CD Projekt RED says that the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 sequel will not enter pre-production phases of development until 2024.
CD Projekt has a lot on its plate right now. The company is currently working on five Witcher projects, including a new Witcher trilogy, and is also making Cyberpunk 2077's big new Phantom Liberty expansion. And once that's done, the teams will target Project Orion, a new sequel set in the Cyberpunk universe. It might be some time before Orion is ready, though.
In a recent investor's Q&A session, CD Projekt president Adam Kicinski confirms that Project Orion's development won't start in 2023. Instead, pre-production will not begin until 2024 at the earliest. After Phantom Liberty releases, teams will shift over to Orion and start the concepting phase which begins before pre-production. This will see various aspects of the game being planned and plotted out.
CD Projekt's latest studio in North America is handling development of Project Orion.
Here's what Kicinski said about the Cyberpunk 2077 sequel:
"After releasing Phantom Liberty we will start working on the next Cyberpunk game. Of course, this will initially involve conceptual work, which - from a formal perspective - does not count as preproduction.
"There are, in fact, two perspectives: our internal language used in development and the formal perspective linked to how we allocate costs. So - initial phases are, in formal terms, research phases and the corresponding costs are reported directly in P&L.
"Once the conceptual framework is ready, we begin development - that's the bookkeeping approach - and development beings with preproduction.
"So, formally speaking, pre-production likely won't start next year as this is the first phase of development. Still, we will start working on the game, conceptually, during the coming year - of course, with a smaller team than the one currently working on Phantom Liberty - since some of those developers will join Polaris and help with the development of that project."
CD Projekt hasn't discussed Orion very much, but we suspect the game will incorporate the cancelled Cyberpunk 2077 multiplayer mode in some degree. Like all other future projects, Orion will be built from the ground up in Unreal Engine 5, which has also been optimized for online multiplayer games.
"Orion is a codename for our next Cyberpunk game, which will take the Cyberpunk franchise further and continue harnessing the potential of this dark future universe," CD Projekt said during the project's announcement.