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The New Witcher Saga is a Double-Edged Sword

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  • Posted on 19th Nov, 2022 15:59 PM
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As CD Projekt Red begins a new saga in The Witcher universe, this appears to be both an exciting and experimental project for the developer.

p>When gaming fans think of iconic fantasy IPs, The Witcher franchise is likely to come up before long. With two titles that proved to be a successful introduction to Andrzej Sapkowski's world of monsters, witchers, and more, and a third game that managed to skyrocket the popularity of the series, a lot of gamers are looking to see what CD Projekt Red has planned next for The Witcher games. While the developer may be currently working on the release of Cyberpunk 2077's Phantom Liberty expansion, it seems CD Projekt Red has plenty of Witcher content lined up as well.

A few upcoming Witcher projects are currently in the works, including the next-gen versions of The Witcher 3, which are set to release by the end of 2022. Also, there's the Unreal Engine 5 remake of the first Witcher game, which will give fans a reason to try out Geralt's first video gaming adventure and hopefully give the dated title a much-needed freshening up. Thirdly, there is a game codenamed Polaris, which is currently in pre-production but will be the "beginning of a new Witcher saga," according to CD Projekt Red. While a completely new story for The Witcher is exciting, CD Projekt Red is going to have to be careful in how it handles this ambitious project going forward.

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Why a Fresh Start is a Good Thing for The Witcher

Diving into the unknown may at first appear a slightly scary thing for Witcher fans, but giving the franchise a new saga is perhaps one of the best directions it could go in order to preserve the quality of the original trilogy. While not a lot might be known about Polaris, by CD Projekt Red labeling it as the beginning of a new saga, it seems all but certain fans won't be getting to play as Geralt of Rivia this time around. From the promotional images for the new Witcher game as well, which show the medallion of the School of the Lynx, it could be the case that even Ciri won't appear in this new game.

Back before the next entry in the franchise was confirmed, many fans did assume that Geralt of Rivia's story met its end in The Witcher 3, but there was also the idea that Ciri would then take over for the eventual sequel. Now, it seems more that CD Projekt Red is aiming for a completely fresh start, and that could very well be a good thing for the franchise moving forward.

Without Geralt, Polaris can still exist within the wider world Sapkowski has created, but without the weight of the author's pre-existing characters to ground it. This could allow for a lot more creative freedom from CD Projekt Red in the stories it wants to tell within the universe of The Witcher.

Moreover, from the snowy backdrop of the teaser image revealed alongside Polaris, a new saga gives CD Projekt Red the chance to move away from the usual setting of the Northern Kingdoms. While The Witcher 3's DLC did take fans to a setting they'd not seen before in the land of Touissaint, to have a new environment on the scale of a game like The Witcher 3 would allow the franchise to divert from what gamers know and give them something fresh. Essentially, both because of the characters and places explored already in The Witcher trilogy, it does feel as though CD Projekt Red has done most of what it can with the story of Geralt of Rivia, and needs a new beginning to avoid things getting stale.

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A New Witcher Saga Will Still be a Risky Move

Even though it's logical that CD Projekt Red would look towards a new Witcher saga rather than coming up with a way for Geralt to pick up his swords again, this doesn't mean a fresh start will immediately be successful. By departing from the characters fans love from The Witcher franchise, CD Projekt Red allows space for new players to shine, but this also means leaving incredibly popular faces such as Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer behind, something that it might take fans a while to get used to.

In The Witcher's books, games, and TV show, Geralt of Rivia has been at the center of it all, and while there may be some nods to him in the new saga, it does appear as though the upcoming title won't feature the White Wolf. This departure is likely not going to be the only one, as if the School of the Lynx is the focus of the new Witcher game, CD Projekt Red will be making up a lot of the lore around that Witcher School and leaving the more established ones behind. There was a nod to the School of the Lynx in Sapkowski's books, but it is a largely lesser-known Witcher School and so there is a lot of space for creative freedom on CD Projekt Red's part.

However, while again this gives the developer freedom to go off in its own direction, when a series is based on a popular set of source material, rarely do fans enjoy it when that material is ignored. The Witcher's Netflix show proved to be controversial with its storytelling choices, for example, and this reportedly led to Henry Cavill's departure from the series. This means that CD Projekt Red will have to ensure that it respects Sapkowski's work in this new saga, even if it wishes to go off in its own direction.

From its previous work on The Witcher franchise, it appears fans might not have to be worried about CD Projekt Red's new Witcher saga in terms of it respecting the source material. A lot of fans of the books see the current games as a well-written form of fan-fiction, which essentially tells the story of Geralt and Ciri were it to have continued past the books. This means that even if a new Witcher saga might be a scary and unknown thing for some fans, CD Projekt Red has cultivated a large amount of trust from gamers over the years -- and for good reason.

A new The Witcher game is in development.

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