CD Projekt RED had plans to release Gwent: The Witcher Card Game out of beta along with a single-player expansion called Thronebreaker by the end of 2017. Neither came to pass as the expansion was delayed, and Gwent remained in beta with a December update that changed the game in many ways and alienated some of its loyal streamers and its player base. Following the now-infamous Midwinter update, the developers struggled to reassure disgruntled players while juggling tournaments, new cards, and balance patches.
A few months ago, CEO Marcin Iwiński wrote an open letter to the Gwent community and announced the roadmap called Homecoming. It promised a rehabilitation of the collectible card game to resolve the issues introduced by the Midwinter update and more. Homecoming would require six months of "fully-focused development" to deliver on its promises and pull Gwent out of the beta limbo. It has been four months since then, and there hasn't been much news until today, as CD Projekt RED went live on Twitch again the day after releasing its Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay reveal trailer.
The title of the stream was "Capital Group H1 2018 financial results conference," and while most of it was a financial report to investors, there was also a segment called "What comes next?". After mentioning their new start-up Spokko, focused on mobile games, it went on to announce that Homecoming is slated for a Q4 2018 release, with revamped visuals, UI refinements, and confirming that Gwent will become a "dual-row battlefield" instead of the original three rows. This alteration will include changes in gameplay mechanics to strengthen row interactions.
Finally, they announced Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales as a standalone RPG. It won't require that players download Gwent or own a Gwent account, though in-game actions will be decided by playing Gwent. It will have 30+ hours of playtime, and it will release in parallel with Homecoming. It will be available, just as Gwent, on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. They also reassured the audience that the development teams of Gwent and Cyberpunk 2077 are entirely separate, which has been a concern of the Gwent player base.
This seems to be a neat solution to the perception that as an expansion to Gwent, Thronebreaker could suffer from a poor reception and not be worth the investment. As a standalone expansion, it will give fans of The Witcher something to go on with during the hiatus in the series. The connection with Gwent will also appeal to that player base, so long as Homecoming delivers on its promises and manages to make the game compelling and balanced once again.
Do you think CD Projekt RED will deliver on its promises for Gwent: Homecoming? How do you feel about the removal of one of the rows? Let us know in the comments below!