Cyberpunk 2077 and the Witcher 3 cropped together.

How Cyberpunk 2077’s Launch Impacted the Witcher’s Next Game

Cyberpunk 2077‘s troubled launch changed the way developer CD Projekt Red approaches games, including The Witcher: Polaris.

In an interview with Inven Global, longtime CD Projekt Red engineering director Colin Walder discussed the game’s impact on the studio. According to Walder, Cyberpunk 2077’s development team suffered a major blow to morale following its disastrous launch. As a result, the team changed its way of thinking moving forward. Part of that came from acknowledging what they did wrong.

CD Projekt Red Learned From Cyberpunk 2077

Following Cyberpunk 2077’s rocky launch, the team implemented new checks from the start of development to make sure they’re on top of things from the start. This includes console functionality. “For our next project, Polaris, we’re already running our demos and internal reviews on the console from the very beginning,” Walder explained. “This is a step we only took later in Cyberpunk’s development.”

Now, Walder says the team wants to prove itself through actions, recognizing the importance of implementation over words. “You’ve got to demonstrate commitment,” he said. “For instance, when a deadline is looming, instead of reverting to crunch, we might say, ‘Let’s adjust the schedule,’ or, ‘Let’s approach this differently.’ Once this becomes a repeated behavior—once the team sees a genuine effort to prevent crunch—that’s when trust and morale start to rebuild. People need to see it to believe it.”

The Witcher 4, known under the codename The Witcher: Polaris, is CD Projekt Red’s primary focus now that work on Cyberpunk 2077 has decreased. The developer announced the game in 2022 alongside mysterious key art featuring a School of the Lynx medallion. Fans of the series recognize this as a new school to the franchise. Geralt, the previous games’ protagonist, followed the School of the Wolf. Previously, the only known mention of the School of the Lynx originated prominently in fan fiction circles.

The Witcher: Polaris does not yet have a release date or an official title.