Witcher 4 Dev CD Projekt Red Explains Why It's Using Unreal Engine 5

The Witcher 2 and 3 were developed using CDPR's own RedEngine, but that is changing with the next game.

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CD Projekt Red is using Epic's Unreal Engine 5 to power The Witcher 4, but the developer's partnership with Epic is actually a multi-year deal that sees the company collaborate closely with Epic on the tech. As part of Epic's State of Unreal event today, developers from CD Projekt Red discussed why they are ditching their internal engine, the RedEngine, for Unreal Engine 5 to make The Witcher 4.

CDPR CTO Pawel Zawodny said Unreal Engine 5's updates help with the kind of open-world game development that the Polish studio is known for, and this was a major selling point. "This opens a new chapter for us, where we really want to see how our experience building open-world games is combined with the engineering power of Epic," Zawodny said.

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Now Playing: CD Projekt Red Talks Using Unreal Engine 5 for the Witcher 4

Game director Jason Slama, meanwhile, said open-world game development comes with its own set of challenges compared to more linear games, and that Unreal Engine 5 will help CDPR with this.

"The possibilities of the things that can go wrong, or the scenarios that you have to consider, are exponentially higher than linear games," Slama said. "Players can go in whatever direction they want; they can handle content in any order that they want, theoretically. To really encapsulate that means you need a really stable environment where you can be able to make changes with a high level of confidence that it's not going to break in 1600 other places down the line."

Developers from CDPR also pointed out how iteration and prototyping is faster than ever thanks to Unreal Engine 5, and this gives developers time to test out new ideas with more confidence.

Despite this close collaboration, The Witcher 4--or whatever the game ends up being called--will not be exclusive to the Epic Games Store on PC. The game's director has promised there will be no employee crunch during the development of The Witcher 4. Meanwhile, it's been confirmed that the medallion in The Witcher 4's announcement teaser is a lynx.

Unreal Engine 5 was released publicly today, April 5, alongside a pair of free sample projects. More than 85 game studios have made the transition to Unreal Engine 5, including Crystal Dynamics with its new Tomb Raider. For more, check out all the Unreal Engine 5 games so far in the gallery below.

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