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CD Projekt Red is aiming to start the production phase of the next game in The Witcher franchise, codenamed Polaris, this year. Adam Badowski, the company’s new joint CEO disclosed the information to Reuters. Badowski was elevated to the helm of the company along with Michal Nowakowski earlier this year.

The Witcher “Polaris” Likely To Go To Production This Year

 

Back in March 2022, CD Projekt Red revealed that its next Witcher game would be the start of “a new saga” for the franchise. In other words, it is expected to be the first of the next trilogy in The Witcher series. So far, The Witcher franchise has sold more than 75 million copies since it first launched in 2007.

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Polaris will expand The Witcher’s medieval fantasy universe. Although CD Projekt Red is yet to announce a date for the premiere, analysts believe that it may not come until 2026 or 2027. Unless there is a smaller project that the company has up its sleeves, the anticipated timeline for Polaris release will mean that CD Projekt Red will not have any new game release in a long while.

What we know so far about The Witcher “Polaris”

The Witcher “Polaris” Likely To Go To Production This Year

Based on what GameBaba Universe has gathered so far, Polaris will be built using Unreal Engine instead of the company’s native REDengine which powered the first trilogy in the franchise and also Cyberpunk 2077.

In May last year, CD Projekt Red confirmed that it was done with the research phase of Polaris and has progressed to the pre-production phase. The latest announcement confirms that the pre-production phase was a success.

By November, the company revealed that it had drafted nearly 330 developers into the Polaris project. That number surpassed the number of developers that worked on Cyberpunk, making it CD Projekt’s largest development team yet.

“We’d like to have around 400 people working on the project by the middle of the year,” said Badowski.

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In the Reuters report, Badowski also said that a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077 codenamed “Orion” was in the conceptual phase. The CEO expects around 80 people to be working on the project by the end of the year.

Cyberpunk 2077 launched to a buggy start in late 2020. However, the studio worked hard to transform the game with the release of Update 2.0. The improved game is now considered a masterpiece and the studio has been widely praised for it. According to CD Projekt Red in October last year, the Cyberpunk franchise has sold over 25 million copies.

Nowakowski also added that the studio was considering multiplayer elements for Cyberpunk but would not spill the details.

CD Projekt Red has formed an AI team

The Witcher “Polaris” Likely To Go To Production This Year

While gamers are still struggling to come to terms with the use of AI in games, for developers it appears to be a battle of survival and relevance. From Xbox to Square Enix, many game studios have already announced plans to start exploring the use of AI in games. CD Projekt Red is the latest to form a team that will research how AI can be used in game development.

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“We think that AI is something that can help improve certain processes in game production, but not replace people,” Nowakowski said.

Last year, the company confirmed that it had used an AI tool to recreate the voice of one of the game’s voice actors who passed on during production of the game’s expansion, Phantom Liberty. However, the studio also mentioned that they did so with the consent of the family members.

The use of AI in games has been a sensational topic. Those who oppose the idea mainly do so on the grounds that AI will replace humans. However, video game makers have always stressed that AI will help speed up the game development process and create more dynamic and responsive NPCs.


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