A new Witcher game is in development, but to be successful it needs to be different from the previous chapters. Here are five things CD Projekt Red should do with the next Witcher game.
After The Witcher 3, it’s surreal now to think that a sequel is on the way. It’s incredibly exciting, but after CyberPunk 2077’s choppy start and a long absence, many fans are likely to be nervous about what’s next for The Witcher.
The sands have shifted since Geralt’s last outing, and though Wild Hunt still celebrated today, open-world games have evolved.
To succeed, the next title will have to take some bold new steps, as simply making another Witcher 3 isn’t enough. There’s also new hardware to consider, and the fact that the latest game in the series has been positioned as the finale.
We’re likely seeing a fresh start rather than a sequel for the sake of a sequel, but if the franchise’s success is to continue, a few things need to happen.
1. A new playable character
The Witcher 3 felt like final hooray for the ever-popular Geralt of Rivia, as the character settled into his vineyard with Triss or Yennifer (or neither) while occasionally accepting a monster-hunting contract.
Regardless of the ending we saw, there was an air of finality to Geralt’s story. This made many assume there would never be another Witcher game. However, in 2015, CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kicinski said, “We’ve been working in this universe for over a dozen years now and I don’t think it’s going to be the end,” meaning there was always hope.
Now that it is, throwing Geralt back into the mix might feel like a betrayal on this ending, or for some, turning the series into a cash cow with an unnecessary sequel. Thankfully, the prospect of a new game has many fans excited, the franchise is bigger than ever, and the world is ready for it. However, if we’re going to respect what has come before, Geralt should probably skip that, at least for the most part.
While we fully expect Geralt to play a role, this time the title “Witcher” could refer to his protégé and adopted daughter Ciri. Ciri, a witch in her own right, was the secondary playable character in the previous title and the focus of Geralt’s quest. We could see how the new Witcher game reverses this dynamic and puts the player in control of Ciri on a mission to save or find Geralt.
Could Ciri be the playable character?
Ciri is a fan favorite and if she embarks on a quest to find her mentor, that could conveniently explain Geralt’s absence, allowing her to take center stage in the next game. By the end of The Witcher 3, she’s much more than just a witcher and is closer to being a superhero. As such, the character is expected to require significant nerfing to tone down its overwhelming nature.
In order to achieve this, a cataclysm could befall her – something that could also be related to Geralt’s hypothetical disappearance. Ciri would then have to rely on her skills and witcher training instead of her powers. It would be fun to regain their powers bit by bit and use them in battle. That could really set the new Witcher game apart from previous entries.
CD Projekt Red writer Jakub Szamalek has also expressed an interest in using Ciri as the main playable character. In an interview with VG247 in 2020, Szamalek expressed regret that Ciri didn’t have a bigger role in The Witcher 3, then said, “But hey, maybe we’ll come back to that in the future.”
Create your own witcher
It could also go the “create your own protagonist” route. Think Skyrim, Fallout or Elden Ring. If Ciri or Geralt are training a new generation of witchers, the protagonist could essentially be an avatar of the player.
This would open up the possibility of building your own witcher and focusing on the skills you want. This way you could create an all-rounder like Geralt, or a build that primarily fights with magic and potions.
Or why not be a ranged sorcerer, just reaching for his silver sword to deal the killing blow to a monster? More customization options would be a big boost in terms of replayability and appealing to more playstyles.
2. A convincing antagonist
The threat of the Wild Hunt lurked over The Witcher 3.
Not only was it a race against time to find Ciri from these creepy, ghostly monsters, but her nature and intentions were mysterious to the end. The twist in the plot that revealed who (or what) they really were somehow only made them creepier, scarier, and even somewhat likable – if not tragic.
The next game must feature an antagonist that suits them and creates a level of threat and intrigue. Nor can it be a two-dimensional villain for the sake of evil. Whoever we face off in the next Witcher game needs to tug at their hearts, and bringing them down needs to be something that makes fans feel both relieved and guilty. There must be implications for their defeat, but even more so for failure.
