Ciri and Geralt standing with backs to each other.
Image via CD Projekt RED

The Witcher studio interested in using AI, but not to ‘replace people’

Production on the next game should start this year.

You may need to prepare for the next The Witcher game to have some AI involvement as series publisher and developer CD Projekt has expressed an interest in the technology.

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The potential of using AI to assist with game development has become a popular yet controversial topic in the last year or so. While companies such as Square Enix are very interested in the capabilities, developers are far less enthused about the idea, with many concerned about the “ethical use” of it.

Speaking with Reuters on Jan. 22, Adam Badowski, who took over as joint CEO of CD Projekt at the beginning of the year, admitted the company has put together a dedicated team to look into how AI could be used for game production. Whether this will extend to other areas, such as AI art, writing, and voice acting, remains to be seen. But perhaps in an effort to minimize concerns about potential layoffs, Badowski added CD Projekt doesn’t think AI is an alternative to employing actual humans. “We think that AI is something that can help improve certain processes in game production, but not replace people,” he said.

We’ll have to wait and see if CD Projekt actually follows through with that. In the meantime, it’s probably safe to assume AI tech will at least be experimented with for Polaris, the codename for the next entry in The Witcher series (also dubbed The Witcher 4 by some). Concrete details about the game remain slim, but the goal is for production to properly start later this year, with Badowski hoping to have “around 400 people working on the project by the middle of the year.” Last we heard, about 330 developers, roughly half of Witcher series developer CD Projekt RED, are currently involved with Polaris.

For now, all that’s really known is Polaris marks the start of a new trilogy and is being made with Unreal Engine 5 rather than CD Projekt’s own REDengine. Other in-development projects within the company include a full remake of the very first Witcher game and a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077.


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Author
Michael Beckwith
Staff writer at Dot Esports covering all kinds of gaming news. A graduate in Computer Games Design and Creative Writing from Brunel University who's been writing about games since 2014. Nintendo fan and Sonic the Hedgehog apologist. Knows a worrying amount of Kingdom Hearts lore. Has previously written for Metro, TechRadar, and Game Rant.