The Witcher and Cyberpunk brands will likely receive network elements. It is possible that the multiplayer module is already being prepared for The Witcher 4, which bothers me a bit.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of those games that will be remembered for decades to come. Just like once Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas or Need for Speed Underground 2 made a huge sensation, now it makes no sense to call yourself a real player if you haven’t spent a few hours with Geralt of Rivia on the trail.
The Witcher series by CDPR is a phenomenon on a global scale and I am glad that it was supervised by Polish developers. Other home bands, seeing the success of their compatriots, certainly got a kind of “boost” allowing to think that they too will one day create something like the best-selling Witcher.
There is still no successor, but it is worth mentioning that in recent years we have received a really decent and at the same time demanding Ghostrunner, strategic Frostpunk or story-oriented Observer . In addition, the Poles have enriched the year that has already ended thanks to the atmospheric The Medium or the cooperative Outriders , so in the end you cannot complain, especially about the lack of diversity.
Reload and (not yet) fire
However, let’s leave the past behind and think about a full-fledged continuation of The Witcher 3. This one has not yet been officially announced, but in my opinion it is only a matter of time. According to the latest data provided by the head of CD Projekt, CD Projekt RED currently employs 660 developers, and only 1/3 of them are developing updates and the next-gen version of Cyberpunk 2077.
It can be assumed in advance that the rest of the creators, which should be around 440 (anticipating the questions, the next-gen version of The Witcher 3 is supervised by an external team from Saber Interactive, who also ported Geralt’s adventure to Nintendo Switch), led by scriptwriters, task designers and artists, after the premiere of the V adventure, they should tinker over the scenario for a new project, prepare mission diagrams, create character models or design locations that we will be able to visit in a few years.
These words may be confirmed by job advertisements on the CD Projekt RED website. Already in the first tab, we can see that Poles are looking for talented creators who would like to create heroes or an environment for an unannounced game. If that was not enough, the people of Warsaw have acquired two studios in recent months that will help in creating new productions.
In small steps
The Witcher 4 will sooner or later appear on our devices, but I was disturbed by the statement – from November this year – by Adam Kiciński, the head of CD Projekt, about network elements that are to be gradually implemented in the Wiedźmin and Cyberpunk brands:
“We plan to gradually add multiplayer functionality to both games in the future, including Cyberpunk. We are not revealing which franchise will get the first network elements, but the first attempt will be something we can learn from and then add more and more, so step by step we want to open the door to multiplayer and gradually add some network activities. “
The native developers are still creating single-player experiences, because the team cares primarily about “AAA RPG games with a single-player story”, and the online modules should be treated as an addition:
“Let’s emphasize it here, CD Projekt Red creates AAA RPGs with a single-player story – that doesn’t change. What has changed is our long-term approach to online. By that we mean ensuring that we are properly equipped to implement online elements in our games where they make sense. We don’t want to overdo it and lose our single-player DNA. We want to take thoughtful steps to build solid online opportunities. We are building an online technology that can be seamlessly integrated into the development of our future games. This technology will power the online components we choose to incorporate into our games. ”
Reading this statement, the situation with Cyberpunk 2077 Multiplayer comes to mind, which was supposed to be a separate, large and, above all, separate production, i.e. one that would not require the basic version of the game. Unfortunately, none of the recipients even had the opportunity to see what the title was really meant to be – or something that would resemble GTA Online in size, or an ordinary PvP shooter based on systems and mechanics known from the adventure of a mercenary named V. If someone from CDPR does not reveal the secret in the future, we will never know.
In the end, it turned out well, because throwing into the deep water could spill CD Projekt RED, as well as an independent team working on the CP2077 network, with even more washing buckets. It is better to start by taking small steps that will gradually bring you closer or further away from success – depending on how the ideas in this field are received by players.
As far as I can imagine the network elements in Cyberpunk 2077 (story missions performed in the co-op mode or regular, optional bloody skirmishes between players on the streets of Night City sound intriguing), with the next adventure in the fantasy world created by Andrzej Sapkowski, not too much.
The phrases The Witcher and Multiplayer do not go hand in hand and assuming that The Witcher 4 will be its most important formulas resembling the best-selling “three”, I cannot imagine where the network elements could be stuffed in this game. Because certainly not in cooperative missions or PvP battles. I have a feeling that if the first scenario were decided, the overall quality of the quests could suffer. After all, Poles would have to create not very complicated, and in addition short (so that people would not leave the session for various reasons) witcher contracts.
Simple PvP or PvE, on the other hand, would not be encouraging in my opinion. Network battles with other players against other recipients or AI-controlled monsters generated in individual arenas could quickly overeat customers, because in this case it would be appropriate to take care of systems (progression, character classes, equipment stores and more) known to MMORPG fans. And that would not go hand in hand with what the first network elements are supposed to be in future RED games.
Extensive PvP / PvE or missions performed together with random players or friends will probably not take place and if the Witcher 4 is to receive something related to online fun, these should be ordinary games added after the premiere, in no way influencing the storyline of the tasks. We connect with other players, we find ourselves in a separate arena and, fighting various monsters, we complete the goals set by the creators. A bit of a challenge, and for someone who cannot imagine life without killing monsters on the trail every day, an extra activity.
I can’t wait to learn more about how Poles will approach the network elements discussed above in individual projects. Ultimately, something interesting may come out of this, but as I mentioned in the title, I cannot imagine that the Witcher series will offer something interesting in terms of multiplayer. Such solutions should be packed into Cyberpunk, which is ideally suited to the game in cooperation with other players.