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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Aaron Potter

Former Witcher 3 devs are right to go apocalyptic with new game – not cyberpunk or fantasy

A team made up of CD Projekt Red veterans have formed a new studio to work on games focussed on “emotion, story, and craftsmanship”.

While Cyberpunk 2077’s reputation might be forever tainted by its incredibly buggy launch in 2020, it’s not uncommon for players to cite another CD Projekt Red title, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, as one of their favourite games ever. Open-world games have arguably been trying to chase a similar dragon ever since, with even blockbuster AAA franchises like Assassin’s Creed taking heavy influence. Well, who better to follow up this calibre than former developers on The Witcher series itself? That’s exactly what’s been announced in the form of a new studio, Blank.

Headed up by CD Projekt Red veterans Mateusz Kanik, Jędrzej Mróz and Marcin Jefimow, Blank is a new Polish-based studio that has announced its ambition to bring “beautifully crafted games and unique experiences” to players. Co-founder and creative director Kanik hasn’t said whether the team’s first game will be set in an open world, but that Blank is committed to creating “highly polished games with a focus on emotion, story, and craftsmanship.”

It was revealed, however, that Blank’s debut title will be apocalyptic in theme. “A character-driven game set in an apocalypse, with a twist or two,” is how it was described in the press release that accompanied the studio’s announcement. No release date was given, but currently, the game is being worked on by a team of 10 members. Blank is looking to expand by a further 50 people in the near future.

Blank's first game is said to be character-driven and not confirmed to be open world. (Blank)

Kanik himself left CD Projekt Red last year after being at the company for 15 years, where he started as a game designer on the original The Witcher game and then lead game designer on its sequel. Kanik’s latest project was of course Cyberpunk 2077, until 2016 when he then became the design director of the overall studio. Blank is the second spin-off studio to come out of CD Projekt Red following the formation of Konrad Tomaszkiewicz’s Rebel Wolves last year.

Future perfect

It’s not surprising to see Mateusz Kanik and other members of the CD Projekt Red team want to break away and do their own thing. AAA games like Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3 are such big behemoths, I commend Blank for trying something new. It not only means that we get more creative talent becoming independent to try new things, but that we can see some of this expertise bleed out into other projects.

Though little was revealed about Blank’s first game, I’m excited that it is neither fantasy nor cyberpunk in theme. Its employees have already had their fill of building characters, stories and environments in this world, so I can’t wait to see what they do with the apocalyptic theme. Granted, this is about as tried and tested a game genre as it comes, but it being “character-driven” shows promise, I think, that this won’t be just a Fallout or Dying Light rip-off.

It likely won’t be for a fair few years that we see gameplay from Blank’s debut title. But with games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in its back catalogue, there’s every reason to pay attention when it eventually is revealed.

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