One of my favourite things to do in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was chasing down card sharks to crush beneath my heel. Gwent, a fantasy card game within the world of The Witcher 3, was so satisfying that I would boot up the action RPG just to play a few rounds of it. I was positively thrilled when CD Projekt Red released a dedicated Gwent game, though I wasn’t a huge fan of the rule changes or the heavier focus on PvP. It turns out, a lot of other players weren’t either. Announced today, Gwent: Rogue Mage is a new roguelike that’s aimed at fixing both of those problems, and it’s out tomorrow for PC, iOS, and Android.
CDPR told IGN that they wanted to give Rogue Mage, technically a standalone, single-player expansion for Gwent, a PvE focus while returning to the Witcher 3 version of the card game. Players start with 12 cards, and they add more while exploring the procedurally generated map. On each run players earn experience, enabling them to obtain stronger cards during their next attempt. The game uses the tale of Alzur, a mage working to create the first-ever witcher, as its narrative framework, but the developers didn’t design the game with a focus on plot and lore.
“We hope that players will get enough immersion [from the narrative] to complement the gameplay-first formula, but we do not expect the story to be the main reason for players to appreciate this release,” said the game director Vladimir Tortsov. This gameplay-first approach is also reflected in the expansion’s themed decks, which revolve around certain Gwent mechanics like boosting other cards.
As someone who would absolutely read the lore from a Witcher card game, I think watering down the story is a mistake. The Gwent tournament in Witcher 3 was more interesting because of the story stakes involved. But since Tortsov estimates it will take players 30 hours to fully experience everything Rogue Mage has to offer, I’m hopeful for future expansions or follow-up games. The game is fully offline and does not require an internet connection, unlike its F2P predecessor.
Gwent: Rogue Mage will be priced at 10 bucks, with a premium version available for 20.