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A studio of ‘Witcher 3’ developers are making an online action game set in feudal Japan

A group of former CD Projekt Red developers is working on a new online action that will take players to feudal Japan. This week, Dark Passenger co-founders Jakub Ben and Marcin Michalski announced the formation of their studio and put out a call for talent in a series of tweets spotted by . Ben and Michalski were part of the art team that worked on The Witcher 3 and later went on to do contract work on Cyberpunk 2077.

Dark Passenger’s first game doesn’t have a name yet, but the studio’s website provides some details on the project. Ben and Michalski say they want to create an online multiplayer game with support for both competitive and cooperative play. They describe a title that sounds like it will borrow elements from games like Titanfall and Absolver. “Our locomotion system will allow players to perform incredible [feats] such as running on arrows that were fired by other players, fast climbing on vertical surfaces with the use of shuko claws or using [a] yari spear like a pole to jump over obstacles,” the studio said. “Engaging [in] close-ranged combat will demand as much dexterity as tactics and close cooperation with teammates.”

The news of the founding comes after former CDPR executive Konrad Tomaszkiewicz announced at the start of the year he was . He said his team would release its first project, a dark fantasy role-playing game built in Unreal Engine 5, sometime in 2025. After directing the critically acclaimed and contributing to Cyberpunk 2077, Tomaszkiewicz left CDPR in May 2021 . Before his departure, it came out that work on Cyberpunk involved a for many of its developers.

As PC Gamer points out, Dark Passenger’s careers page alludes to some of the criticisms of CDPR. “We create a prejudice-free environment based on tolerance, support and understanding. We treat individual needs as seriously as the group’s expectations,” the page states. “We provide all amenities, private medical care and paid overtime. With an emphasis on work-life balance, we offer flexible working hours and holidays.” As for when you can expect to play the studio’s first game, Dark Passenger has not shared a release date.

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Game

Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 3 PS5 and Xbox Series X versions delayed

It looks like fans of Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3 are going to be waiting a bit longer for the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of those games. While both next-gen versions were slated to release at some point later this year, now both will miss those release windows. Instead of launching this year, CD Projekt Red has confirmed that both games will be arriving in 2022.

CD Projekt Red announced both delays in a brief statement to Twitter today. “We have an important update regarding next generation updates of Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for consoles and PC,” the statement reads. “Based on recommendations supplied by teams supervising the development of both games, we have decided to postpone their releases until 2022.”

The publisher went on to say that it’s currently targeting the next-gen version of Cyberpunk 2077 for release in the first quarter of 2022, while the next-gen version of The Witcher 3 will follow behind it sometime in the second quarter of 2022. “Apologies for the extended wait, but we want to make it right,” CD Projekt Red added.

The decision to delay the next-gen version of Cyberpunk 2077 to “make it right” will probably be okay with a lot of Cyberpunk fans, as that game was widely considered to be unfinished on its release. CD Projekt’s post-release schedule for Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed to some extent thanks to a security breach the publisher suffered earlier in the year.

So, even though we don’t have a precise release date for either of these games, it looks like we’re waiting at least a few months for the release of Cyberpunk 2077 on PS5 and Xbox Series X. We’ll let you know when CD Projekt Red announces new details, so stay tuned.

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Game

Fortnite survey hints at SpongeBob, Witcher, Matrix, and Among Us crossovers

Epic Games has sent out another survey to Fortnite players to evaluate their interest in potential future crossovers, shedding light on some of the IP that may be in the pipeline for consideration. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a survey like this, but it’s hard to guess what comes next.

Epic regularly surveys players about various things, including their experiences in recent matches and their perspectives on various firearms and items. Sometimes, these surveys instead focus on crossovers. We’ve seen some past potential crossovers become actual in-game characters, skins, and more.

As with previous examples, the new survey offers a huge number of potential crossovers covering popular IP across television, video games, and cartoons, as well as celebrities and athletes. It’s hard to tell which listed items are actually in consideration and which may be included to simply obscure the actual potential crossovers — if that’s the case, of course.

Listed items include popular games like Among Us, Yoshi’s Island, Final Fantasy, Clash of Clans, and Uncharted. These are joined by movies like Lord of the Rings, Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, The Matrix, and Independence Day.

Some of the items on the list have already appeared in the game — it includes Predator, for example, which was already a crossover. Iron Man is also listed as a potential movie crossover and the character has likewise already had a Fortnite crossover. We may never see any of these listed items become Fortnite crossovers, but the survey does indicate that an end to these tie-ins is nowhere in sight.



