The Witcher Jumping to UE5 Because it Won’t “Break in 1,600 Places Down the Line” Says CDPR


Last month CD Projekt Red announced they’d be returning to The Witcher series with a new game, which wasn’t exactly a shock, although they did surprise many by revealing the game will be developed using Unreal Engine 5 rather than their own in-house REDengine. While the initial announcement acknowledged the difficulty of evolving REDengine as a reason for making the switch (something attested to by a former employee), there was also a rather large elephant in the room – Cyberpunk 2077. Would CDPR be ditching their own engine if Cyberpunk hadn’t been such a glitchy mess at launch?

Well, today during Epic Games’ State of Unreal Keynote livestream, CDPR game director Jason Slama admitted that stability and an engine that wouldn’t “break in 1,600 places down the line” was one of the big motivating factors in going with UE5…

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One of the things that is really important to keep in mind when talking about open-world games versus, let's say, more linear games, is the possibility of the things that can go wrong or the scenarios that you have to consider are exponentially higher than in linear games. Players can go in whatever direction that they want, they can handle content in any order that they want theoretically, and to really encapsulate that means that you need a really stable environment where you can be able to make changes with a high level of confidence that it's not going to break in 1,600 other places down the line.

Interestingly, Slama also admits that Epic’s “Medieval Village” Unreal demo that featured a very Witcher-esque job board was one of the things that got them thinking about Epic’s engine. Between this and Crystal Dynamics going with UE5 for Tomb Raider after the engine’s first demo featured a rather Lara-Croft-esque character, Epic sure is doing an excellent job of leaving bread crumbs for developers to follow.

Platforms or a release window have yet to be confirmed for CDPR’s new Witcher game.

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