It’s been quite a long time coming, with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt having been released seven years ago by this June, but CD Projekt Red have finally — and formally — announced that they’re working on the next mainline installment in the series. Their initial trilogy was well-received all around, but the final entry exploded the developer’s mainstream popularity and the IP internationally. There’s an expectedly high level of excitement among the fan base, but also a degree of apprehension.
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2020’s Cyberpunk 2077 launched in a disastrous state and took the better part of a year to get into a stable build. That launch understandably hurt the publisher/developer’s reputation, but the power of The Witcher IP and the enthusiasm around it already have fans on Reddit discussing what they hope the next saga will bring. Wild Hunt set a high standard, but the technology on hand with the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, next-gen PC graphics cards, and the use of the Unreal Engine 5 should provide the tools necessary to make something special.
6 A New Cast Of Characters
Part of what made The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, in particular, one of the best modern fantasy RPGs was its character-driven storytelling. From heroes to villains, so many members of the cast were written in compelling detail with satisfying character arcs to match. The titular monster hunter Geralt of Rivia is understandably among them, but his story arc was brought to a well-earned close by the end of the Blood and Wine DLC expansion. This led some to believe that Ciri would be next to take up the role of the main witcher, but some point out how this might not work from a gameplay perspective.
Redditor HearTheEkko responds to someone speaking on the potential of Ciri, saying her powers would “make the game extremely easy. Ciri’s overpowered as hell. I’m praying that it’s brand new characters.” It’s a fair point, as she is an Arthurian-like child of prophecy with the immensely powerful blood of the ancient elves running through her veins. If the next game takes place after Wild Hunt, then whichever ending CD Projekt Red use as their “canon” ending would have justification for taking place in the future with a new slate of characters.
5 Create Your Own Witcher
Of course, should the next mainline entry in The Witcher saga bring in a fresh cast of characters, this could be a perfect excuse to have a character creator for players to make their own witchers. RPG character creators/customization are one of the best features in the genre, and the potential context and timing of this upcoming game’s story could be a great excuse to have this feature if the leading franchise character is off the table.
Redditor Caasi72 said “I really want it [to] allow the creation of your own witcher, allowing you to select your school from the beginning,” though, they also add that they “don’t think that’s what they’ll do.” A character creator doesn’t sound entirely out of the question, but selecting a witcher school does sound like a stretch. Especially so given that the snow-covered medallion in the promo was confirmed to be of the Lynx School, which is an original creation only canon to CD Projekt Red’s adaptation of author Andrej Sapkowski’s expansive world.
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4 Not A Direct Sequel To The Witcher 3
It partly goes into the point of not forcing Geralt and co.’s stories forward, but one advantage that The Witcher series has as a fantasy franchise is being able to go forward and backward on the timeline to tell a “new” story. In Sapkowski, CD Projekt Red, and the Netflix live-action series’ world, Geralt of Rivia is already trekking The Continent as an — essentially — endangered species. The schools of the witchers are largely in disarray, with few left to man the likes of Kaer Morhen. Likewise, the monsters they’re tasked with hunting are dwindling in numbers.
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That being said, this is what prompts Redditors like Ashviar to propose that the next game should be “Set it a few hundred years before the novels to get a big refresh of everything in the world.” Sprawling fantasy epics like this could make such a story work, with The Continent having centuries’ worth of lore. Ages ago, the universe was separated by spheres and the human and magical ones converged in a big bang-like event known as the Conjunction of the Spheres. This is what sparked humans to now have to deal with supernatural creatures, the need for witchers, and the persecution of the elves. This year’s Netflix The Witcher: Blood Origin spinoff is set to tackle a similar premise.
3 Another Long, Tumultuous Development Cycle
The aforementioned Cyberpunk 2077 launch was one of the video game industry’s greatest blunders, with confidence in CD Projekt Red hitting an all-time low. As exciting as a new game in The Witcher series is, fans and prospective players are naturally cynical about the company’s reliability. This is a far cry from CD Projekt Red’s reputation skyrocketing in 2015 as an industry darling thanks to the critical acclaim of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Redditor Bpbegha remarked in a sarcastic fashion “Boy, I sure hope they don’t announce this 10 years in advance only to overhype it and underdevelop it… again…” Even aside from Cyberpunk 2077 specifically, there have been several games in history to have suffered from being announced far too early and subsequently suffer — along with crunched developers — from gruelingly long and tumultuous production cycles. Final Fantasy XV from Square Enix is another example, as while it garnered a generally positive critical reception, it didn’t live up to the 10 years of development limbo it was subjected to.
2 A Prequel With Vesemir As The Protagonist
The wealth of creative opportunities available expands far beyond a blank-slate prequel, as CD Projekt Red could do so while keeping a beloved legacy character in the main cast. Redditor Thoughtful_Giraffe proposes a list of possibilities for this new game, with one of them being a “prequel game following Vesemir as [the] main character.” Vesemir is both Geralt’s wise mentor and surrogate father, though, fans haven’t had the chance to see the days of the former during his prime.
Given the extremely slow aging process that witchers have as mutants, Vesemir was already well into his second century walking The Continent by the time he tragically died in the Battle of Kaer Morhen. Netflix also provided a potential blueprint for such a story, with The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf animated prequel movie chronicling his swashbuckling younger days. The books, Netflix works, and games are all separate canons, so the developers wouldn’t need to worry about any contradictions.
1 The Second Conjunction Of The Spheres
Though Red Dead Redemption II, which is often regarded as one of the best story-driven games on PS4 and XBO, did manage to prolong the wild west setting by taking place before the original, The Witcher could still be an indirect sequel to Wild Hunt. Interestingly enough, one theory is that the next game could canonize certain pieces of fan fiction. In certain “fanon” stories, fans have made up a Second Conjunction of the Spheres that takes place a couple of hundred years after the events of the books.
This leads to a new witcher school being formed (Crane) along with new witcher weapons and monsters. Similarly, the School of the Lynx is also something only in fan fiction. Redditor theshadowiscast says that they could see the game “be based on the second Conjunction of the Spheres with a brand new school (or Crane school), new main characters, and new story (hopefully less save-the-world).” CD Projekt Red has the rare benefit of being able to play in this lore and make it their own, which, on paper, makes a (distant) sequel possible.
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About The Author
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Guillermo Kurten is a journalism major at the University of Houston. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, he now resides in Houston. He is a fan of pretty much anything involving nerd culture. Video games, comics, movies, TV, anime, manga, you name it. He also has experience writing about soccer, specifically, the German team Bayern Munich.
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