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Game

‘The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’ is getting free DLC inspired by the Netflix series

CD Projekt Red will release its free next-gen update for the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt later this year, the studio announced today at its joint WitcherCon event with Netflix. What’s more, CDPR will release free DLC inspired by Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s books. What that downloadable content will look like, the developer didn’t say, but key art the studio shared mentions “extra items.” Take that as you will.

When CD Projekt Red it was developing native versions of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for the new current generation consoles, it said the ports would include features like ray tracing and faster loading times. On Friday, it promised to share more information “soon.” In 2020, the studio said those who already own the game on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One would get the new release for free. We’ll also note here that CDPR plans to release a next-gen update for sometime later this year as well.

Outside of an excuse to replay The Wild Hunt, fans can also look forward to watching   an animated prequel film centered on Geralt’s mentor, Vesemir — next month, and, at long last, season two of The Witcher in .

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Game

New details revealed about The Witcher 3’s Xbox Series X and PS5 upgrade

While the big news out of today’s WitcherCon event may have been centered around the TV show, we did get some new updates about the game series. Sadly, there’s no confirmation of The Witcher 4 in sight, but CD Projekt Red did give an update about The Witcher 3. The studio started by reiterating that the next-gen update for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be dropping sometime this year.

That’s as specific as CD Projekt Red was able to get about this update today, but it’s nice to have confirmation that the update is on the way nevertheless. In a tweet following the announcement, CD Projekt Red also said that the next-gen update for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will have some new items based on The Witcher TV series.

The tweet also reveals the cover art for The Witcher 3‘s next-gen update, which can probably best be described as “The Witcher 3‘s original box art but better looking.” The next-gen update will be coming to Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC. While we don’t know a ton about the update yet, CD Projekt Red did reveal some key details about it when it was first announced last September.

For instance, the studio says that it’ll offer ray tracing and faster load times, which were both pretty much a given considering that both ray tracing and improved load times are key supported features on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. CD Projekt says that this new version of the game will be available as a standalone purchase on Xbox Series X and PS5, though it’ll also be available for free to those who already own the game on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

All in all, it sounds like a pretty solid upgrade for those who are looking to make another run-through of The Witcher 3. We’ll let you know when more about it is revealed, but in the meantime, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for a release date that isn’t too far off.



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Game

The Witcher: Monster Slayer brings AR monster battles to iOS and Android this month

In the wake of Pokemon GO, we’ve seen a number of other franchises try to replicate the game’s success in the AR space. CD Projekt is one of the companies trying its hand at AR gaming, as it announced The Witcher: Monster Slayer last year. Fast forward to today and now The Witcher: Monster Slayer has a release date on both iOS and Android.

As CD Projekt announced today on Twitter, The Witcher: Monster Slayer will be launching on Android and iOS on July 21st. As most of us probably already assumed, the game will be a free-to-play title with in-game purchases. Those on Android can pre-register for the game beginning today through the Google Play Store, though judging by some of the replies to the tweet you see embedded below, there seem to be some issues with pre-registering at the moment.

As the name suggests, The Witcher: Monster Slayer will have players hunting down and fighting various monsters from The Witcher universe in augmented reality. The game has an overhead map showing nearby monsters’ locations, just like how Pokemon GO‘s world map shows nearby Pokemon and other points of interest.

Defeating monsters will require players to pick the right weapon and armor for the job, just as Geralt has to switch between his silver and steel swords in mainline Witcher games. Players will also be able to complete quests and collect trophies from the monsters they defeat. Completing quests and killing monsters will grant XP, and as players level up, they’ll be able to take on more difficult battles.

It sounds like an interesting game in some aspects, but so far, none of these AR games have managed to find the same success as Pokemon GO. Will The Witcher: Monster Slayer be the first? It’s a tall task for sure, and we’ll see if Monster Slayer is up for it in just a few weeks.

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Netflix and CD Projekt Red are hosting a ‘The Witcher’ convention on July 9th

The Witcher fans, you may want to turn down any and all invitations to hang out on July 9th. Yes, it’s a Friday, but it’s also when Netflix and CD Projekt Red are holding a virtual The Witcher convention with events that tackle both the games and live action series. The developer says it won’t be announcing a new game during WitcherCon, but you can expect standard convention fare. There will be deep dives into the making of (as well as behind-the-scenes footage for) not just the show and the games, but also the anime film and franchise merch. 

The convention will also feature interactive panels that put a spotlight on people who brought the games and the show to life. Plus, there will be expert explorations of The Witcher lore. WitcherCon will stream on Netflix and CD Projekt Red’s YouTube and Twitch channels. The event will be available for streaming at 1PM ET on July 9th, but there will be a second streaming airing at 9PM with content unique to it. 

