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Polaris: The Witcher 4 Whispers and the AI Adventure

Once upon a time, in the mystical realm of CD Projekt Red (CDPR), secrets were spilled, and whispers of a new Witcher trilogy, codenamed Polaris, echo...

M. Moon

Jan 22, 2024

Polaris: The Witcher 4 Whispers and the AI Adventure

Once upon a time, in the mystical realm of CD Projekt Red (CDPR), secrets were spilled, and whispers of a new Witcher trilogy, codenamed Polaris, echoed through the gaming world. The studio's CEO at the time, Adam Kiciński, slipped and referred to Polaris as The Witcher 4 during an earnings call. Panic ensued, and CDPR swiftly entered damage control mode, denying the connection. But let's take a closer look at what Kiciński actually said: "We want to release three big Witcher games within six years, starting from the release of Polaris, which is Witcher 4."

The tale of Polaris began in October 2022, when CDPR first unveiled its enigmatic existence. Since then, the studio has tantalized us with mere hints, leaving eager fans to concoct their own theories based on a single teaser image. As the year 2024 dawned, CDPR broke its silence to inform Reuters that the production of Polaris is now in full swing.

Joint CEO Adam Badowski shared their ambitious plans, stating, "By the middle of the year, we aim to have around 400 individuals working on Polaris." That's a staggering number of developers, but it's worth noting that CDPR had approximately 300 people dedicated to the project in the previous year. Clearly, the wheels of progress had already been set in motion, and Polaris was well on its way.

With Badowski and Michal Nowakowski assuming the roles of joint CEOs in this new era, Badowski shed light on another highly anticipated endeavor: the sequel to Cyberpunk 2077, codenamed Orion. However, he clarified that Orion remains in the conceptual phase, leaving fans to ponder the possibilities. Multiplayer elements were hinted at, but details remained veiled in secrecy.

CD Projekt's current focus lies in expanding its North American studio, where Orion is being developed. This led Badowski to discuss the thorny topic of AI in game development. "We believe that AI can enhance certain processes in game production," Badowski remarked, "but it can never replace the brilliance of human creativity."

The year prior witnessed the redemption arc for Cyberpunk 2077, culminating in the remarkable Phantom Liberty expansion that revitalized the entire game. Reflecting on the reception, Badowski expressed confidence in CD Projekt's revamped processes, assuring us that they will avoid another tumultuous launch akin to Cyberpunk 2077.

Speaking frankly, I must admit that the debacle surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 was partly self-inflicted. The game's hype cycle stretched on for what felt like an eternity, and now we find ourselves being teased with tidbits about Polaris, a game that likely lies years away from our eager grasp. We yearn for The Witcher 4, as do many others, and CDPR is well aware of our fervor. While breadcrumbs are delightful, perhaps, when the time comes to speak of this game again, the inclusion of some succulent details would be most welcome—even if it means enduring years of silence thereafter.

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