CD Projekt RED Explains Choice of Unreal Engine 5 for the Next Witcher

Director Jason Slama cites the need for a "really stable environment" to make changes without breaking "1,600 other places down the line."

Posted By | On 06th, Apr. 2022

the witcher a new saga

Following the latest State of Unreal presentation, Unreal Engine 5 is now available worldwide for all developers. Many like The Coalition have been showcasing its power, as seen with The Cavern cinematic tech test which boasted assets with tens of millions of polygons. In terms of actual games, CD Projekt RED will be using the engine for the next Witcher, announced last month as the first game in a “new saga for the franchise.”

In a new video on Twitter, game director Jason Slama talked about Unreal Engine 5’s strengths. It actually all began with a medieval environment demo last year with a dilapidated village that could pass for a location in Velen. However, it was the “Wanted Monster Hunter” sign that caught Slama’s attention. “I’m like, ‘Hmm, are they trying to tell us, come over to Unreal Engine, look how great your games can look on there? Was that whole demo made with that nefarious purpose?’ I don’t know, but it definitely caught my eye.”

The resources required to maintain REDengine also served as a motivator for shifting to Unreal Engine 5. With Epic Games handling the engine, CD Projekt RED could focus more on actual production. This helps when making an open-world game versus a linear game, especially since the possibilities of things going wrong is “exponentially higher.”

“Players can go in whatever direction they want. They can handle content in any order that they want, theoretically. To really encapsulate that means 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,” said Slama.

VFX and lighting art director Jakub Knapik further added that, “Unreal Engine is like a toolbox which has a lot of features, a lot of solutions, already there that allows teams to just try new stuff. The fact that Unreal is used by a lot of teams already in the world, a lot of perspectives are projected into the design of the tools, and that helps the tool to be way more agile.” This helps in prototyping when quickly making environments that also come out looking extremely realistic.

Of course, using Unreal Engine 5 doesn’t mean that the next Witcher will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store (or any single storefront for that matter). No further details on the sequel have been provided, such as when it will be released, but it should arrive on Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC down the line. Stay tuned for more details in the meantime.


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