Remakes are in fashion in the gaming industry. While many gamers have been quick to label remasters cash grabs, the remake trend appears more than a fad. Some publishers long refrained from jumping on the bandwagon, starting with CD Projekt Red. But the tide has turned as the Poland-based studio recently announced plans to rejuvenate the original Witcher in Unreal Engine 5.
Previously known as Canis Majoris, the project will be a remake “from the ground up.” CD Projekt Red has announced working side by side with Fool’s Theory, another Polish studio involved in supporting such triple-A titles as Baldur’s Gate 3. Fool’s Theory developers have also worked on both The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. As the trilogy’s original and established developer, though, CD Projekt Red is set on “providing full creative supervision.”
Details remain scarce at this stage. In a tweet published on the franchise’s official Twitter account, the company urged fans to be patient. “We want to do this right,” they stressed. Still, the project is bound to be as bold as ambitious. Head of studio Adam Badowski stated that remaking the game for the next generations to experience felt just as big as making it in the first place, “if not bigger.”
Released in 2007, The Witcher was the studio’s debut work. At the time, CD Projekt Red was essentially known for translation and localization projects. And translating Andrzej Sapkowski’s dense fantasy lore to the gaming medium came with challenges. What’s more, the studio used BioWare’s Aurora Engine to build the game. Created in 2002, the engine was already five-years-old when The Witcher hit the shelves.
Still, The Witcher rapidly became a gaming phenomenon, growing a cult following in Central and Eastern Europe. Penned by a Polish novelist and developed by a Polish studio, The Witcher understandably gained even more massive traction in its home country. Polish officials went as far as to offer a copy of The Witcher 2 to President Obama during his official visit to Poland in 2011.
With its rich graphics and immersive storytelling, this second installment garnered some more attention worldwide. But the series definitely took off with The Witcher 3. Earning universal acclaim upon its release, Wild Hunt is regarded to this day as one of the best RPGs of all time. As of April 2022, 40 million copies have been sold across the globe.
The release of a Netflix show further cemented The Witcher as a pop culture phenomenon. Starring Henry Cavill as the charismatic Geralt of Rivia, this fantasy drama remained the streaming giant’s most-watched original series launch until Bridgerton and Squid Game came knocking it off its throne.
Such a whopping success could not go without the usual wave of spin-offs. A prequel to the original show, the fantasy miniseries The Witcher: Blood Origin is coming to Netflix in December of this year. The Witcher also spawned several spin-off entries, such as Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, a collectible card game based on a Wild Hunt minigame. While The Witcher was no pioneer in that regard, playable minigames and card games have now become rife in many gaming franchises.
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Apart from card games, The Witcher franchise is also heading into new territories. CD Projekt Red disclosed the next installment in the series was in pre-production, spearheading the beginning of a brand-new saga. Two more games shall unfold, with plans for a trilogy to come out in a six-year span. Codenamed Serius, another multiplayer entry should explore The Witcher universe.
A much-anticipated Wild Hunt port has also been hinted at on Xbox Series X/S. Meanwhile, long-time fans may bide their time revisiting some of the best RPGs ever on PC or Xbox 360.