The Witcher 3 will have an editor for creating mods. A logical decision, because before the release of her new games — years and years
CD PROJEKT has announced the appearance of a mod editor for The Witcher 3. The company stated that the toolkit will allow you to create both completely new content and upgrade existing ones. The news has serious business prerequisites.
Art timed to coincide with the announcement of the editor for The Witcher 3
After the release of Phantom Liberty, the Polish gaming giant found itself in a very difficult situation for any public company. CD PROJEKT is highly likely to spend the next three to four years without new game releases.
Now the company is engaged in the production of five major projects at once. However, it is impossible to talk about them with certainty. The point is not only that there is little information about the games, but also that the fate of many of them is in question.
CD PROJEKT's main bet is on Project Polaris. This working title is assigned to "The Witcher 4", which should open a new trilogy about the world of the Continent. Seven months ago, the game was still at the pre-production stage. Given the increased development cycle of AAA titles, it is unlikely that the game will be ready before 2027.
Slide with details on Project Polaris, presented in October 2022
Recall that about eight years have passed from the moment of the announcement to the release of Cyberpunk 2077. Studio management is confident that using Unreal Engine will speed up and simplify the development of new games. But it is unlikely that CD PROJEKT will be able to create a new project on a new toolkit faster than a plot DLC based on a familiar solution: Phantom Liberty has been in development for three years.
The second most important future project is a remake of the first part of The Witcher. Its working name is Project Canis Majoris. Under the leadership of the Polish company, the indie team Fool's Theory is engaged in it, whose main forces are now thrown at the release of their own role-playing game The Thaumaturge.
A remake of The Witcher was announced last October. At that time, the project was at an early stage of development. Given the team's preoccupation with another game (its release has just been postponed to February 2024), its outsourcing to other studios and the lack of news on Canis Majoris, most likely, the remake will be in production for a long time.
While Fool's Theory is engaged in The Thaumaturge
The fate of another project on the Witcher universe is also not obvious — a plot action with the multiplayer Project Sirius. Work on it is being carried out by the Boston studio The Molasses Flood with the support of 60 CD PROJEKT employees since 2021. This spring it became known that the development of the game started from scratch.
In addition, CD PROJEKT previously announced the beginning of work on the continuation of Cyberpunk 2077 — Project Orion, as well as that it is creating a game using its own new IP, the working name of the latter is Project Hadar:
- Project Orion, according to data from October 2023, is at the stage of conceptualization. They will be closely engaged in the new Boston studio CD PROJEKT in 2024, when its launch will take place. It can be assumed that pre-production will begin at the same time.
- As for Project Hadar, there is no information on it. This means that its release, as well as the release of Project Orion, is unlikely to take place before the very end of the twenties. That is, in five to seven years.
As a result, CD PROJEKT found itself in a situation in which it will not be able to increase revenue for the next at least two or three years. Accordingly, the value of its assets will fall. This will be facilitated by the generally unfavorable economic climate and the industrial crisis.
Companies with service products, whose sales spikes are associated with the release of regular supplements, whose production cycle takes months rather than years, find themselves in a more advantageous position here.
The problem with CD PROJEKT is that the company has stopped supporting its most successful service product — the card game Gwent, a direct competitor to Hearthstone — by refusing to release content and leaving the work on the balance to the users themselves.
You can still download and play Gwent online, but you shouldn't wait for new maps
Her attempt to enter the field of geolocation mobile games also ended in a fiasco. After two years of operating, she closed The Witcher: Monster Slayer, created in the spirit of the box office blockbuster Pokémon GO.
Against the background of the lack of new releases and service products, it is now in the interests of the company to keep interest in its already released titles for as long as possible, including through increasing the weight of their IP with the help of other media.
But, of course, it's not just about weight. It is obvious that the release of, for example, film adaptations brings substantial royalties, and also stimulates sales of previously released game products. For example, it is believed that the appearance of the anime series Edgerunners, based on Cyberpunk 2077, in September 2022 helped the game bring MAU to a million players in the same month (and this is two years after the release).
It is not surprising that CD PROJEKT has launched either a TV series or a movie (there are no details, it is stated that this is a project) with live actors in the Cyberpunk 2077 universe, and is also working with the Tokyo studio Trigger, which created Edgerunners, on new anime (at least, there are rumors).
In line with the strategy, primarily designed to support the existing product portfolio, is the launch of powerful tools for the Witcher 3. This decision looks logical, important, although somewhat belated, given that the game turned eight years old this year.
It is likely that CD PROJEKT here relies on the experience of two companies at once.
Firstly, the experience of Bethesda, whose convenient toolkit for Skyrim helps the game to remain relevant even ten years after release. It's not just about the ability to modify graphics, interfaces and quests. The Creation Kit is a sandbox that opens up the widest possibilities for changing the game.
The Creation Kit for Skyrim
Secondly, the experience of Epic Games, which is building a UGC platform within Fortnite. For Tim Sweeney's company, this is not only a tool to reduce the cost of producing new content and an attempt to turn the game into a social platform, but also, of course, a testing ground for game mechanics and solutions.
The latter approach may well be considered a CD PROJEKT working model (at least at the level of familiarization with user requests), given the number of role-playing projects on the "Witcher" in the work.
At the same time, the Polish company cannot fail to understand that the first thing players will do with the help of new tools is to transfer the first two parts of the franchise to the Witcher 3 engine. They definitely won't wait for a remake from Fool's Theory.
"The Witcher 3"
The appearance of powerful tools against the background of the company's transition to Unreal Engine can also be regarded as CD PROJEKT's desire to give its engine a new life. Such an action can hardly be called business-oriented. But, considering how Gwent support was curtailed (the project remained alive, the management of the balance in it was given into the hands of the community), the Polish company can also be suspected of sentimentality.
Of course, against this background, it would be more logical to transfer the entire REDengine under an open license, but it is possible that, on the one hand, the company leaves itself room for maneuver here if the Unreal Engine story does not go well, and on the other, it may not be possible for any legal reasons.
In any case, after the announcement of the editor for The Witcher 3, which is due to be released next year, I would like to hope for the launch of the editor for Cyberpunk 2077. The gaming community is likely to be much more interested in experimenting and creating content for it than in bringing Starfield to mind with the help of tools that have not yet been released (its launch is also scheduled for 2024).
By the way, even without an editor, The Witcher 3 is in the top of Nexus Mods in popularity and number of modifications. More than 6 thousand modifications have been released for the game, whose total downloads amounted to more than 130 million.
Of course, the game is far from the Skyrim level. By the original version of the fifth part of The Elder Scrolls, almost 70 thousand modifications were released, whose cumulative installations approached the value of two billion.
Top Nexus Mods
In any case, the interest from the community in the possibility of modifying the Witcher 3 is huge. And no less — to Cyberpunk 2077. The latter even bypasses The Witcher 3 in Nexus Mods.