When CD Projekt RED released The Witcher in 2007, the company utilized a modified version of BioWare’s Aurora engine, which was initially developed for Neverwinter Nights back in 2002. While The Witcher‘s visuals were solid, they certainly didn’t show off the graphical power of the PC as a gaming machine.
For The Witcher 2, CD Projekt RED abandoned the Aurora engine and replaced it with its internally developed REDengine, resulting in one of the best looking games of this generation on both the PC and Xbox 360 platforms. Despite achieving high marks with this toolset, CD Projekt RED looks to continue to push the graphical envelope with the development of REDengine 3.
For the port of The Witcher 2 on the Xbox 360, CD Projekt RED optimized the original REDengine toolset and internally called this improved version REDengine 2. REDengine 3 appears as if it will offer much more than additional optimization as the studio aims at advanced development for the next generation of video game platforms. Able to handle non-linear, but story-driven RPG games, REDengine 3 looks to provide an open world experience while narrowing the visual divide between pre-rendered CGI and real time rendered graphics. The new tools are also intended to lessen the uncanny valley effect by implementing new face and body-animation systems that will more realistically show emotions, allowing for “movie-quality scenes.”
Adam Badowski, head of CD Projekt RED, explains what the company hopes to ultimately achieve with REDengine 3:
“If we look at RPGs nowadays we find two approaches, one which emphasizes the story but limits the game world, and one that builds a vast, open world but hampers and simplifies the story. With the REDengine 3 we combine the positive aspects of both approaches for the first time, creating an open environment with a complex, multi-thread story. Together with believable characters, a captivating tale and a world where players can roam freely without loading times, we will be able to move gaming to a new level with a realistic feel and full player immersion. When working on our previous titles, I didn’t dream that we would achieve something like this. Thanks to the support of all our fans, now we have the possibility to use REDengine 3 and create something many RPG fans dream of.”
Expect to see REDengine 3 in action in both of CD Projekt RED’s upcoming titles, The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. While CD Projekt RED is unlikely to generate real time rendered graphics near the quality of their recent CGI teaser for Cyberpunk 2077, the studio achieved a new level of visual presentation in The Witcher 2, proving CD Projekt RED has the ability to deliver. Despite the high level of detail offered in that game, it performed amazingly well on modestly powered PCs. Based upon the lofty goals of REDengine 3, however, gamers may need to invest some dollars in a quality PC graphics card to take full advantage of CD Projekt RED’s newest toolset.
Excited to see CD Projekt RED’s newest offerings? Let us know in the comments below.