The Witcher 4 (currently named Project Polaris) has been confirmed (well, kind of). CD Projekt Red is working on another title in The Witcher universe. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information out there about The Witcher 4 just yet.
The Witcher 4, or Project Polaris, or whatever the next Witcher game will be called, will focus on a new Witcher school developed exclusively for this game called the Lynx School. It could still be about any number of things; there is plenty of lore that encapsulates the universe and the wonderfully dynamic characters. But while specifics about the game evade us, we have a few ideas about what comes next.
Before we dive in, this title still has time to launch, so keep in mind our frequently updated lists of best PC games and best PC Game Pass games as well as our best Xbox Series X games and best PS5 games. If you haven't purchased the latest-gen of consoles, we highly recommend checking out our Xbox Series X|PS5 reviews. And if you're more into the imaginative play, see our best virtual tabletop software and DND tips pages.
Now, here’s everything we know so far about The Witcher 4 as well as some things we'd love to see in the next entry to this beloved franchise.
The Witcher 4 release date
The Witcher is returning, and a new saga and game engine has been confirmed.
In a blog post, CDProjekt writes, "This is an exciting moment as we’re moving from REDengine to Unreal Engine 5, beginning 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. At this point, no further details regarding the game — such as a development time frame or release date — are available."
We don't know when The Witcher 4 will launch, but we can confirm that another game in The Witcher franchise is in the works thanks to a CD Projekt Red business strategy report. CD Projekt Red is kicking off a parallel AAA game development strategy starting in 2022.
We imagine the team is still working on getting Cyberpunk 2077 patched and upgraded for next-gen consoles. However, if we had to guess, the next Witcher game is likely going to launch for PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. Considering development starts 2022, we likely won’t see Witcher 4 until 2026. Why? Because previous Witcher titles have needed a 4-year development cycle.
Recently, CD Projekt Red released the next-gen version of Cyberpunk 2077, but delayed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt until 2022, so it's possibly that The Witcher 4's development might be delayed as well.
In October 2022, CD Projekt Red revealed its future product lineup, including announcements for a new Witcher trilogy, a Cyberpunk 2077 sequel, a new IP codenamed Hadar, and a Witcher spin-off. The first entry in the new Witcher trilogy is codenamed Project Polaris and is "built on the legacy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt." Of course, it'll be an open-world RPG and is currently in the pre-production stages with the CD Projekt Red team.
CD Projekt Red also claims that all three games are "aimed to be delivered within a 6-year period following the Polaris release." This is a pretty steep promise, especially since the original Witcher trilogy launched within an 8-year period after the original's launch, and games weren't as difficult to make as they are now.
The Witcher 4 story
What the story will be about depends on whether the next game is actually Witcher 4, a direct sequel to the 2015 masterpiece. The possible sequel to Witcher 3 could focus on several things depending on which ending is canonical. It could also take place before the games, which would cover the events of the books. Or it could also be a full-blown remake of The Witcher 1, which many feel is needed.
OK, let’s start with the possibility of a direct sequel in The Witcher 4. It could either follow a retired Geralt of Rivia in Kovir or beyond, or it could focus on Ciri becoming a Witcher. However, both rely on making choices in The Witcher 3 wholly canonical, like romancing Triss or leading Ciri down the path of a Witcher. As someone who is on board with those specific choices, I don’t mind either of them.
Despite that, CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kiciński said in an interview with Bankier that, "The first three 'Witchers' were by definition a trilogy, so we simply could not name the next game 'The Witcher 4.' This does not mean, of course, that we will leave the world of The Witcher." While it might not be called The Witcher 4, the next entry could still be a sequel to The Witcher 3, like how God of War (2018) is a sequel to its previous trilogy.
Then, there is the possibility of a Witcher prequel. Since the games take place after the books, fans who haven’t digested the source material might be confused about the references and details throughout the games; having a game that covers the entirety of the book series would be wonderfully compelling.
While this is my least favorite idea, a full remake of The Witcher is a possibility. The original Witcher game is outdated and could use a major graphics, gameplay and voice acting overhaul. I’m not usually a fan of retreading work, but the original Witcher game deserves to be experienced by fans of The Witcher 3.
However, given that a new saga has been announced, The Witcher 4, or whatever it will be called, is going to be about a completely different Witcher school, called the Lynx.
The Witcher 4 gameplay
Ugh, I love The Witcher but each game manages to deliver mediocre combat. I complained about this in my The Witcher 3 retrospective piece about the game’s fifth-year anniversary. I am hoping that CD Projekt Red will finally master The Witcher’s combat system -- I’m imagining something as fluid as a Dark Souls game, but with a little twist to give it that Witcher flair.
I’m also hoping that the skill trees, oils and potions feel more necessary and present this time around. I’ve always felt like they were an afterthought, not necessarily integral to the core gameplay. On the hardest difficulty, I could defeat most enemies without having to use my important items. And the enemies you fight never seem to play well with the combat mechanics. There were only a handful of fights in the game that worked within the combat system.
While I love The Witcher franchise, it has its problems. There’s barely any POC representation, and it could work on including more LGBTQ representation. I would love to see more colorful characters, both literally and figuratively, in the next Witcher title. Cyberpunk 2077 was a step forward (there are still some issues with that game), but there’s at least more representation than in The Witcher.
The Witcher 4 PC minimum and recommended requirements
Pffft, this is going to be rough. People could barely get Cyberpunk 2077 to run. I can’t imagine what kind of non-existent beast you’ll need to run The Witcher 4 in four or so years from now.
For reference, the minimum requirements for Cyberpunk 2077 are an Intel Core i5-3570K or AMD FX-8310 CPU, 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 or AMD Radeon RX 470 GPU. Meanwhile, the recommended specs include an Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD Ryzen 3 3200G CPU, 12GB of RAM and a GTX 1060 6GB / GTX 1660 Super or Radeon RX 590 GPU.
I have a feeling that Nvidia’s RTX 30-series are going to end up on these lists considering how far away The Witcher 4 is.
There’s a lot that we don’t know about The Witcher 4, but a new Witcher game is coming. I hope CD Projekt Red learns from its previous mistakes and provides a more inclusive look into The Witcher franchise, much like what the Netflix series did. There’s still a lot of time before we see anything attached to this new Witcher title, but hopefully, the studio cooks this one in the oven long enough.