CD Projekt May Have Been Enticed To Unreal Engine 5 By A Witcher-Like Tech Demo

The era of Unreal Engine 5 is truly under way as Epic officially launched its seminal games development engine after a year of early access yesterday, alongside announcements that games such as the next instalment in the Tomb Raider series will be using the engine. Other notable studios to have signed on include CD Projekt Red, which is developing new open-world games in UE5 that includes a new entry in one of its biggest series, The Witcher.

It's a significant departure for the Polish developer since it was justly proud of the REDengine it had developed, which powered The Witcher 3 as well as Cyberpunk 2077 in an updated version of its engine. The latter title is one of the most expensive video games ever made, in fact, and although multiple factors contributed to its enormous budget, the costs involved in updating the studio's proprietary tech isn't small; so the move to UE5 is a major step. But it seems Epic may have been wooing the developers of The Witcher a while back.

In an interview published on the Unreal Engine Twitter account, CDPR's chief technical officer Pawel Zawodny explains how Epic's shift to emphasising open worlds brought the tech to their attention. But one particular demo seemed to have really snagged attentions, as their game director Jason Slama reveals in the video.

"So there was one demo that happened last year that was the medieval environment demo where at one point there's a noticeboard that looks strangely familiar to things we've done in the past that has even a sign that says, 'Monster Slayer Wanted''", Slama says. "And I'm like, hmm are they trying to tell us 'come over to Unreal Engine, look how great your games could look on there', was that whole demo made for that nefarious purpose? I don't know, but it definitely caught my eye".

In the video you can see a snippet of that tech demo, which shows an atmospheric medieval village, with fire, smoky light, and a dark forest, which looks heavily inspired by The Witcher let's be honest. Although we may never find out officially if Epic had these 'nefarious' designs, the fact it showed off this video interview on its account holds its own implications while the Unreal Engine dev must be pretty pleased it's bagged such a high profile studio and game series to showcase what UE5 can do.

Hopefully we won't have too many years to wait for the teased upcoming entry in The Witcher game series, otherwise that wind might start howling too much in the ears of Witcher fans. But you can be sure to read all our coverage and informed speculation about what that medallion suggests is in the works.

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