None of The Witcher games have yet had multiplayer, but CD Projekt Red's futuristic RPG Cyberpunk 2077 will.
"It will be a story-based RPG experience with amazing single-player playthroughs, but we're going to add multiplayer features," CDPR managing director Adam Badowski told me.
Whether there will be any multiplayer in The Witcher 3, we don't yet know. "We're thinking about something" was all Adam Badowski said.
Rumours began about multiplayer when CDPR advertised for a Multiplayer Programmer last year. The studio then attempted to brush off the attention by saying it was exploring all possible angles for its games.
Badowski told me that Cyberpunk 2077, like The Witcher 3, will also be an open world game - albeit in a very different setting. "The first and most important environment for Cyberpunk is the city, obviously," he said. "But not only the city: you can expect some more environments in the Cyberpunk game. We want to start in the Night City, which is cool. And yes it will be an open world game as well."
Unlike The Witcher 3, however, Cyberpunk 2077 won't revolve around a pre-defined hero. This means there will be more freedom to the open world, to who you are and to what you can do. In The Witcher 3, for example, hero Geralt can't massacre civilians because that wouldn't adhere to The Witcher fiction. "We'll have different situation in Cyberpunk," said Badowski. "Cyberpunk will have different character classes."
Having different character classes and no pre-defined hero loosens constraints on multiplayer, too. When I asked Badowski if there would ever be a Witcher MMO, he dismissed the idea with a chuckle. Simply, it wouldn't make fiction-sense to have 10 white-haired Geralts running around.
Cyberpunk 2077 is still a very long way off, and the team that's building it is still being established. One of the reasons the game was announced so far in advance of its 2015 release date - and with an eye-catching CGI trailer - was to attract development talent to the team.
The renowned Witcher team at CD Projekt Red is separate, although I'm sure resources will be pooled if and when the need arises. There's also another team at CDPR of Red Engine developers, QA specialists and technical support. The staff count at the Polish studio numbers 150, and the bulk of that - and the studio's focus - is on The Witcher 3, due 2014.
Eventually the Cyberpunk 2077 team will be the same size as The Witcher 3 team, said Badowski, but he doesn't want CDPR to be bigger than 200 employees. Also, the Cyberpunk 2077 team is "smaller right now" because it needs to be. "We don't want to grow too big on the prototyping stage because it's much easier to manage," Badowski told me.
"It's the crucial moment for Cyberpunk," he explained, "because we have tonnes of ideas and we need to have the perfect direction and we have to be in-line with the global vision of the game.
"We need to have precise, good, well-organised strike teams for that. The guys are working together brainstorming a lot, so a smaller team is better. And then we will go out to full production speed."
"It's the crucial moment for Cyberpunk, because we have tonnes of ideas and we need to have the perfect direction..."Adam Badowski
Cyberpunk 2077 will be a PC and next-gen consoles game just like The Witcher 3. Those next-gen consoles haven't been specified in Cyberpunk's case, but we know for definite that The Witcher 3 will be on PS4, and we can expect both games to also be on the next Xbox.
It's a big step for the previously PC-led studio, both in terms of production capabilities and the audience it reaches out to. "I don't think that the gaming world is split between PC and consoles," Badowski shrugged. "I'm a console player and I was a PC player and ... I don't want to be treated as stupid or less smart than a PC player. It's not like that. We definitely want to bring mature and ambitious gaming experience to the wider audience."
CD Projekt Red has its hands full, then, but Badowski said the studio was also "working on some prototypes" presumably for other games. "But again, sorry for that Robert - it's too early [to tell you what they are]," he apologised.
"We have some prototypes and we'll see if we can deliver something cool to the players. But every studio should have good R&D, especially independent studios. It's good to know what you may do in the future."
But, he concluded, "We have two leading projects, and they are the two hearts of our company."