Three of us just got out of the first presentation and gameplay opportunity for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game from CD Projekt RED. Personally, I was not someone that played much Gwent in The Witcher 3, but the showing here definitely blew me away from every standpoint from the music to the visuals to the gameplay. For those that are looking for something more in addition to the gameplay and competitive aspect of a TCG, Gwent is definitely something you will be interested in.
First thing to mention is that there will be a singleplayer campaign. Currently there are four decks in the game-Monsters, Northern Armies, Socia'tael, and Skellige. No news on the Nilfgaard deck. Each of them play incredibly differently and each will have a 10 hour or longer campaign attached to it. They didn't mention whether each of those campaigns will be wholly unique, or if it will be the same story told from multiple perspectives.
The campaigns are very narrative focused with choices to make, cutscenes, and many characters. CD Projekt RED mentioned that Geralt will not be the focus for the whole game and you will be able to play as other characters. You will also of course see some old and familiar faces, as well as new characters yet to be in the Witcher universe.
You traverse the world in an overworld map that has an interesting style, that definitely seems it would fit on a tablet. They did not talk about mobile. In any case, you wander around a map and check out ruins, camps, and more, each of which trigger an event where you can make a choice, recruit characters (which then become your cards), and more. CD Projekt RED described gathering cards as though Geralt is gathering an army, so maybe that offers some hint as to what the story will be like.
The cutscenes resemble those that give a quick summary of the story in The Witcher 3 on loading screens to enhance the story. That is the art style throughout, where dialogue takes place, etc. It seems that the Darkest Dungeon looking art will be what we see anywhere we are not on the overworld.
Each of the four decks, more of which will be coming in the future, have their own focus on a particular mechanic. For example, I played the Skellige deck, which focused on resurrecting units from the graveyard and the medic mechanic. Monsters are all about being powerful and manipulating the weather; Northern Armies focus on siege; and Socia'tael focuses on deception with the commando mechanic (placing a unit on the enemy battlefield, which then will weaken them through sabotage).
There are plenty of new cards and mechanics. For example, Skellige had a card where resurrecting a card will then buff it by a certain amount. There's a Roach card, whenever a hero is played on either side, Roach will show up on the battlefield. There were a ton of new leader cards with unique abilities, both one you trigger and some had passive abilities as well.
As for how multiplayer online will work, which will be coming, CD Projekt RED didn't have a lot of details. They did say that Gwent will be a free to play game with options to purchase things online, but that was not detailed either.
For technical things, there was some needed polish on the UI. We ran into a problem where it was sometime difficult to tell when it was your turn, and it was difficult to see what you were highlighted on at any one time. Easy fixes, I'd say. Our only other complaint is that there definitely seems to be some balancing necessary, as some mechanics were very powerful.
We'll certainly be asking them more about multiplayer and other topics with our interview with CD Projekt RED later today. Keep an eye out! Here it is, the interview with CD Projekt RED on Gwent!
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