At this point, details are primarily focused on this deal with Epic, rather than what players might expect from a new Witcher. Calling this an “exciting moment,” CDPR explains this marks the “beginning of a multi-year strategic partnership with Epic Games,” adding that it “covers not only licensing, but technical development of Unreal Engine 5.” The reason for this, they say, is to help the next version of Epic’s ubiquitous engine to be tailored “for open-world experiences.”
It’s already been an extraordinary seven years since the release of the last full Witcher game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, despite the game’s regular updates and perennial appeal making it feel as though it’s hardly been away. Today’s announcement offers no hints as to when this new saga might start, explaining that there are “no further details regarding the game—such as a development time frame or release date.”
We knew CDPR were working on a new single-player game as long ago as 2020, but at that point it hadn’t been confirmed if it might be more Witcher, Cyberpunk, or even a whole new franchise. It’s safe to assume CEO Adam Kiciński was then talking about this new Witcher, since the developer has historically never split its large team between more than two mega-projects at a time.
What does this cat medallion mean for The Witcher 4?
The teaser image for the new Witcher game seemingly depicts a non-existent School, which opens a ton of doors for its ‘new saga.’
Indeed, looking at the ear positioning and the facial structure of the medallion, it looks very similar to a Lynx. However, there is no official School of the Lynx, but there is a lot of fan-made information out there. It seems plausible that this medallion is hinting at a school never seen before, and that has major implications for a new Witcher game’s character and setting.
Since it is not a School of the Wolf medallion and this is not a known-to-exist school, it seems pretty clear that there will be a new protagonist in this game. Many have wanted Ciri to return as a Witcher protagonist, but this seemingly suggests otherwise. The second thing this immediately impacts is the time/period setting. This new Witcher game is likely to return to the continent, but this school poses some big questions.
It’s possible that this School of the Lynx is canonized as some predecessor or successor to the School of the Cat, removing this new Witcher game from the current timeline by potentially hundreds of years. Another possibility is that it’s set in another universe, very similar to the current one. Many know Ciri was able to travel through different universes, with one fan theory saying Ciri has been to Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City. It seems unlikely that this would be the approach, instead using this “new” school to build new history and lore on top of already established bits in the main Witcher 3 trilogy.
Depending on when it is set, too, this could mean that there are new Witchers in the game. That opens a ton of doors, but few are as open as the main character. Having someone follow up Geralt will be incredibly hard. His character communicated a lot in a little and resonated with a ton of fans; replacing him, however necessary, means that there will be comparisons to him. CDPR has to avoid making what amounts to a Geralt clone but also strive to keep that Witcher persona intact.
Is that a Cat school medallion?
Sort of, but not really. The School of the Cat is one of seven witcher schools depicted in the books and games. As with witchers as a whole, the Cat school is essentially defunct and few of its witchers remain by the time the games come around. There aren’t many cat witchers wandering around the world of The Witcher, but we do know what their medallions look like.
Here’s a Cat medallion (left) compared against the new medallion (right) shown in today’s Witcher 4 teaser. Those are definitely different. The face on the new medallion looks a lot closer to a Lynx, a breed of feline that’s bigger than a house cat and has distinct pointy hair tufts at the tip of its ears (clearly visible in the snow medallion). The two are different enough that my gut says we’re looking at the medallion of a witcher school that doesn’t yet exist, except, it’s not that simple.
This isn’t the first time lynxes have come up in CDPR’s Witcher games. The Witcher 3 features a side quest in which players learn about the Cat school while hunting down armor pieces worn by its members. The game calls these armor pieces “Feline” gear. The other way to get the armor is to spawn them into the world using console commands on PC. The commands to spawn Feline gear refer to the armor as “Lynx school” gear.
So, will Witcher 4 star a new breed of witchers represented by the lynx, or is this simply a retcon/rebranding of the existing Cat school? The Witcher 3 item codes suggest CDPR referred to the Cat school as “lynx” at some point, and with Witcher 4 being the start of a “new saga” detached from Geralt, now would be the time to make larger changes.
Is Ciri part of the Cat school?
Very possibly. Players have been asking for a Ciri-led Witcher game since Witcher 3 released in 2015, and there’s good reason to think it’s possible.
For one, Ciri actually wears a Cat school medallion. It’s not really mentioned in Witcher 3, but you can spot it hanging off her waist in-game and during cutscenes. While playing as Ciri, the Wolf symbol next to Geralt’s health bar is replaced with a Cat symbol. The games don’t call attention to this detail, but in the books, Ciri takes the Cat medallion from a bounty hunter named Leo Bonhart, who himself looted it from a Cat school witcher he killed.
We’re still unsure about the whole cat vs. lynx thing, but if the Witcher 4 teaser is simply a rebranding of the Cat school, then we very well could be looking at Ciri’s medallion.
There are other things that make Ciri a good candidate for protagonist. In what many consider to be the best ending of Witcher 3’s main story, Ciri becomes a witcher and sets off on her own. A new game set after Geralt’s retirement would be a natural place to pick up a new game and consistent with what CDPR has said about the future of The Witcher games.
Who are the Cat school witchers?
Among the various witcher factions, the Cat school is something of a black sheep. They were a nomadic group that traveled and trained by caravan, picking up new members and trying out some seriously messed up mutation methods along the way. They are known for specializing in agility, precision, and speed.
The Cat school also seemed to have a habit of cruelty at its height. In the World of the Witcher compendium published in 2015, Geralt’s mentor Vesemir shares some particularly unkind words about his Cat colleagues.
“I have no idea whether they chose their candidates specifically from young outcasts with a penchant for aggression, or if some unforeseen cruelty was somehow unleashed during the trials, but the final effect was a cadre of psychopaths, madmen, and sadists. Needless to say, the ill fame of their deeds hangs like a dark cloud over our reputation to this day.”
These details could be relevant if CDPR plans to explore the Cat school further in Witcher 4. There’s still a better chance that the sequel takes place long after the Cat school is defunct, but a Cat-era prequel isn’t off the table either.