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Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is getting a big overhaul

CD Projekt Red: “We have never accepted ‘good enough’ at our company”

Ciri glares with dark eyes across a firelit table in key art for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. CD Projekt Red
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, the collectible card game from CD Projekt Red, is receiving a massive overhaul. Company co-founder Marcin Iwiński announced the effort, called Homecoming, this week in an open letter to the community. He said that the process will take six months to complete and result in a more evocative and competitive game.

The changes described in today’s post appear to be significant and include modifications to the underlying structure of the field of play as well as the turn order.

“We have never accepted ‘good enough’ at our company,” the developer said. “We have always taken risks and made bold decisions if we believed they would result in a better game. And, you’ve guessed it, we’ve just made one now.”

Unlike other CCGs like Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering, Gwent is played with multiple rows of cards. Selecting which card to play on which row is part of the underlying strategic layer of the game, but Gwent’s lead developers want to take that mechanic a step further. One of the goals for Homecoming is to redesign cards so that they have a preferred row that will grant them extra powers. Additionally, placing cards in the front or back rows would “always grant an additional buff.”

CD Projekt

Part of the joy of CCG games is the art on the cards themselves. Given the amount of real estate on a computer screen, a stack of rows doesn’t give Gwent’s fantastic art much room to breathe. Therefore, the team is also considering cutting one of the rows entirely.

“The redesign will leave no stone unturned,” said CD Projekt Red. “It’s still something that requires extensive testing, but we’re that serious about making things work.”

The team said that they are also investigating tweaks to the pre-game coin flip that some say gives the second player an advantage. Many other more subtle changes are proposed in the letter. CD Projekt Red said that when Homecoming is released it will arrive with Thronebreaker, Gwent’s long-awaited single-player campaign.

Most significant for fans of the Witcher games, however, is that CD Projekt Red wants to return Gwent to the franchise’s grim dark roots. One of Homecoming’s goals is to make the game “more in sync with the original Witcher lore.” That will include changes to the menus, online store and the user interface.