CD Projekt RED has officially confirmed that it’s working on the next mainline instalment in the Witcher series (which we’re going to refer to as The Witcher 4, for the sake of our convenience). Of course, the game only recently entered development and still has a long, long way to go before it’s even announced, much less released, but as is the case with every other series fan out there, we have a wishlist of things that we want from the game. Here, we’re going to go over a few of those things.
CREATE YOUR OWN WITCHER
After having played as a predefined character over the first three Witcher games, we feel like now is the perfect time for the series to open things up and afford players much greater freedom in who they want to play as. Let us create our own character, including everything from their appearance and their name to their stats and even their race. Striking the perfect balance between having a custom character and protagonist that has their own personality can be quite tricky, but as games like Mass Effect have shown us, it’s not impossible. Hopefully, The Witcher 4 will take that approach.
A MORE INTERACTIVE WORLD
The Witcher 3 blew us all away back in 2015 with its open world- how massive, beautiful, and expansive it was, and how every corner of it was hiding some excellent side activity or side quest for players to lose themselves in. In the time since then, however, game worlds with far greater interactivity have become much more common, and we’re hoping that The Witcher 4 will take a cues from some of those. An open world that perhaps feels a little less static and offers more dynamism and injects player agency and emergent mechanics into the moment-to-moment experience would be a huge step up.
MORE DYNAMIC TRAVERSAL
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with what we just talked about, because having much more dynamic traversal mechanics would go a long way towards making the world feel more alive and more interactive as well. In The Witcher 3, you could ride a horse, row a boat, or walk, and that was pretty much it. The Witcher 4 should ideally put a much greater emphasis on traversal and movement. Make the main character more mobile, perhaps with the help of tools that aid in traversal. Maybe make those tools or those movement options a baked-in part of the combat as well, to improve that aspect of the experience, too.
Speaking of which…
If there’s one criticism that’s often levied at The Witcher 3, it’s that its combat feels a little too simplistic and button mashy. Of course, there is the argument that on higher difficulties things are quite different and players are encouraged to engage with other combat-adjacent systems to a much greater degree, but either way, the fact remains that its combat could stand to improve on multiple fronts. And hopefully, with The Witcher 4, it will. There are multiple ways to do that, of course, so let’s look at a few of those now…
MORE ENEMY VARIETY
This is one of the most basic things The Witcher 4 can do to make its combat more interesting and varied. Pit the players against a wide variety of enemies throughout the experience that have wildly different strengths and weaknesses. Of course, on paper, this was what The Witcher 3 often did as well, but again, unless you were playing on harder difficulties, for the most part, you could pretty much button-mash your way through all encounters. Having enemies that demand players to adopt unique strategies is one of the best ways The Witcher 4 can go about making players pay attention and, in turn, be more engaged.
This would be another easy way to inject more variety and player choice where combat and even build variety are concerned. The Witcher has been a pretty focused experience up until this point, and where weapons are concerned, swords have pretty much been the be-all-and-end-all (with the exception of some light usage of crossbows). Having the option to be able to use and specialize in different kinds of weapons in The Witcher 4 would not only be a refreshing change of pace, it would also make combat that much more varied, and would also sit perfectly with the “create your own Witcher” thing we talked about earlier. Sledgehammers, axes, spears, greatswords, daggers- let us pick our own weapons.
MORE VARIETY IN MAGIC AND SIGNS
Finally, having a greater range of options available in the signs and magic at your disposal would also be a natural evolution for the series. Signs are a crucial component of The Witcher’s combat, so it’s more than a little likely that they’ll be coming back, but we’d like a greater range of options. For instance, rather than having a cemented, smaller number of magical abilities, maybe give players a larger pool of a greater number of options, and let us decide for ourselves which of them we want to use, specialize in, and power up.
We’ve touched on this a few times already in this feature, but why not hammer the point home? CD Projekt RED already showed a willingness to place a greater emphasis on role playing mechanics and deeper progression and build variety with what it did in Cyberpunk 2077. And not all of it was well executed, sure, but they definitely had the right idea. The Witcher 4 should emphasize player agency and choice. Have more expansive skill trees, have more options for specialization in everything from weapons to abilities, from gear to classes, and let the players decide for themselves what kind of a Witcher they want to be. The Witcher as a series has always been at the forefront of letting players make their own choices and carve out their own journey where the story is concerned- having that same level of agency on the gameplay front seems like the next natural step forward for the series.
AN APPEARANCE FROM GERALT
The Witcher has very firmly and very effectively brought Geralt’s story to a close, and CD Projekt RED has given the beloved Witcher a well-earned rest. Regardless of whether we’re playing as a custom Witcher in The Witcher 4 or another pre-defined character, it’s sort of a given that either way, we’ll be getting a new protagonist. And that feels right- but even so, we wouldn’t mind at least a brief appearance from the Butcher of Blaviken. Hell, we’d actually welcome it. Geralt of Rivia has been the heart and soul of this franchise for as long as it’s been around, so getting the chance to meet up with him one more time, however briefly, will be a big bonus for all fans of the series. Here’s hoping it happens.
A LESS BUGGY LAUNCH
Cyberpunk 2077 will forever live on in memory as one of the buggiest launches for a AAA game, but CD Projekt RED has a history of buggy launches. Even though The Witcher 3 wasn’t even close to being in a similar state (thankfully enough), back in May 2015, it was still something of a mess. The massive open world RPG was riddled with crashes, bugs, quality-of-life issues, and what have you, and only with several subsequent sizeable patches was it brought up to an acceptable level of polish. Hopefully The Witcher 4 will launch in a significantly better state. CD Projekt RED has shifted to Unreal Engine 5 for development, so the hope is that a more versatile toolset and a more streamlined production pipeline will help the developer release a much more polished product right off the bat.