CD Projekt went all out today by announcing several Witcher games that are undergoing the early stages of development. One saga, comprising a trilogy, will serve as the backbone of the gaming franchise in the form of AAA role-playing titles, while the rest will be outsourced to other veterans both inside and outside the studio to bring other facets of the Continent to life.
Codename Polaris is the trilogy that takes precedence, with the first installment — what fans are currently referring to as The Witcher 4 – already in the wings after CD Projekt signed a deal with Epic Games to transition from the RED Engine to Unreal 5.
But what does all of this mean for Netflix’s The Witcher, which in itself is a spiraling franchise that has already spawned several spinoff flicks and TV shows?
What do all these new games mean for the TV adaptation?
While The Witcher books by Andrzej Sapkowski were already a phenomenon in much of Europe and especially Slavic countries, it wasn’t until CD Projekt’s highly lauded trilogy, chiefly The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, that the franchise managed an unprescedented level of global recognition and acclaim.
In other words, it is basically thanks to the games that Netflix even conceived of adapting The Witcher books for the small screens. The result has also been a spectacularly popular television show that breaks viewing records around the world, but it goes without saying that the majority of the fandom and those who engage with the brand on a regular basis in the online circles came over from the games.
CD Projekt apparently intends to reignite that interest in the interactive form of Geralt’s lifestory. Perhaps their new saga even centers around some completely different ensemble. But whatever the outcome from a narrative perspective, it looks like the Polish company is here to dominate The Witcher world all over again.
As far as the show is concerned, Netflix shouldn’t feel threatened by CD Projekt at all. If anything, the return of new games, however far down the line they are, will also end up working in tandem with the television to expand the franchise’s reach to newer generation of audiences.
And speaking of the wait for The Witcher 4, I think it might be safe to presume that Henry Cavill’s run as the White Wolf will have ended long before CD Projekt is even ready to release the first gameplay showcase for their forthcoming game. Alright, maybe not as far down the road, but developing an AAA game in the scale that the company is no doubt aiming for due to the high bar set by The Witcher 3 will take at least five years.
Who knows what will have happened to The Witcher franchise in five years? What we do know is that CDPR and Netflix are currently working together to deliver a seamless experience, with the upcoming ninth-gen update for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt even including a small DLC that gives Henry Cavill’s Geralt a long overdue nod.