engine that they used on Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk, so hopefully development will go smoother.

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TheLegendaryBigBoss shikamaru317 (on 30 November 2023)

Unreal 5 releases have not been great though (technically). Remnant 2 and Lords of the fallen are prime examples of this, they were horribly optimised!
It's a shame RED ENGINE is being abandoned. Cyberpunk runs flawlessly now and looks incredible

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shikamaru317 TheLegendaryBigBoss (on 30 November 2023)

I think alot of that is just growing pains, Unreal 5 takes some getting used to as they changed up alot compared to Unreal 4; as devs grow more familiar with it, we should see less and less games that have optimization issues on Unreal 5.

The reasons why CD Projekt switched to Unreal 5 are fourfold I think:

  • Using a licensed engine like Unreal 5 means that they no longer need to take the time to update their own RED Engine, which subsequently speeds up development (as usually like the first year of development for a studio that uses a proprietary engine for their game is taking the time to upgrade that engine)

  • RED Engine was rumored to be behind many of CD Projekt's development troubles with Cyberpunk 2077, things that they had promised initially when hyping up the game were discovered to not be easy to implement on RED Engine, and were subsequently cut to save on time (some have been added back in post-launch, others we will never see in Cyberpunk 2077, maybe in the sequel). Then there is the major optimization issues they had, with framerate and graphics being rather poor even on Series X and PS5 at launch. They also had some issues with RED Engine with Witcher 3; though they weren't as noticeable as in Cyberpunk, there were graphical downgrades compared to early development trailers, there were numerous graphical glitches such as Roach running on only his front legs when going downhill in a sprint.

  • Nearly all devs are familiar with Unreal Engine, so new hires can be put to work on Witcher 4 and Cyberpunk 2 and Witcher 1 remake (all 3 using Unreal 5) almost immediately upon being hired, whereas with RED Engine they'd have to spend weeks training new hires in how to use RED Engine effectively.

  • Unreal 5 has many features designed to speed up development of games. Unreal 5's Lumen lighting system is capable of automatically generating lighting for a given scene, meaning that a lighting artist no longer has to go in and light each scene individually (if the game is using pre-baked lighting instead of ray tracing). Unreal 5's Nanite texture system is capable of automatically translating any 3D model into Unreal 5, meaning that 3D Artists can create a high quality 3D model in ZBrush or CAD and then import it into Unreal 5, with the engine automatically optimizing Level of Detail distances for that model. Nanite also includes a free library of high definition photogrammetry scanned textures, meaning that texture artists can use some of these free textures in their game, speeding up development.

    I think this is why CD Projekt dropped RED engine for Unreal 5, and they are not alone, many developers have recently dropped their proprietary engines in favor of Unreal over the last few years. Eidos dropped their Dawn Engine used on Deus Ex an Guardians of the Galaxy in favor of Unreal 5 on their currently in development Deus Ex game. Tango Gameworks dropped their STEM Engine in favor of Unreal on both Ghostwire Tokyo and HiFi Rush. Crystal Dynamics is dropping their proprietary engine in favor of Unreal 5 starting on the next Tomb Raider. Bioware announced they are dropping Frostbite after Dragon Age 4 releases and that Mass Effect 5 will be running on Unreal 5. 343 is moving away from their proprietary Slipspace Engine to Unreal 5 starting on the next Halo game according to both job listings and leaks. GSC Gameworld dropped their X-Ray Engine in favor of Unreal 5 on Stalker 2.

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2zosteven (on 29 November 2023)

we are ready! lets get this right

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hellobion2 (on 30 November 2023)

hope the game does not have as many bugs as cyberpunk

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ClassicGamingWizzz (on 29 November 2023)

I just hope it improves combat from witcher 3.

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