How about multiple antagonists or factions on the side? Joining one might make the other an enemy. It could simply be up to the player to decide who is the lesser evil – and our decision must always come with a price, as in previous installments.
A future antagonist could be a new invading army. One that threatens the uneasy peace that has now fallen across the land, or a dark supernatural force. There are still several living enemies in the games to choose from, or the series could look to the books for inspiration.
Characters like Gaunter O’Dimm could take revenge on Geralt and Ciri. He’s essentially the devil of the Witcher universe, so not only is he difficult to defeat, there could be unknown consequences. Must entities like Gaunter exist despite their unsavory plans?
The character is still there after all, and let’s not forget the threat he made to Geralt after his defeat. In an unknown language, Gaunter says to Geralt: “You are primitive. You think you’ve beaten me, but you’re wrong. I cannot be killed, I will come back.” This haunting line also implies that defeat by mortals is nothing more than a mild inconvenience to Gaunter.
3. Difficult moral choices
What makes this series so well-suited to the medium of gaming are the tough, morally gray choices the gamer often has to make. There is never an objectively “good” or “bad” choice, it’s usually based on what you think as a player, and other players may deeply disagree.
For example, in The Witcher 3 you must save a group of children from some cannibalistic witches. A powerful tree spirit offers you his help, but to do so you must free him from his prison. If you do, he will keep his word and help you rescue the captured children, but he will also then massacre a nearby town full of people in retaliation for his imprisonment.
Without the spirit’s help, the witches will kill the children, so you’re essentially choosing between them and the town. Most games would give you a way to save everyone, but not The Witcher. Whichever path you choose, you will always wonder if you did the right thing.
This system needs to come back and CD Projekt Red should double it. These agonizing choices must also, over time, affect how the world and its people perceive you. While this will inevitably result in some doors being closed in front of you, others will be opened elsewhere as a result, contributing to a more immersive world.
4. Learn from Breath of the Wild and Elden Ring
Games like Zelda, Breath of the Wild and Elden Ring have (largely) done away with traditional waypoints and the “go here, do this” approach to open-world game design. While The Witcher 3 was a far cry from the likes of Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed in terms of waypoint placement, the next entry could benefit from a more minimalist approach.
When exploring a new region of the world, the focus should be on exploration rather than linear missions. The Witcher 3 was one of the biggest and best open worlds ever built, but there was room for improvement when it came to discovery.
The developers should just drop the players into the world and let them go their own way. This could be achieved by having several towns near the starting point, each offering different low-level quests to get you started. Having multiple hub areas rather than just one in the early hours of the game means that two players’ experiences will not be the same.
5. Satisfying and varied combat
While there was nothing particularly wrong with The Witcher 3’s combat, it needs a shake-up if the next game is to stand out from its predecessor – with new mechanics, weapons, and playstyles.
Sorcerers typically fight with two swords: silver for monsters and iron for humans. This makes the game tactical and varied, but with the introduction of new witcher schools, like the school of the lynx, there is a unique opportunity to explore new ways of killing monsters. For example, what if the player used silver arrows, rapiers, or great broadswords to defeat kikimoras?
Geralt’s traditional fighting style needs to be readily available in The Witcher 4, but it’s time to find new ways to fight your way through the journey. The fight needs more weight to be satisfying.
So that’s all we know about The Witcher 4 so far. For more information on the biggest upcoming releases, check out our pages on some of the most anticipated games that have been announced:
The Elder Scrolls 6 | GTA 6 | Overwatch 2 | Assassin’s Creed Infinity | God of War: Ragnarok | wolverine | Spiderman 2 | exit | KOTR Remake | wonder woman
https://www.dexerto.com/gaming/witcher-4-wishlist-1792728/ 5 things CD Projekt Red should do with the next Witcher game