Project Polaris, colloquially known as The Witcher 4, is now developer CD Projekt Red's primary focus since Phantom Liberty sent Cyberpunk 2077 out on a high note, and anticipation is high. The game's director, Sebastien Kalemba, has shed further light on the project without divulging specifics.
In an interview with Italian outlet Leganerd and translated by Wccftech, Kalema says the goal with the next Witcher is nothing less than to break the boundaries of the RPG genre all over again, something predecessor The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt did quite handily when it launched back in 2015. He says:
"We must follow a very specific path and innovate on that. At the same time, it's clear that we have to try to appease a new public. The Witcher 4 won't be out for some years, and it'll be a long time since the previous one, so we cannot just target the audience already fond of the saga. We must also build a new community."
Video games don't exist in a vacuum, and plenty of titles inspired by The Witcher 3 have come and gone in the intervening years. That means CDPR needs to get ahead of the next significant shift in open-world roleplaying games beyond the current meta, which is currently still digesting the Elden Ring-tinged hands-off approach to exploration we all know and love.
Kalemba says the next Witcher will be an "excellent entry point for many players" before throwing down the gauntlet: "Our priority is always trying to break boundaries. We want to go beyond them. We want to try and do something new compared to what's currently in roleplaying games, especially since we work within that genre and target RPG fans. I can't say too much, as you can guess, but the idea is to build something that surpasses The Witcher 3, telling a more intense story and crafting a more intense gameplay as well."
If Kalemba wants our take, a massive focus should be on character interactions and dialogue, which just underwent a genre-shaking seismic revolution thanks to Baldur's Gate 3. Even the vaunted Starfield was made to look decidedly last-gen compared to Larian's verbose leviathan, and in our estimation, that's a bar CDPR needs to clear at a minimum.