CD Projekt Red are continuing to bulk up the team developing The Witcher 4 – officially codenamed Polaris – with two-thirds of the studio now working on the follow-up to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Meanwhile, the team working on Cyberpunk 2077 has shrunk to fewer than 20 people, less than half the number working on its upcoming sequel.

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Cover image for YouTube videoCd Projekt Red Are Making A New Witcher Trilogy, A Sequel To Cyberpunk 2077 & More
CD Projekt Red recently announced seven brand new games, including an upcoming Witcher trilogy and a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077.

The latest insight into the priority given to each of the Polish developers’ various projects came through their FY 2023 earnings call, during which co-CEO Michał Nowakowski revealed that more than 400 developers were now focused on project Polaris – aka The Witcher 4.

400 was the target team size outlined for mid-2024 by CD Project Red earlier this year, representing just shy of two-thirds of the company’s 600-strong development team and a leap from the around 330 devs said to be working on it last November. As a result, Polaris is planned to move from its current pre-production phase into full production during the second half of the year.

A number of those extra Witcher 4 developers have shifted over from Cyberpunk 2077, having released its Phantom Liberty expansion and massive 2.0 update last year. Just 17 people are now left on the 2077 team, which Nowakowski said could “shrink a bit” further as no further “big updates” are planned.

“Of course, we’re still looking at this game and things may change one day, but as for now, 17 is enough,” Nowakowski said, adding: “We are finally happy – since last year – with the state of the game.”

Panam sits at a bar in a Cyberpunk 2077 screenshot.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/CD Projekt RED

Cyberpunk 2077’s sequel, codenamed Orion, was said to be in the conceptual phase, with some of the top talent from the first game and Phantom Liberty overseeing the project – which was considering some kind of multiplayer element and a shift away from first-person, last we heard. While the Cyberpunk sequel was confirmed to have CD Projekt Red’s second-biggest development team working on it, the team comprises just 47 devs – almost a tenth of the next Witcher game.

After Polaris, the project second closest to completion is project Sirius, the Witcher spin-off game headed up by The Molasses Flood, leading a team of 37 devs.

Unsurprisingly, CD Projekt Red refused to be drawn on a possible release date for The Witcher 4 – with Nowakowski responding “revealing release dates is part of the marketing plan, and that’s not something we’re willing to do here” to a shareholder question – but insisted that Polaris would be ambitious and groundbreaking more than “The Witcher 3 in new clothing”.

“When it comes to the risks of innovative elements – making a new game is always a creative risk, especially since we’re trying to push new boundaries and explore new fields; that’s something we haven’t actually done before,” Nowakowski said.

“I guess what I’m saying is that you should not be expecting “The Witcher 3 in new clothing” of sorts; of course we’re building on the shoulders of what came before, and on what we’ve learned, but we will be adding new gameplay elements and new mechanics that you have not seen in our previous games. I’d say – doing such things is always a risk; it’s not just repeating what was done before.”

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