In addition to announcing WitcherCon, Netflix has also released a trailer for The Witcher’s second season. While it’s only a few seconds long, it teases Ciri’s story in season 2, which (unfortunately) doesn’t have a premiere date yet.

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The Witcher 3’s next-gen upgrade is coming: Here’s what to expect

Back in September, before the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 were on shelves and before Cyberpunk 2077 launched to all sorts of drama, CD Projekt Red announced plans to create a next-gen version of The Witcher 3. In the time since then, CD Projekt Red has more or less gone silent on the next-gen upgrade for The Witcher 3 – which is understandable considering it’s been dealing with things like ransomware attacks and angry fanbases – but today we’re finally learning more about when it will land.

In a post to Twitter today, CD Projekt Red lead PR manager Radek Grabowski revealed that the next-gen update for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be landing at some point in the second half of this year. That’s all we’re getting for now, but this is at least confirmation that the next-gen update is still in the works.

As for what that next-gen update will entail, right now that’s anyone’s guess. CD Projekt Red hasn’t shared too many details about what it will offer, but back in September, it did say it would leverage the ray tracing capabilities and faster load times of both consoles. We also know that it will include both of the expansions – Blood and Wine and Hearts of Stone – and that it’ll be a free upgrade for anyone who already owns the game on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or PC.

If you don’t already own the game, you’ll be able to purchase the next-gen version directly, but we don’t have a price for the standalone version yet. We can probably also assume that the next-gen version will offer some kind of 60 frames per second performance mode and another mode that supports 4K resolution, but that’s purely speculation on our part.

So, there you have it: the next-gen version of The Witcher 3 will be here before we close the book on 2021. We’ll let you know when CD Projekt Red shares more details on it, so stay tuned.

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Security

Cyberpunk and Witcher hackers don’t seem to be bluffing with $1M source code auction

The hackers who targeted video game developer CD Projekt Red (CDPR) with a ransomware attack have auctioned off the stolen source code they acquired for a payday of potentially millions of dollars.

The breach, which CDPR first disclosed yesterday after learning of it on Monday of this week, involved critical game code related to high-profile releases like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. CDPR said at the time that it had no intention of meeting the hackers’ demands, even if that meant stolen material from the hack began circulating online.

That began happening shortly after. On Wednesday, leaks of potentially legitimate source code information started appearing on online forums, as noted on Twitter by the cybersecurity account vx-underground:

This initial leak was believed to include source code of the CDPR’s virtual card game Gwent, while vx-underground disclosed that auctions for the more valuable source code were happening on a hacking forum known as Exploit. We haven’t been able to verify that information, and CDPR has not responded to a request for comment.

But a cybersecurity firm called KELA, which specializes in providing threat intelligence to companies based on analyses of dark web websites and communities, said it had reason to believe the auctions are, in fact, legitimate.

“We do believe that this is a real auction by a real seller who accessed the data. The seller offers to use a guarantor and he allows only those who have a deposit to participate — a tactic that is used by many sellers to show that they are serious and to ensure that no scam will occur,” a spokesperson for KELA told The Verge.

KELA said its threat intelligence analyst, Victoria Kivilevich, was able to download some of the information provided to him by an individual claiming to be involved with the auctions. Kivilevich believes it is genuine, and KELA shared screenshots with The Verge of some of the file lists allegedly showing off stolen source code of CDPR’s Red Engine, its in-house game engine platform.

Image: KELA

Image: KELA

KELA said the auction offered source code files for CDPR game releases, including The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales spinoff, and the recently released Cyberpunk 2077. The stolen material was also believed to include internal documents, though it’s not clear what types of documents or additional material the full cache includes.

KELA said the starting price of the auction was $1 million, with higher bids in increments of $500,000 and a buy-it-now price of $7 million. Only users who deposited 0.1 bitcoin can participate, which is why Kivilevich believed the hackers were serious about hosting the auction and that the material for sale was likely legitimate because it ensures nobody participating in the auction was able to easily scam the sellers.

Vx-underground also independently verified the pricing terms of the auction after KELA had provided the information to The Verge, including screenshots alleging the time of the auction and that it was to run until 48 hours after the last bid. It has now ended.

It’s not clear whether the leak from earlier today — which has already been removed from file upload sites like Mega and scrubbed from hacking forums and other sites — is in any way associated with the ransomware attack.

Update February 11th, 6:05PM ET: Added information regarding the end of the auction.



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