Even supernatural monster-slayers need a day off. The Witcher 3 sees Geralt and Roach spending a lot of time slashing their way through the Continent, but no matter where their adventures take them, there always seems to be a warm and welcoming place to hang up your boots, receive some stony glares from the locals, and get stuck into a game of Gwent.
Building your deck and collecting new cards is such a popular in-game activity in one of the best RPGs ever that CD Projekt RED created a dedicated spin-off in Gwent: The Witcher Card Game.
“The cards that will be released in 2023 will be the last brand new ones to be added to the card pool,” game director Vlad Tortsov said in a 2023 roadmap video (opens in new tab). “It’s a pretty significant change.”
But this isn’t the end of the game.
“We are not planning to release new cards, starting from 2024,” Tortsov said. “We are basically planning to close the card pool [in 2023] with every idea that we wanted to add, and every mechanic that we want to see.” This would also include an end to the dev’s input when it comes to continued balance changes that have been a part of their structured updates.
“We believe that this existing card pool can be improved in terms of viability of the meta, [so] there is no need to introduce rotation anymore. With this fixed number of cards within Gwent, we will do our best to make sure it’s in a good state meta-wise.”
When asked if this meant that Gwent, as a game, would be put in the freezer, Tortsovimmediately dispelled this notion.
The team’s “unconventional solution” to maintaining the game after they step back is to put the future of the meta in the knowledgeable hands of its players.
World in your hands
“We want to give the Gwent community the right tools and opportunities to drive the balance changes of the game going forward.”
This means that players, regardless of their game development or coding background, will be able to make changes to the cards through the Gwent client itself. These may not be as robust as the CD Projekt RED dev changes, but when it comes to maintaining balance in the meta, they will ensure that “Players can interact with the game not just by playing it but also by deciding which direction it will go in,” from card nerfs to buffs and more.
Although this might sound daunting to many, CD Projekt RED senior communications officer Pawel Burza seems certain that it is the right decision. Since all changes would come from within, players will likely know the best reworks that would benefit themselves as well as the rest of their community.
“We [as developers] are looking at it from above,” he says, “But when it comes to players who are playing the game [they will have a level of] personal engagement that causes you to favor or disfavor certain archetypes.”
Tortsov and Burza have been “partially inspired” by games that give their player-base a greater sense of control. “Games that are sticking are those that are driven by the community,” they agree.
CD Projekt Red won’t be taking any time off by relinquishing control of Gwent, though. It seems to be clearing its plate to focus on five new projects that have been announced this year, including a reboot of The Witcher and a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077. One of the games also set in The Witcher’s universe will involve multiplayer elements and worlds within worlds – more than enough for the team to be getting on with once they round off the Gwent card pool.
Of course, the card team could be working on more card game projects, too. Presumably, The Witcher 4 will have its own version of Gwent, after all.
Having released in 2017, next year will mark six years of Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. It makes sense that CD Projekt Red will want to safeguard the game’s established community whilst leaving space for something even more exciting on the not-too-distant horizon.