They’re back… And they’re getting even more ambitious. A new roadmap made public by developer CD Projekt Red has revealed sequels galore and even expansion into the lucrative mobile gaming market.
However, when it comes to discussing the now (in)famous Polish dev co. it’s impossible not to trip over the hurdle that was the disastrous launch of Cyberpunk 2077.
Their hotly anticipated title on console and PC has cast a long shadow over the studio since the game’s rushed ‘just in time for Christmas’ release at the end of 2020. The game was so buggy upon launch that PlayStation pulled it from their digital store to take the strain off as complaints rocketed and customer services went into meltdown.
However, it seems that after regaining some of their composure via a series of far-reaching patches, CDPR are now ready to hold their heads high once more and regain the reputation they won through such smash hits as The Witcher.
What’s new from CDPR?
Top of the pile is a new expansion for Cyberpunk 2097 entitled Phantom Liberty set for 2023 being released on Xbox S and X, PS5 and PC. Note no PlayStation 4 this time around. Seems that CDPR are neatly dodging the main source of many of Cyberpunk’s woes as, perhaps after stretching the hardware a little too far, they’re simply not producing a PS4 version.
And it’s clear that after the success of Netflix’s Cyberpunk: Edgerunners TV show, based on their game, CDPR are indicating a further lean into television and film. Promises and intention are present… Though right now no names/brands/IP are attached.
And – of course – there’s new Witcher games. Three, in fact, all currently working under project names. The first, ‘Project Sirius’ is “An innovative take on The Witcher universe telling an unforgettable story for existing Witcher fans and new audiences” being developed by US-based CDPR-owned The Molasses Flood.
The second is ‘Project Polaris’, “A story-driven open-world RPG built on the legacy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” which is being developed by CDPR themselves being the start of whole new trilogy following on from Wild Hunt with all three games appearing over the next six years.
And the third is Project ‘Canis Majoris’, “A story-driven, single player open-world RPG
set within The Witcher universe” to be developed by an as-yet-to-be-appointed third party studio under the watchful eye of “ex-Witcher veterans”…
All this… and the return of Cyberpunk
Yes. It’s back. The presentation was also the place that CDPR chose to officially announce a sequel to Cyberpunk proper, which – after the nightmare time they had adapting their own REDEngine from The Witcher to cope with the 3D required for Cyberpunk – is now being built on Unreal Engine 5 instead. Phew.
Given the need to regain consumer goodwill, the choice to switch to a more modern and developer friendly engine, with UE5 and ‘quality’ being a recurring theme in their strategy update, it looks like regaining consumer trust for such a high-profile brand is top of their priorities. CDPR promise that their ‘Project Orion’ will be a “Cyberpunk 2077 sequel that will prove the full power and potential of the Cyberpunk universe.”
And there’s new IP too. CDPR also teased ‘Project Hadar’, a new standalone IP that it’s obviously intending to be the third tentpole in a triumvirate of hit games brands.
All this and mobile too
It’s worth mentioning that even during the Cyberpunk 2097 launch farrago, CDPR’s subsidiary mobile game studio Spokko released The Witcher: Monster Slayer, a Pokemon Go inspired AR game that used enemies and inspiration from their dark fantasy adaptation of the Polish novels. Although – also worth mentioning – this too experienced technical issues at launch…
The Witcher has already crossed over with other mobile games, as a collaboration with Lilith Games’ AFK Arena went live in September. So it’s not out of the question that further collaborations will be key, whilst any full games will remain in Spokko’s hands for the foreseeable future.
It all adds up to a formidable line up that shows a big studio making all the right moves to get even bigger.