The Witcher 4: CD Projekt’s Biggest Project

The Witcher 4: CD Projekt’s Most Ambitious Project Yet

CD Projekt, the esteemed developer behind the critically acclaimed Witcher series, has officially declared that their next major project, Polaris—widely referred to as The Witcher 4—is now their largest undertaking to date. This declaration underscores both the sheer size of the development team and the significant progress that has already been made.

CD Projekt developers working on The Witcher 4 in their studio.
Image Credit: Insider Gaming

During a recent financial presentation, CD Projekt’s chief financial officer Piotr Nielubowicz provided insights into the scale of the project. He revealed that over 400 developers are currently working on the game. “We plan to move on to the production phase in the second half of the year,” Nielubowicz stated, indicating the critical stage that the game is approaching. This marks a significant milestone for the studio, which has seen its workforce dedicated to Polaris surpassing previous projects in both scope and ambition.

A visual breakdown shared during the presentation highlighted the substantial allocation of resources towards The Witcher 4. Although the increase in team size from previous reports isn’t drastic, it is evident that Polaris is the focal point of CD Projekt’s current efforts. This is consistent with a statement made earlier this year by joint CEO Adam Badowski, who had set a goal of having around 400 people working on the game by mid-2024. Achieving this target by February indicates that the project is slightly ahead of schedule, a promising sign for the development team and fans alike.

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Despite the rapid progress, CD Projekt is cautious about managing expectations. The studio has learned from past experiences, particularly the prolonged and tumultuous development cycle of Cyberpunk 2077, which saw an eight-year gap between its initial announcement and eventual release. This protracted period was marked by numerous delays and a challenging launch, resulting in substantial post-release work to address various issues. As a result, CD Projekt has adopted a more conservative approach to marketing its new titles.

In 2021, CD Projekt announced a strategic shift in their marketing approach, opting not to begin promoting new games until they are significantly closer to their release dates. This strategy aims to avoid the pitfalls encountered during the Cyberpunk 2077 development cycle. Joint chief operating officer Piotr Karwowski reiterated this strategy during a recent investors call, stating, “I would actually not look at Cyberpunk as the guidebook of how it’s going to be with The Witcher specifically.”

Karwowski elaborated on this approach, noting that while there might be teaser trailers or informative videos released ahead of the full marketing campaign, these would only occur when there is something substantial to share, such as the availability of preorders. “Any early promotional content will be more informative and PR-oriented, rather than part of a major marketing push,” he explained. This cautious approach reflects CD Projekt’s commitment to avoiding premature hype and ensuring that their games are polished and ready for public consumption before ramping up promotional efforts.

The decision to delay marketing also aligns with a broader industry trend where developers and publishers aim to mitigate the risks associated with long hype cycles. By focusing on delivering a complete and polished product before intensifying marketing efforts, CD Projekt hopes to foster a more favorable reception from both critics and players.

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Regarding the progress of The Witcher 4, it is clear that the game is advancing well, albeit still in the pre-production phase. The team’s current focus is on refining the core elements of the game, ensuring that the foundation is solid before moving into full-scale production. This meticulous approach is aimed at maintaining the high standards that fans have come to expect from the Witcher series.

CD Projekt’s experience with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has undoubtedly influenced their development practices. The Witcher 3, widely regarded as one of the best RPGs of all time, set a high bar for narrative depth, world-building, and gameplay mechanics. With Polaris, the studio aims to build on this legacy, leveraging lessons learned from previous projects to deliver an even more immersive and engaging experience.

However, the studio remains tight-lipped about specific details regarding the game’s content and features. While fans are eager to learn more about the next chapter in the Witcher saga, CD Projekt is maintaining a deliberate silence to avoid overpromising and underdelivering. This cautious communication strategy is intended to manage fan expectations and prevent the kind of backlash experienced during the launch of Cyberpunk 2077.

In light of this, CD Projekt has also been clear about not commenting on rumors and speculation. Recently, there have been whispers about a potential Witcher 4 teaser being released in June. However, CD Projekt has firmly declined to comment on these rumors. “We don’t comment on speculation, doesn’t matter whether it’s regarding the timing or who’s working or not working on any possible, potential teasers or trailers,” a spokesperson stated. This firm stance on rumor management is part of the studio’s broader effort to control the narrative around their projects and ensure that official information is accurate and reliable.

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As the development of The Witcher 4 progresses, fans can expect periodic updates through CD Projekt’s quarterly financial reports. These reports will likely provide the most reliable insights into the game’s development status, offering glimpses into the project’s trajectory without diving into speculative territory.

In conclusion, while The Witcher 4 is shaping up to be CD Projekt’s most ambitious project yet, the studio is approaching its development with a measured and methodical strategy. By focusing on internal milestones and maintaining a cautious approach to marketing, CD Projekt aims to deliver a game that meets the high expectations set by its predecessors. As fans eagerly await more news, the studio’s commitment to quality and transparency will be crucial in navigating the path to the game’s eventual release.

FAQs about The Witcher 4 Development

Q1: What is The Witcher 4 and why is it significant?

A: The Witcher 4, also known as Polaris, is the next major installment in the Witcher series by CD Projekt. It marks the beginning of a new Witcher trilogy and is the studio’s largest project to date, in terms of both team size and development progress.

Q2: How many people are currently working on The Witcher 4?

A: Over 400 developers are currently working on The Witcher 4. This makes it the biggest project in CD Projekt’s history in terms of team size.

Q3: What phase is The Witcher 4 currently in?

A: The Witcher 4 is currently in the pre-production phase. CD Projekt plans to move into the production phase in the second half of the year.

Q4: When can we expect to see trailers or marketing material for The Witcher 4?

A: CD Projekt has stated that it will not start marketing new games until they are much closer to launch. While there might be teaser or informative trailers earlier, the full marketing campaign will begin only when there is something substantial to show, like preorders

Q5: How does CD Projekt’s marketing strategy for The Witcher 4 differ from Cyberpunk 2077?

A: Learning from the prolonged development and marketing cycle of Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt has adopted a more conservative approach for The Witcher 4. They plan to delay marketing efforts until the game is closer to release to avoid premature hype and ensure a more polished final product.

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Q6: What progress has been made on The Witcher 4 so far?

A: The game is progressing well in the pre-production phase, with a significant portion of CD Projekt’s resources dedicated to it. The team surpassed their goal of having 400 people working on the project by mid-2024 ahead of schedule, achieving this number by February.

Q7: Are there any specific details about the game’s content and features?

A: CD Projekt has not released specific details about the game’s content and features yet. They are focusing on refining the core elements of the game during the pre-production phase and will share more information as they move closer to the production and release stages.

Q8: What can fans expect in terms of updates on The Witcher 4?

A: Fans can expect periodic updates through CD Projekt’s quarterly financial reports. These updates will provide reliable insights into the game’s development status without diving into speculative territory.

Q9: Has CD Projekt commented on rumors about a Witcher 4 teaser being released in June?

A: CD Projekt has declined to comment on rumors and speculation about a potential Witcher 4 teaser. They maintain a firm stance on managing expectations and controlling the narrative around their projects.

Q10: How is CD Projekt ensuring the quality of The Witcher 4?

A: CD Projekt is applying lessons learned from their previous projects, including The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, to ensure high standards of narrative depth, world-building, and gameplay mechanics. By adopting a measured and methodical development strategy, they aim to deliver a polished and engaging experience for players.

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