The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which launched back in May of this year, is arguably one of the finest games to be released for the next generation consoles thus far (and of course it's on PC too). The CD Projekt Red open-world monster slaying game continued the story of The Witcher franchise hero Geralt of Riva directly after the events of the previous game, The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, as he sets out on a long quest to find his ward Cirilla "Ciri" Riannon, heir to the power of the Elder Blood and enemy of the deadly Wild Hunt.
Way back before The Witcher 3 had even released we knew that this would be our last outing with Geralt, according to CD Projekt Red writer Jakub Szamałek who described Wild Hunt as the conclusion to Geralt's story:
"I think good stories must have an ending. You cannot extend them indefinitely, and we felt that Geralt has had such an amazing adventure, and his saga is already so long and complex that this seemed like a good point to think about an appropriate finale for the story."
And what an ending it was. The Witcher 3 received pretty much widespread critical acclaim and deservedly so. But whilst Geralt got to ride again in two expansion packs to add onto the already massive Witcher 3 world - Hearts of Stone which was released last month and Blood and Wine due early 2016 - it looks like this has the potential to be the end of The Witcher series rather than just the end of his story.
So, We're Not Getting The Witcher 4?
Well, not anytime soon anyway. Whilst CD Projekt Red hasn't exactly ruled out producing another game in the series they're pretty busy at the moment with new project Cyberpunk 2077, a sci-fi RPG that promises to be even bigger than The Witcher 3. Just as the Witcher series was based upon on a series of fantasy novels of the same name by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, Cyberpunk 2077 will be based on the Cyberpunk tabletop role-playing games.
Back in April Szamałek said they "might return to it at some point", and the most recent news we've heard on the topic was from CD Projekt Red CEO Marcin Iwinski in September when, speaking to Game Informer, he clarified that the studio hasn't given much thought to where to take the series, or whether or not they're even going to:
"[The Witcher series] deserves some rest. The past 10 years the team has been working on swords and castles and medieval Slavic monsters. So I think it's time for some guns, androids, and some ammo. And a necropolis. So this is what we'll be working on."
Despite the fact that both Iwinski and Szamałek have spoken about the wide scope of storytelling available in the world of The Witcher they're still holding back on confirming anything regarding future games:
"We definitely are not annualising a franchise or anything--it's about the experience. The world of The Witcher is gigantic and it's great to tell these stories, but I don't know when this will happen."
But This Could Be A Good Thing
To be honest, whilst another Witcher game sometime in the future would be pretty great I do appreciate what CD Projekt Red are trying to do here. In the Witcher trilogy thus far they've presented a highly memorable and engaging series with a wealth of replay value, sometimes it's great to put a bow on a well crafted series and move onto the next thing instead of doing a Ubisoft and beating the franchise horse until it's well and truly dead and your audience alienated.
Tying up Geralt's story and moving on to another narrative within the vast world of the Witcher gives CD Projekt Red almost limitless possibilities to return without eating its own tail, as noted by Szamałek himself:
"The Witcher universe is a very big place with a lot of NPCs, a lot of characters, a lot of places we haven't shown yet. So, we might return to it at some point…but we think that this is a good place to let Geralt enjoy his retirement and try something new."
Given that the majority of the studio is now focused on the seriously impressive looking Cyberpunk 2077 it's going to be a long while until we return to the world of the Witcher if at all. But now at least it's probably a good time to let the franchise rest for a while. And at least we've got the final The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt expansion pack to look forward to next year.