The Witcher 4 devs explain why theyre using Unreal Engine 5

CD Projekt Red says it chose Unreal Engine 5 for the development of The Witcher 4 after seeing a “shift towards open-world support” from creator Epic Games. 

Studio CTO Paweł Zawodny discussed the move to UE5, as well as CDPR’s new partnership with Epic, during today’s State of Unreal launch event (opens in new tab). “It was the shift towards open-world support that brought Unreal Engine 5 to our attention,” he said. 

Game director Jason Slama added that one particular UE5 demo raised eyebrows at CDPR. 

“There was one demo that happened last year, that was the medieval environment demo, where at one point there’s a notice board that looks strangely familiar to things we’ve done in the past. It even has a sign that says ‘monster slayer wanted,'” Slama said. “We’re like, 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 with that nefarious purpose? I don’t know, but it definitely caught my eye.” 

Jakub Knapik, CDPR art director of VGX and lighting, described the new engine as “a toolbox which has a lot of features, a lot of solutions already there that allow teams to just try new stuff.” 

“The fact that Unreal is used by a lot of teams already in the world, a lot of perspectives are projected into the design of the tools, and that helps a tool to be way more agile,” Knapik added, echoing initial comments from CDPR regarding the versatility of the engine, which were a focus of the announcement for The Witcher 4, which isn’t technically called The Witcher 4. “All in all it’s a really, really cool technology to prototype and make environments really quickly, really beautiful, and very realistic.” 

While the shift to Unreal Engine 5 will see CDPR leave its proprietary REDengine behind, it will still be used for the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 expansion. 

A new Tomb Raider game in the works in Unreal Engine 5 was also announced at today’s show, with Crystal Dynamics offering similar praise for the engine.

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