The Witcher 4 - everything we know so far about Polaris

A lynx medallion partially covered in the snow, its red eyes glowing
(Image credit: CD Projekt RED)

Ever since The Witcher 4 Polaris was announced all the way back in 2022, fans have been on tenterhooks waiting - pleading - for more concrete information on the upcoming fantasy RPG.

Even though it's very likely not even going to be called The Witcher 4, that's what we're referring to the upcoming game and project for the time being. In fact, we already know that it's called something else, at least internally: developer CD Projekt Red announced The Witcher 4 and referred to the game with its codename of 'Polaris'.

The crumb of hope we now have with the game and hearing more about it is that with the release of Cyberpunk 2077 2.0, and the Phantom Liberty expansion, a huge swathe of developers at CDPR are now being moved over to The Witcher 4 / Polaris. Hopefully, this means that development itself will speed along, and news about the game will also arrive sooner rather than later. 

While we wait for further news on The Witcher 4, here's everything that's been revealed about the game so far. As more details are shared by the developer, you'll find this page updated - we're as excited as you are so can't wait to get more details.

The Witcher 4: cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next mainline game in The Witcher series 
  • When can I play it? TBC
  • What can I play it on? TBC
  • Who is making it? CD Projekt Red

The Witcher 4 story and setting

Gerald casts Igni on a large monster

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Spoilers for The Witcher game series

As stated above, there are few details available about The Witcher 4. The official blog post only confirms it's in development and that it's being built in Unreal Engine 5. But, over the years, CD Projekt Red has said plenty about what a future Witcher game would involve. For a start, it's not really The Witcher 4.

"The first three 'Witchers' were by definition a trilogy, so we simply could not name the next game 'The Witcher 4'," Kiciński said in an interview. "This does not mean, of course, that we will leave the world of The Witcher."

At the end of The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine, monster hunter Geralt was alive and well. Well, he was alive, at least. But his story arc had ended, the Wild Hunt was over. That doesn't mean he won't return in this new Witcher game, though he likely won't be the main character.

The developer said as much back in 2013: "We are not killing the world and walking away from it, but we will definitely want to make this game the finale in a big way," executive producer John Mamais told Polygon. "We might even include Geralt in later games potentially. We just need to talk about it and figure out what we're going to do next."

In 2015, speaking to IGN, Senior Writer Jakub Szamałek confirmed that the studio felt that The Witcher 3 was a natural endpoint for Geralt: "[he] has had such an amazing adventure, and his saga is already so long and complex that this seemed like a good point to think about an appropriate finale for the story.”

Perhaps we'll see the reins pass to Ciri - if it's decided that canonically she survived The Witcher 3. To avoid continuity issues, perhaps the team will set its story ahead of the events of Geralt's adventures. After all, Netflix is developing a series set long before the events of the books, Blood Origin is a prequel set 1,000 years before the events of The Witcher.

The confirmation that the medallion shown in the game's announcement picture is a lynx certainly suggests that the game will take things in a new direction. Potentially, that introduces an entirely new Witcher school. 

The author of the Witcher books, Andrzej Sapkowski, signed a new deal with the company to "further solidify their relationship". So. the studio is free to pull from any one of his short stories or novels. (If you want to get caught up, here's how to read The Witcher books in order.)

The Witcher 4 engine

This is a relatively massive factor that's confirmed for The Witcher 4, and one we're certainly excited about. Back in the Spring of last year, the development team confirmed that The Witcher 4 would be built on Unreal Engine 5 - instead of the studio's own engine, REDengine.

The latter was used on The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 so has its merits, but, in brief, moving to Unreal Engine 5 means the studio has more access to wider features, solutions, and tools that can make environments more detailed, more realistic, and have a great sense of overall visual fidelity than ever before.

As a note, this does mark the beginning of a partnership with Epic but does not mean the game will be an Epic Game Store exclusive.

Will Geralt be in The Witcher 4?

While The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and its two expansions rounded off Geralt's trilogy incredibly well, there has been a constant desire from fans to know whether Geralt will be in The Witcher 4.

The core of the answer to this question, however, is: we just don't know if Geralt will be in The Witcher 4. As a playable character, the main protagonist, or as an NPC extra, we just don't know. 

