The recently announced remake of The Witcher is getting more than just a visual upgrade, CD Projekt Red confirmed in a new investor presentation. Instead, the first game in its critically-acclaimed adaptation of the fantasy series will get the full-blown open world treatment. That’s good news for everyone who’s been asking for exactly that ever since The Witcher 3 blew fans away with its free-roaming map back in 2015.
Teased back in October, project Canis Majoris was later revealed as a remake of CDPR’s 2007 debut using Unreal Engine 5. Unlike the level-based original, however, the company confirmed on Monday that the new version will be a “story-driven, single player open-world RPG” and a “modern reimagining.” Buzzwords aside, it seems to strongly imply that the ground-up remake will ditch many of the archaic systems that held the original back.
While there is plenty about The Witcher 1 to celebrate, including its characters and story, it remains an extremely acquired taste when it comes to actually playing. The original was built in BioWare’s Aurora Engine, an updated version of what was used to make the Baldur’s Gate games, and while it certainly makes the original Witcher a classic among diehard CRPG fans, it’s not nearly as immersive or cinematic as what players have come to expect from the later games.
It was also pretty linear, and didn’t have any of that sense of exploration that made players feel as if they were accidently happening upon a mysterious but meaty side quest, something that The Witcher 3 excelled at. This is why there have been no shortage of ambitious fan mods aimed at rebuilding the game inside The Witcher 3’s engine. With CDPR working alongside Epic Games to add deeper open world development functionality to UE5, the results will no doubt be even better for the remake.
Production on the remake is being handled by a new Polish studio called Fool’s Theory that contains some ex-CDPR devs who previously worked on the series. The good news is that it seemingly won’t distract too much from CDPR’s own work on a completely new open world Witcher game. The bad news is that the remake is only in early production and likely still many years away.
My own personal pipe dream is that The Witcher 2 will also get remastered in some way, and that the entire trilogy will be able to live on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S in some way, allowing players to carry their save date and narrative choices over between all three games. That seems extremely unlikely, and if it does happen it probably won’t be until the next the PS6 is out.