New Cyberpunk and Witcher games announced by CD Projekt

CD Projekt, the Polish publisher behind Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher video game series, announced a leadership change and a slew of new games on Tuesday, including a new Cyberpunk game, a new Witcher trilogy, and a new game based on the first Original CD Projekt based property.

Co-founder Marcin Iwiński also announced that he would step down from his role as co-CEO and submit his candidacy for the position of chairman of CD Projekt via twitter.

In a thread on Twitter, the company revealed three new projects set in The Witcher universe. Project Polaris, the beginning of a new trilogy for The Witcher franchise, is in pre-production at its development studio CD Projekt RED, with the ambitious goal of releasing the next two games in the trilogy within six years of Polaris’ release. Project Sirius will be an “innovative” multiplayer title and is in pre-production at another subsidiary, Molasses Flood, with support from CD Projekt RED. Project Canis Majoris will be a single-player open-world role-playing game contracted out to an unnamed third-party studio led by veteran developers of The Witcher franchise.

Project Orion is described as a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077 that will “show the full power and potential of the cyberpunk universe.” the company’s announcement. Development of Orion will be spearheaded by the company’s new North American studio, CD Projekt North America.

The company also plans to release an expansion for Cyberpunk 2077 called Phantom Liberty next year.

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The latest project announced, Hadar, is CD Projekt’s first original IP. Hadar had been brainstorming for a number of years, but didn’t begin its concept phase until last year when he was assigned a small incubation team.

CD Projekt has detailed its strategy in a video on its YouTube channel.

In the video, Piotr Nielubowicz, CD Projekt’s chief financial officer, said the company had been developing two AAA projects in parallel, explaining that the ability to work on multiple titles at once is “critical to our future growth.” He also revealed that CD Projekt RED will use Epic Games’ Unreal engine in the future, replacing the studio’s in-house RED engine, which the studio has been using since 2011’s The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.

“A key strategic decision was building a long-term partnership with Epic Games,” said Nielubowicz. “Unreal Engine will be the technology on which we will build to realize our creative vision, CD Projekt RED’s unique style and exceptional quality of open-world storytelling.”

To bolster CD Projekt’s ambitions, the company touted the acquisitions of developers CD Projekt Vancouver (formerly known as Digital Scapes) and Boston-based Molasses Flood. The two studios combined to form the company’s newest regional office, CD Projekt North America. There were also two new appointments to CD Projekt’s Board of Directors: Chief Technology Officer and Head of Production Pawel Zawodny and Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Franchise Development Jeremiah Cohn.

CD Projekt President and Co-CEO Adam Kiciński said in the strategy video that the company employs more than 700 developers (and over 1,100 employees in total) at its studios.

The company laid out a roadmap for all of its announced products along with a burgeoning multimedia vision for its IPs.

CD Projekt will also invest more in expanding the reach of its existing franchises. The company refers to this strategy as the franchise flywheelCD Projekt Senior Vice President of Business Development Michał Nowakowski described in the video as “an ecosystem of comics, TV, film, animation, merchandising and spinoff games that we are building around our IPs.”

The success of the Netflix anime Cyberpunk: Edgerunners was a much-needed victory for the company after the disastrous launch of Cyberpunk 2077 in 2020. It was left in an unfinished state after years of delays, crises and allegations of workplace abuse released. The game was also criticized for its portrayal of Asian, transgender, and female characters. The bugs were so bad that both Sony and Microsoft announced they would refund copies of Cyberpunk 2077 purchased from their stores.

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CD Projekt was once hailed as one of the industry’s most popular, customer-centric publishers for its firm stance against DRM (digital rights management, which can be restrictive and unwieldy for consumers) in its games and its extensive history of releasing free downloadable content. For months after Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt was mocked with memes and became a cautionary tale for the rest of the industry.

The company’s goals, summarized Tuesday, include cultivating three flagship franchises, expanding into multiplayer titles (“Cyberpunk 2077” had a planned multiplayer mode that never made it to release), and more television and film adaptations.

“We see CD Projekt as a growing force shaped by our teams who are proud of the games they deliver and bold in their ambitions,” Kiciński said in the strategy update video. “We experiment, innovate and create, and we’re still reaching for the stars.