The Witcher 4: CD Projekt explains why it switched to Unreal Engine 5

CD Projekt Red has explained why it decided to use Unreal Engine 5 for its next new Witcher saga game, rather than its in-house REDengine 4.

Speaking as part of the recent The State of Unreal stream, CDPR Technical Director Paweł Zawodny said: “It was the move to open world support that brought Unreal Engine 5 to our attention. “

“This opens up a new chapter for us where we really want to see how our experience in making open-world games combines with all of Epic’s engineering powerhouse,” he said. He went on to explain that CD Projekt Red and Epic will work together on engine features to “achieve something amazing in the end.”

CD Projekt Red Art Director Jakub Knapik noted that thanks to Epic’s collaboration with many other studios, there are already many desirable features in Unreal Engine 5. “The fact that Unreal is already used by many many teams around the world, a lot of perspectives are thrown into the design of the tools and that helps the tool to be much more agile.” As such, CDPR will benefit from the ideas of other Unreal users.

Game Director Jason Slama also noted that open-world games require a really solid engine due to the amount of variables and moving parts in such games, suggesting that Unreal Engine 5 can offer a level of very desirable stability.

“One of the things that’s really important to keep in mind when talking about open-world games versus, say, linear games, is the possibilities that things can go wrong or that the scenarios you have to consider are exponentially higher than linear games,” he said. “Players can go any direction they want, they can run content in any order they want. they want theoretically, and to really sum it up that means you need a really stable environment where you can make changes with a high level of confidence that it’s not going to crash in 1,600 other places down the line .”

For more on CDPR, find out how Slama was committed to avoiding issues while developing The Witcher 4, and that the new game will feature a new Witcher School.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Editor.

Jack L. Goldstein