CD Projekt Red discusses reason for Unreal Engine 5 shift

The makers of Cyberpunk 2077 explained their reason in the State of Unreal stream.

Image via CD Projekt

Cyberpunk 2077 creators CD Projekt Red unveiled last month that it’ll be using the new Unreal Engine 5 as its main platform to develop the upcoming Witcher games. And after the State of Unreal event yesterday, things got clearer on why the devs decided on this shift to Epic Games’ game creation platform.

Pawel Zawodny, CD Projekt Red’s chief technology officer, spoke about the company’s strategic partnership with Epic during the stream alongside game director Jason Slama and art director Jakub Knapnik.

“It was the shift towards open-world support that brought Unreal Engine 5 to our attention,” Zawodny said. “This opens a new chapter for us where we really want to see how our experience in building open-world games gets combined with all the engineering power of Epic.”

Slama also gave his take on the move to use Epic’s newest version of the game engine. Despite his attention being caught when he saw a game demo made from the Unreal Engine 5, Slama said there could still be “possibilities of the things that can go wrong,” especially when games need “a really stable environment” to be developed.

Knapnik, on the other hand, praised Unreal Engine 5 for being a “cool technology to prototype and make environments really quickly, really beautiful, and they’re realistic.” He also dubbed Epic’s latest offering as a “toolbox” where “a lot of features, a lot of solutions are already there that allow teams to just try new stuff.”

CD Projekt Red was known for using its own game-creating tool called the RED Engine for its previous titles. Aside from Cyberpunk, games such as The Witcher 2 and The Witcher 3 were created using the company’s in-house platform. But with Unreal Engine 5’s innate characteristics to bring games to a whole new level, such as giving one of the highest forms of 3D intricacy and large-scale world building fit for the open-world genre, CD Projekt Red may just benefit from everything the platform has to offer, especially for its upcoming Witcher game.

Epic also announced during the State of Unreal stream that Unreal Engine 5 is now available for download. It will include “groundbreaking features” such as Lumen, which Epic calls “a fully dynamic global illumination solution” to provide more realistic lighting, as well as Nanite, which can give “the ability to create games and experiences with massive amounts of geometric detail.”

Gameplay sample projects like the Lyra Starter Game and City Sample can also be downloaded for free. You can learn more about Unreal Engine 5 in an Epic blog post.