It was extremely difficult for CD Projekt Red to introduce Ciri in the Witcher Saga seeing how Geralt has always been the central character. Those who have gone through the novels will know that she has a rich and expansive backstory, something that the developer had to carefully ignore while also establishing her importance at the same time.
Speaking with PC Gamer for the January 2020 magazine issue, principal writer Jakub Szamalek discussed how challenging it was to choose between past events and full retellings. There were far too many avenues to explore for Ciri. In the end, CD Projekt Red decided to focus on two aspects: her relationship with Geralt and her ability to traverse through space and time.
The other matters involving her being a princess, a sorceress, a child of Elder Blood, a character of interest for the Wild Hunt, a bandit, and more had to be just brushed into the main storyline in order to not confuse players. Szamalek noted how the writers even resorted to adding minor details in the game to reference some of the adventures that Ciri experienced in the novels.
For example, the scene where Ciri enters a bathhouse after being rescued by villagers. Here, players are told about a rose tattoo that Ciri has on her thigh without going into any details. That rose tattoo, for those who haven’t read the novels, is a memento of her lover Mistle when she was with a group called The Rats. Szamalek expressed how he would have loved to explore that storyline in the game but “unpacking this complex episode” was not an option. “There wasn’t really any space,” he said.
In this moment of life, Ciri gave in to her darker side, followed her worst instincts. Showing this transition, and the remorse which followed, would have made a great story.
Ciri could only afford brief flashes and references of her backstory in the Witcher Saga. Szamalek wishfully teased that should there be another Witcher game in the future, CD Projekt Red would be greatly interested in exploring her other adventures. “Maybe it’s something we’ll get to revisit in the future,” he said.
In the meanwhile, CD Projekt Red is working on Cyberpunk 2077, a pretty different take after handling the Wither trilogy and related spinoffs in the past decade. Cyberpunk 2077 is scheduled to release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 16, 2020. There are no current plans to release the game on next-generation consoles as soon as they arrive in the holiday season of 2020. The developer will eventually look into PlayStation 5 and Project Scarlett but not right away.