We already kind of knew that CD Projekt-owned studio The Molasses Flood had gone back to the drawing board with Project Sirius, its upcoming multiplayer Witcher game, following a recent announcement to CD Projekt investors. But now CDP has confirmed that the project is being "re-evaluated", and provided a little insight into why.
"Our intention was to cut costs early and give ourselves time for reassessment," said CD Projekt president Adam Kiciński in yesterday's financial earnings call, "We don't want to carry on with projects that we are not aligned with".
"We need to be ready to reevaluate our original concepts, even if development work is already underway," said Kiciński.
Fairly vague, although it does seem to confirm that CDP and The Molasses Flood are having another look at Project Sirius after the work that had already been done didn't live up to expectations. Comments from CDP's chief financial officer, Piotr Nielubowicz, provide a bit more context: "To keep the right course and stay in control, especially with a project that is new to us in terms of design [and] developed by a new studio in our family, we need to keep evaluating the situation as we move along". Nielubowicz added that it was "better to cut costs early, and even restart if needed, than to carry on".
It sounds like the studios involved have run into some teething troubles with translating The Witcher to a multiplayer experience, or—to use terms the studio itself used—to an experience that offers "multiplayer gameplay on top of a single-player experience including a campaign with quests and a story". It sounds like The Molasses Flood hasn't quite finished settling into CDP after it was acquired in the middle of last year, either.
So it looks as if we won't be seeing Project Sirius in the flesh for a while yet, if at all, and possibly not until after the other two Witcher games CDP has cooking away finally get released. Details on those are scant, but we do know that Kiciński called Project Polaris—the one we're likely to see soonest—"The Witcher 4" in the same earnings call in which he discussed Project Sirius, which CD Projekt quickly walked back. So Polaris is The Witcher 4, except it's not. Clear as a crisp Velen morning to me.
Update: CD Projekt clarified in an email that it has not yet restarted Sirius, but is still in the process of reassessing it.