The Witcher gaming series is among the most acclaimed saga to date, with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt leading the way. We want more, but will we get it?
The game we all know and love: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It doesn’t matter if you chose to romance Yennefer as did Henry Cavill or Triss, if you patronised or guided Ciri, or preferred Djikstra over Jaskier, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in its full glory is among the best games ever made. I remember telling my friends that I was playing the game, and by this point I was a few years late to the party – they told me that I was in for a treat, only they used more expletives to convey their affection of the game. I soon saw what all the hype was about, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt surpassed Skyrim to become the game I loved most. In the past few weeks, the game's creator, CD Projekt Red, has been dashing a few subtle hints of The Witcher 4 into the media. So, what's the score?
Latest updates as of Dec 2021:
We're revisiting this article to supplement it with the latest news, one item of which is that The Molasses Flood, an indie gaming studio, was recruited by CDPR to assist in the creation of a triple-AAA title 'within an existing universe.' Is it me or... does that sound suspiciously like The Witcher 4? A recent announcement thrust a spanner in the works, though, CDPR stated they would look to 'gradually' integrate multiplayer functionalities into the solely single-player campagin experience thus far. I'm not exactly sure I like the sound of that, but we must keep our minds open for now.
General crux of the matter:
The truth of the matter is that, at least for today, most of CD Projekt Red’s resources are still being directed towards Cyberpunk 2077 patches, especially seeing as the game had a disastrous launch back in the January. Yet for those not interested in urban gang warfare and futuristic guns, our itch to see more of the Witcher gaming series is still burning, and we wonder when it will ever be soothed. More, seeing as the second season of the Netflix series is premiering in just a few weeks, our craving for more Witcher content has been galvanised further. Hearing Doug Cockle, the voice actor who plays Geralt of Rivia, in Horizon Zero Dawn made things a lot worse for me. It was nostalgia turned torture. So, what do we know about a Witcher 4 game?
Firstly, what is happening with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt re-release?
It’s been six years since the award-winning Witcher 3 was released, and any work on the series since has focused on releasing the game on the Nintendo Switch and bringing it up to speed with the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. The re-release, which looks to release on both consoles and coming potentially before Christmas, will feature all DLC packages, and will include extra items redolent of the Netflix Series, and even features HD Modded content built by Witcher super-fans Oh yes, and it will likely avail itself of ninth-generation hardware and play in 4K and 60Fps. I first played Wild Hunt in 1080p and 30fps – and I fell in love with it – playing it in 4K and 60FPs with ultra-fast load times and all content included sounds to me like a spiritual experience! For those with an itch to scratch, the generation nine complete edition of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will likely provide relief for a while.
Credit where credit is due
It’s understandable that the Wild Hunt wants to rest for a second; the game took almost four years to create, with plenty of bugs needed to be ameliorated, nearly half a million words of dialogue to track, and an even larger scale of map to depict. This game is huge, it has a narrative borne from masterful writing that culminates in over 40 different scenarios. Talk about non-linear! You just don’t rush to supersede games of this calibre, a game that takes several years to produce, and Geralt’s story deserves to sit on the pedestal and have a breather for a minute. Sure, I don’t think the situation will be as lengthy as Metroid Fusion which took 19 years to attain a direct sequel in Metroid Dread, but we can’t see CDPR rushing to stack the shelves with more Witcher content any time in 2022.
Potential ramifications for Witcher 4:
So, what does this mean for a potential Witcher 4 game? We know that a new Witcher-based title is coming, but it will almost certainly be set apart from the initial gaming trilogy. Three is three, you can’t have four games in a trilogy designed to conclude in the third act. Either way, a concept has so far been settled on in within the ranks of CD Projekt Red, and development is rumoured to have begun on said title. The studio still looks to release the ‘another AAA game’ by 2021, but unless a surprise entry is impending, the reveal date will likely be at some point at 2022 instead with a view to release perhaps in late 2024. Whilst these timings are merely conjecture, from the sounds of things, another game within the Witcher universe is within our grasp.
Is this the end of an era?
Here we touch on some paramount information; if we are expecting a Witcher 4 game that directly continues the tale of Geralt and Zireael, Marcin Iwinski, CDPR co-founder, tells us in other words that we may want to revise our expectations. A game set in the Witcher Universe is inevitable, and Geralt may well feature, but his tenure ostensibly ended in the Wild Hunt’s DLC packages, Blood and Wine and Heart of Stone. You don’t spend over a decade creating a realm of lore only to leave it to gather dust, but it might be time to pass the torch to another incipient legend; Geralt may be a mentor, or even closely related, to this Slavic hero, but the tale of the Witcher must at some point progress on to a younger life. Who knows, we could all be wrong on this one, but the chances are that a fourth triple-AAA Witcher title will lean towards a fresh-faced lead.
At the end of the day, some things are just not destined to protract, and Geralt has already aged into a white-haired beast, albeit a mature one- his time as a famed bounty hunter is unequivocally drawing to a close. More, if you can recall the canonic ending of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, you’ll know that to place Cirilla as the protagonist of the next game might be somewhat contradictory. Part of the Witcher game series’ charm is in upgrading a modest but ever-powerful Geralt, his magic and his weaponry; there is no enhancing Ciri lest she destroys the entire universe. Elder Blood can’t really be improved any further, it is the zenith of magical power and trumps any trifling weapon made of Silver –the explosion site on Skellige corroborates on this. Irrespective of what we think could happen, we know the enigmatic aura surrounding CDPR leads to magnificently complex publications like Wild Hunt – perhaps the same unpredictability will extend to what many of us would just love to see: a final tale as Geralt. Daniel Craig did it this year as James Bond, there is nothing to say Doug Cockle couldn’t reprise his role too.
Images sourced from CDPR.