However, we can speculate, and our guess is that he's unlikely to play a major role. We know that CD Projekt Red always envisaged The Witcher 3 as a "finale" for the iconic monster slayer, and whichever ending you got in the third game, it really does set the scene for a now-aged Geralt being retired and out of the game. We can easily envisage Geralt appearing as a side character or Ciri's mentor (if the series goes in that direction) however, so hopefully it's not the last we see of him.

The Witcher 4 news

The Wild Hunt look into the camera as flames build below

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

The Witcher 4 will have a focus on freedom
Sebastien Kalemba, game director at CDPR, was speaking at the very end of 2023 about creating new takes on RPG gameplay and features for The Witcher 4. The intent is to push the boundaries of RPG games and there's a desire to "tell something more intense, with also more intense gameplay."

A huge chunk of CD Projekt Red's workforce is now working on The Witcher 4
At the end of November, CDPR revealed via an earnings report that the production team working on The Witcher 4 had grown to around 330 people actively working on the game. This number is set to grow to over 400 by mid-2024 as production gathers real steam. As first reported at the time of this news, 330 represents just under half of CDPR's development staff.

CDPR is already running internal demos of The Witcher 4 on consoles
Learning its lesson from Cyberpunk 2077, the devs at CDPR are already going to great lengths to test their next project - and do so from the early stages. As reported by our sister site GamesRadar+, in an interview with Inven Global, CD Projeckt Red engineering director Colin Walder has confirmed that, learning from Cyberpunk 2077's disastrous launch on consoles in 2020, "For our next project, Polaris, we're already running our demos and internal reviews on the console from the very beginning." This means that The Witcher 4 is already being tested on consoles to ensure that when the day comes, it'll have a better chance at sticking its landing.

A "big part" of CDPR's Cyberpunk 2077 team will move over to The Witcher 4
CEO of CD Projekt, Adam Kiciński, revealed in an earnings call in August 2023, that, after the launch of Cyberpunk 2077's Phantom Liberty expansion, a "big part" of that team will move across to The Witcher 4/Polaris. This indicates a big ramping up of development that could speed things along.

The Witcher 4 has its Game Director
Sebastian Kalemba, the former Lead Animator on The Witcher 3, has been announced as the Game Director for The Witcher 4. They announced this on Twitter, stating that they aim to 'raise the bar.'

Polaris, and a brand new trilogy
In early October 2022, CD Projekt RED announced a bunch of new titles via Twitter, including a new The Witcher trilogy. Polaris (what we've been calling The Witcher 4) will kick off the new saga, which will then play out over 6 years from the first release. This is obviously a huge undertaking, so we'll have to wait and see whether it pays off.

Reconfirming the start of a new saga
CD Projekt RED has re-confirmed that The Witcher 4 will launch a saga. While it didn't confirm how many games this will involve, CEO Adam Kiciński made these comments during an earnings call. "We said that there will be a new saga. Of course, now we are pre-producing the first game of this saga. But we have in mind more than one. The first saga was three games, so now we're thinking about more than one game. But we are in pre-production on the first game from the second Witcher saga."

The Witcher 4 teaser image sparks many theories
When The Witcher 4 was first announced it used the image we have as our header here - that of a partially snow-covered Witcher medallion - and it sparked much debate about which school it was, and whether that gave anything away. As reported by our brethren at GamesRadar+ at the time, the medallion was initially thought to be of the School of the Cat - which would imply a connection to Ciri as she came into possession of one after seizing it from Leo Bonhart. However, this was then debunked on Twitter when community director Marcin Momot reacted positively to a fan asking whether it was actually the medallion from the School of the Lynx.

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Rob Dwiar
Managing Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Rob is the Managing Editor of TechRadar Gaming, a video games journalist, critic, editor, and writer, and has years of experience gained from multiple publications. Prior to being TechRadar Gaming's Managing Editor, he was TRG's Deputy Editor, and a longstanding member of GamesRadar+, being the Commissioning Editor for Hardware there for years, while also squeezing in a short stint as Gaming Editor at WePC just before joining TechRadar Gaming. He is also a freelance writer on tech, gaming hardware, video games, gardens, and landscapes and is crowdfunding a book on video game landscapes that you can back and pre-order now too.

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