CD Projekt Red is working on a new franchise and new Witcher and Cyberpunk games

CD Projekt Red (CDPR) is working on more games set in The Witcher and Cyberpunk universes, as well as a brand new franchise that’s being created entirely in-house, the studio announced in a strategy update on Tuesday.

Let’s start first with what was announced for The Witcher. CDPR announced what it called a “new saga” in March, and we now know that the first game in what is planned to be a trilogy will be codenamed “Polaris.” The game is set to be developed using Unreal Engine 5. CDPR plans to deliver the games over a six-year period “starting from the release of Polaris,” Adam Kiciński, joint CEO of CDPR, said in a strategy update video.

That said, Polaris probably won’t be released anytime soon. Pre-production on Polaris just started this year, and based on a response from Kiciński to a question in an investor webcast, the game could be at least three years out. All three games in the saga are planned to be full-fledged, AAA RPGs, he said.

There are two other new Witcher games in the works, too. One, referred to as “Canis Majoris,” is a “full-fledged” Witcher title but separate from the new trilogy. It will be developed by an external studio. In Tuesday’s update, CDPR said it is open to working on more games with external partners.

The other new Witcher title, codenamed “Sirius,” will have multiplayer gameplay “on top of a single-player experience including a campaign with quests and a story,” CDPR said in a tweet. Project Sirius is in development by the Boston-based The Molasses Flood, which CDPR acquired in October 2021, and it could be a different type of game than The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. “Don’t expect another open-world, story-driven RPG like The Witcher 3,” Kiciński said on the investor call. “It’s a different project targeted for a broader audience.”

“To people who are interested in the franchise, interested in the IP, but are not necessarily into playing a hardcore roleplaying game like The Witcher series we’ve presented so far,” Michał Nowakowski, CDPR’s SVP of business development, said on the investor call. CDPR is also working on the next-gen release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which is set to launch before the end of this year.

The next Cyberpunk game is codenamed Orion, “which will take the Cyberpunk franchise further and continue harnessing the potential of this dark future universe,” CDPR tweeted. Orion will be developed by a new studio based in Boston alongside the company’s Vancouver team, which CDPR is collectively referring to as CD Projekt Red North America. The new Boston studio is separate from The Molasses Flood.

CDPR hasn’t actually started on Orion yet, Kiciński said on the webcast. Once it finishes work on the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 expansion, which is titled Phantom Liberty and set to release in 2023, CDPR will begin initial work on Orion.

CDPR’s new and third major franchise is codenamed Hadar, and it’s very early in development. “The project is in the earliest stages of the creative process, which means we are not developing any game yet, but working exclusively on the foundation for this new setting,” CDPR tweeted.

There’s no timeline for when we can expect to play a game from this franchise, so we might be waiting a while. But it seems like the first game will be another big RPG like The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077. “We do certain kinds of games,” Nowakowski said on the investor webcast. “You can imagine what kind of game to expect.”

One other thing to look forward to: it sounds as if CDPR is looking to incorporate multiplayer into more of its upcoming games in part because it’s using Unreal Engine 5. “UE5, our new engine, offers a solid tech framework allowing us to develop multiplayer for most of our future titles,” Nowakowski said in the update video.

Alongside the new games, CDPR also announced that co-founder and joint CEO Marcin Iwiński will be stepping down from the joint CEO position. He plans to serve as the chairman of the company’s supervisory board.