CD Projekt has explained why, for its next Witcher game, it is using Unreal Engine 5 instead of its own in-house engine.
We don’t know a lot about the next entry in The Witcher game series, but one detail CD Projekt did share was that it will be building it with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5.
This raised a couple of eyebrows since you would think CD Projekt would use its own REDengine for it, which was used as recently as Cyberpunk 2077.
CD Projekt has since explained its decision to go with Unreal Engine 5 and it’s ultimately because they feel it can better support an open world game like The Witcher.
‘It was the shift towards open world support that brought Unreal Engine 5 to our attention,’ says chief technology officer Paweł Zawodny during Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 presentation.
‘This opens a new chapter for us where we really want to see how our experience in building open world games gets combined with all the engineering power of Epic Games.’
Game director Jason Slama adds that a tech demo from last year got his attention for how similar it looked to The Witcher games, since it even featured a signboard with a wanted poster for a monster hunter. He wonders if it was a deliberate attempt to coax CD Projekt.
‘I’m like, hmm, are they trying to tell us to come over to Unreal Engine? ‘Look how great your games look on there.’ Was that whole demo made with that nefarious purpose?’ he jokes. ‘I don’t know but it definitely caught my eye.’
He goes on to explain that, when compared to linear games, the risk of things going wrong or not working is much higher when designing open world games. As such, he suggests Unreal Engine 5 offers a 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.’
Art director Jakub Knapik also talks of the engine having a lot of additional features and solutions, saying ‘it’s a really, really cool technology to prototype and make environments really quickly, really beautiful, and very realistic.’
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CD Projekt hasn’t confirmed which platforms the new Witcher will release for, but it can be assumed that it will at least come to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
The company’s close partnership with Epic Games initially suggested that, for PC players, it would be exclusive to the Epic Games Store. CD Projekt, in response to a fan, said that it has no plans to make the game exclusive to one storefront, although this doesn’t rule out the game being a timed exclusive.
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