Now that Cyberpunk 2077 is in a good place following the release of its expansion Phantom Liberty, CD Projekt Red is beginning to shift gears and focus on other games. In the company’s latest earnings report, it was revealed that nearly half of CD Projekt Red is now working on the next Witcher game, codenamed Polaris.
As indicated in its report, just under 50% of the development staff — or about 330 developers, according to IGN — is working on the highly anticipated Witcher game as of October 31, 2023.
The report also shows that more than 25% of developers are “in transfer,” meaning they’ll be shifting from Phantom Liberty to work on Polaris as well as the Cyberpunk 2077 sequel, codenamed Orion, and other projects.CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kiciński confirmed that the company expects more than 400 developers to be working on the game by mid-2024.
The Witcher 4 was first announced by CD Projekt Red over a year ago in March 2022. While details remain scarce, CD Projekt did confirm that the game will be built on Unreal Engine 4, a departure from the studio’s own REDengine that was used for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as well as on Cyberpunk 2077.
In May 2022, CD Projekt confirmed that Polaris had entered pre-production. This would indicate that the game is still a bit of a way off. Despite the increase in the number of developers working on the game, it will still be a few years until The Witcher 4 releases. Back in October 2022, CD Projekt CEO Adam Kiciński acknowledged that Polaris was still three years away at least. A big reason for that is the studio having to develop new technology within Unreal Engine 5.
Chief commercial officer Michał Nowakowski estimated it could even take four or five years before the new Witcher game sees the light.
Even though anticipation for a new Witcher game is high, CD Projekt Red almost certainly wants to avoid another Cyberpunk 2077 instance — releasing a game too soon before it’s actually ready because of financial pressures.