The Witcher 4 won't be "The Witcher 3 in new clothing," CDPR says "we will be adding new gameplay elements and new mechanics" to the RPG

The Witcher 4 Polaris
(Image credit: CD Projekt RED)

The Witcher 4, the best working name we have for the currently untitled project Polaris, will introduce "gameplay elements and new mechanics" not seen in the previous games.

CD Projekt Red discussed the direction of the still far-out RPG sequel, the start of a new RPG trilogy, in its most recent financial report. Asked in follow-up Q&A about the creative risks of The Witcher 4 – noted in a transcript you can read here – joint CEO Michał Nowakowski explained:

"Making a new game is always a creative risk, especially since we’re trying to push new boundaries and explore new fields; that’s something we haven’t actually done before. This is a pretty broad paint brush stroke, for sure, but I cannot go into too much detail without actually talking about the game per se. 

"I guess what I’m saying is that you should not be expecting 'The Witcher 3 in new clothing' of sorts; of course we’re building on the shoulders of what came before, and on what we’ve learned, but we will be adding new gameplay elements and new mechanics that you have not seen in our previous games. I’d say doing such things is always a risk; it’s not just repeating what was done before." 

Naturally, we haven't the foggiest idea what these new elements may be. Odds are good that the developers at CDPR are also still ironing out specifics as we speak. In its report, CDPR confirms that 403 developers are now actively working on The Witcher 4, currently in pre-production, making it the studio's most active project by some distance. 

For comparison, 47 developers are working on Cyberpunk 2077 sequel Project Orion, which is still in the "conceptual phase" of development. Rebooted Witcher spinoff project Sirius is in "early" pre-production with 37 developers on it at CDPR, and many more at main dev The Molasses Flood, a separate CDPR studio known for The Flame in the Flood and Drake Hollow. 

The Witcher 1 remake, primarily handled by external studio Fool's Theory with oversight from CDPR, has relatively few CDPR developers on it and is also in pre-production. "It’s worth noting that the title will be built from the ground up using Unreal Engine 5, and that it will use the toolset we have been developing for Polaris," CDPR says of The Witcher remake.  

The Witcher 4 is expected to enter full production in the second half of 2024

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Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.