The Witcher 4 Update Sheds Light on Release Date

A new update about The Witcher 4 from its developer and publisher, CD Projekt Red, has seemingly shed light on the game's release date, which may be further away than fans of the fantasy RPG series think. During a recent earnings meeting with investors, CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kicinski reaffirmed that the Polish studio expects the speed of development to increase with future installments thanks to the studio shifting to Unreal Engine 5, away from the REDengine, its internal engine that it used for previous games in the series. However, while Kicinski and co. expect Unreal Engine 5 to speed things up in the future, the switch has had no impact on the speed of The Witcher 4's development. 

"We are preparing things on the pipeline side and toolset sides," said Kicinski via Wccftech. "Some developers are still learning the [Unreal Engine 5] technology, and at the same time, there are teams working together with Epic on all aspects that are needed for our open-world, story-driven RPGs. Definitely, for [our] first project, Polaris, it will... maybe not slow down, but it won't accelerate the [development] processes. But for the next projects, we assume that it should smoothen production. That was one of the reasons behind [...] saying we want to release three big Witcher games within six years, starting with the release of Polaris, which is The Witcher 4."

So, what insight does this give into the game's potential release date? Well, we can get a good idea on when it will release based on the development of The Witcher 3. The expectation is that this timeline wouldn't be applicable to The Witcher 4 due to the engine change, which CD Projekt Red originally said would speed up development, but this obviously hasn't happened. So now how long The Witcher 3 took is once again relevant. 

The Witcher 3 began development in 2011 and released in 2015. Cyberpunk 2077, the studio's next game, began development in 2016 and released in 2020. Both games were made in roughly four years. The Witcher 4 began development in 2021, so if history continues to repeat, it will be out in 2025. That said, in game development delays are increasingly common, so a 2025 release could be the aim and expectation, but hitting and realizing this expectation is a whole different thing.