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Video GamesOct 5, 2022 10:36 am CT

CD Projekt Red announces new Witcher games, Cyberpunk 2077 sequel, and a mysterious new IP

Game studio CD Projekt Red — often abbreviated as CDPR by their many fans — made a low key possible announcement of a huge slate of upcoming video games from their popular Witcher and Cyberpunk IPs, plus a few completely new surprises. They’d mentioned earlier that they were going to have some big announcements for us in October, but the way they did it is a touch understated. Instead of a flashy announcement at a convention with several big-budget trailers and balloon drops and confetti, they just published a thread on Twitter that announces their long term goals, and goes into detail on several of their upcoming properties.

We already saw an announcement trailer for Cyberpunk 2077‘s Phantom Liberty, but the rest of these announcements are brand new. Some are an obvious next step given how popular these franchises are, but our interests will always be piqued by a new IP from an established studio. Here what’s to come from CDPR, and why we’re excited about it.

The Future of the Witcher series includes outside developers

The first thing to discuss is that there are not one, not two, but three Witcher games in development. One, codenamed Sirius, is in partnership with newly acquired Boston area developer The Molasses Flood — the indie developer behind The Flame in the Flood. The second, codenamed Polaris, is by CDPR themselves.  The details on the third, Canis Majoris, are even more sketchy, being developed by a studio “led by CDPR veterans.”

All we know right now about these three upcoming Witcher games is what we get in the tweets. I’m excited for Project Sirius, because it promises to be a heavy story-based game. Given what we’ve seen out of Molasses Flood in Drake Hollow and The Flame in the Flood — their two previous games — we’d guess we’ll see some survival roguelike elements in play. The Witcher universe certainly seems a prime setting for that sort of gameplay.

Two new sets of open world Witcher games at the same time?

In contrast, Project Polaris is the first of a new Witcher trilogy, made entirely in house by CDPR itself, and is intended to be an open world RPG like the original games.  I can’t really pretend this announcement is any big surprise. I think we all knew there would be another Witcher game after the success of the series so far, and the Netflix series having created even more interest in the games.

Project Canis Majoris is the wild card here. They’re working on their big trilogy of new Witcher open world RPGs and at the same time, have an outside development studio — and an unnamed one at that — consisting of ex-Witcher veterans working on a single player open world RPG. To me, that seems kind of like making your own competition. I’m not opposed to it, exactly — I love open world RPGs — but I can’t remember the last time a game studio said we’re making two sets of games in the same franchise that do a lot of things which sound similar on paper. I’m definitely hungry for some more details on this one.

A Cyberpunk 2077 sequel to follow the hit Netflix show

We all knew about Phantom Liberty already. The upcoming big expansion for Cyberpunk 2077 was announced with a big teaser trailer and everything. In their roadmap, CDPR has now revealed that there’s also Project Orion, the upcoming sequel to Cyberpunk 2077. I have to wonder if they rushed to announce it officially, considering how sparse the announcement is, to fend off the pressure to make another expansion to Cyberpunk 2077 after the amazing 1300% player count surge and sales jump following the Cyberpunk Edgerunners series on Netflix.

I do find myself wondering how much of the desire to do a sequel instead of more DLC/expansions for Cyberpunk 2077 is rooted in the switch from CDPR’s Red Engine — the one the game was made in — to Unreal 5. Let’s face it, the multi-year development of Cyberpunk 2077 definitely revealed some of the drawbacks of that system, so it’s possible CDPR simply doesn’t want to have to go back and make another expansion for that game using that engine instead of working with the newer one.

Project Hadar is a new IP, and otherwise all question marks for now

But that’s hardly all we’re going to see from CDPR in the future. We have the announcement of Project Hadar, which is a new IP and will be CDPR’s first entirely internally developed IP. Their announcement specifically calls out that it’s been “incubating” since late 2021. Hadar is still in the concept stages, and a small strike team is working on it. I’m thinking it will be quite a while before we hear more about Project Hadar and I’m very curious about what it is. It’s said to be distinct from both The Witcher series and Cyberpunk 2077. Following the code name theme, the star Hadar is in the constellation Centaurus, with the name meaning “settled” or “civilized” in Arabic, both of which are intriguing clues for a video game IP all on their own.

I think it’s smart for them to try and move into total control of an IP, since currently they’re primarily known for licensed IPs. Regardless, with this tweet thread CDPR have officially delivered the update to their projected schedule for the next few years they mentioned back in March. It’s amazing to see the diversity of the Witcher offerings, a new IP, and a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077 all in the works. I’m excited for the future, which for me is a rare thing.

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