CD Projekt RED has announced that The Witcher, the first game in its celebrated trilogy, is getting a full remake in Unreal Engine 5.
While CD Projekt RED is currently hard at work on The Witcher 4 and its Cyberpunk 2077 sequel, the publisher has signed up a team of ex-Witcher devs to rebuild the original game completely. Fool’s Theory is in the early stages of developing a ground-up remake of Geralt’s first adventure, and not only is the team using Unreal Engine 5, but it’s also sharing the same toolset that CD Projekt’s in-house team is using to develop the new Witcher trilogy.
However, CD Projekt RED has already teased this game under the cover of a codename: Canis Majoris. It was one of the five new Witcher games the publisher tweeted about at the start of October. All the publisher said at the time was that Canis Majoris is a standalone game developed by an external studio.
When it comes to remakes and remasters, which we see more frequently – such as the recent The Last of Us Part 1 and Resident Evil 2 – The Witcher stands out as a game that would sorely benefit from the treatment. While there is a spark of something special in the 2007 RPG, it is a clunky game. When I played it at the time, I loved the game's world and its commitment to conceits like having to use specific metal blades against different enemy types. But it took a very long time to get going, and the combat itself was nothing like what is on offer in the later games.
Having a set of experienced developers using the most up-to-date tech, and with the supervision of CD Projekt RED, could mean we see an excellent new RPG. It could mean The Witcher can finally stand alongside its far superior sequels, The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
In the press release announcing The Witcher Remake, CD Projekt studio head Adam Badowski says “It will take some time before we’re ready to share more about and from the game”. That fuzzy timeline is supported by the fact the team is only showing a logo of the game – which the PR also stresses is a “Work in progress” itself.
I hope the team isn’t too beholden to the original game and is free to adapt the story to better align it with the games that followed, and retroactively add systems developed for the later games to this original.
Also, to avoid cringe, please don’t remake the weird nude character card collection mechanic…
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Julian's been writing about video games for more than a decade. In that time, he's always been drawn to the strange intersections between gaming and the real world, like when he interviewed a NASA scientist who had become a Space Pope in EVE Online, or when he traveled to Ukraine to interview game developers involved in the 2014 revolution, or that time he tore his trousers while playing Just Dance with a developer.