Witcher, Cyberpunk Sequels to be Tested on All Platforms from Day 1, CDPR Optimizing UE5

Nathan Birch
The Witcher

At this point, it’s clear some things went pretty fundamentally wrong with the development of Cyberpunk 2077. Sure, the game was simply launched too early, but it seems like it was barely tested on certain platforms and some features were promised without the devs knowing if they could be feasibly implemented. The result was a game that will probably never live up to CD Projekt Red’s pre-launch boasts, no matter how many patches are released.

Well, CD Projekt Red recently announced an ambitious slate of projects, including a new The Witcher three-game saga, two more spinoff Witcher titles from other studios, a Cyberpunk 2077 sequel, and a whole new IP. It’s potentially exciting news, but given the messiness of Cyberpunk 2077’s development, many fans are understandably concerned. Thankfully, it seems CDPR realizes where they went wrong, as they’ve released a dev video in which they promise to follow “good engineering practices” going forward. Check it out for yourself, below.

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These good engineering practices include following the “always working game rule,” which means all future CDPR games’ core systems will be working right from the beginning so they can be continually iterated and improved upon. As part of this, CDPR will constantly be testing their new games on all target systems – no more just focusing on PC and crossing their fingers the console ports will magically work.

“One example of [good engineering practices] is the "always working game rule," which we follow. It enables us to iterate and address various project risks at an early stage of development. [...] Building complete gameplay features from the ground up by composing aspects such as control, animation, or UI, enables us to test them thoroughly and iterate upon them many times over.

A major risk encountered in the development process relates to stability and performance on all target platforms. The "always working game rule" also applies in this context. We test gameplay quality on every platform from the get-go, and do not focus only on the developers' PC build.”

CD Projekt Red also plans to found a “usability lab,” where new games will be continually tested with real players to make sure everything’s coming together well. A lot of these better practices are possible thanks to the switch to the better documented and supported Unreal Engine 5, but CDPR isn’t content to just sit back and use Epic’s off-the-shelf tools. While CDPR won’t be using their own engine anymore, they plan to optimize UE5 with new tools, which they hope will give them a competitive edge over others also using Epic’s tech.

“Just because we're using Unreal Engine doesn't mean we no longer invest in technologies. We need to create systems to power our games, which involves adaptation of the engine's components to better suit our creative [ambitions]. Based on our experience with large-scale, story-driven open-world RPGs [...] we are enriching UE5 with tools which enable creation of high-quality content. The goal here is to ensure that such tools fit in with the specific nature of our studio and the games we intend to develop.

A good example is [...] systems that enable development of narrative aspects, including quests. We have some great new ideas on how to improve [our tools] even further and then leverage them as our competitive advantage.”

Overall, it does sound like some positive steps are being made. Now the challenge may be taking on too much. According to CDPR, thanks to Unreal Engine 5 they’re now working on two concurrent projects, and that will probably expand in the future. Hopefully, the focus remains on quality.

What do you think? Is CD Projekt Red saying the right things? Will Unreal Engine 5 and their new engineering standards help them make better Witcher and Cyberpunk games?

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