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The Real Reason The New Witcher Switched To Unreal 5

Epic Games' Unreal Engine 5 is nothing short of impressive. The next-generation game engine has already proven its capabilities in epic demos. But, not every developer has had access to the engine. That all changed during a recent presentation about Unreal Engine 5 hosted by Epic Games. Epic Games announced that it is officially making Unreal Engine 5 open to the public, giving access to any developers interested in using the engine. But that wasn't all the presentation had to offer.


Epic Games also hosted a few developers already using Unreal Engine 5 to discuss their work. Notably, CD Projekt RED was in attendance. CD Projekt RED used its time to shed some light on why the company decided to ditch its in-house REDengine in favor of Unreal Engine 5 when working on the next "Witcher" game. Surprisingly, one of the reasons CD Projekt RED made the switch to Unreal Engine 5 was less technical than expected.

Epic Games' "Witcher" reference

CD Projekt RED began its presentation by discussing the technical improvements of Unreal Engine 5. Specifically, CTO Pawel Zawodny credited Epic's "shift towards open world support, [as being what] brought Unreal Engine 5 to [CDPR's] attention." With the upcoming "Witcher" game being open-world, any features that would make creating an open-world easier are undoubtedly of interest to CD Projekt RED.


However, there was still another reason Unreal Engine 5 interested CD Projekt RED. Game director Jason Slama pointed to a previous medieval environment demo by Epic Games as something that caught his eye. Slama says, "At one point, there's a notice board that looks strangely similar to things we've done in the past that even has a sign that says 'monster slayer wanted.'" Of course, there are plenty of notice boards in "The Witcher 3," which Geralt can interact with to pick up various monster hunting quests.

Slama thought, "Are they trying to tell us, 'Come over to Unreal Engine, look how great your games could look on there?'" It's unclear if Epic Games specifically planned for that to happen. Maybe someone at Epic Games was just a big fan of the "Witcher" or its aesthetics. Perhaps the Unreal Engine 5 developers really were trying to entice CD Projekt RED. Unfortunately, this mystery will most likely never be solved.


Although all the discussions about the next "Witcher" game are exciting, don't expect a new "Witcher" game anytime soon. If CD Projekt RED keeps its promise to avoid crunch, it may be years before fans see what the next chapter in the "Witcher" saga offers.