IGN can reveal that The Witcher developer CD Projekt Red will release Gwent: Rogue Mage – a single-player deck-building roguelike – tomorrow, July 7, for PC, iOS, and Android.
Previously known as Project Golden Nekker, Rogue Mage is considered an expansion to Gwent and retains the core mechanics of the card game, but will be sold separately from the multiplayer original. The standard version will be available for $9.99, while a premium edition – which includes skins, cosmetics, and map packs for multiplayer play – will cost $19.99.
Gwent: Rogue Mage Screenshots
“Rogue Mage came out of us noticing that years after the release of The Witcher 3, there is a significant number of players who want a more PvE experience of Gwent,” said game director Vladimir Tortsov.
“While Gwent Multiplayer is a fantastic game for those looking for a great PvP multiplayer experience, we fully understand that many Witcher players loved the original Gwent minigame for entirely different reasons. With Rogue Mage, we let’s aim to give that audience a reason to play modern-day Gwent in the format they prefer.”
We had a chance to play Rogue Mage before its release date, and it definitely reminds The Witcher 3 version of Gwent, albeit obviously in a roguelike format. Much like the original, players will use characters from the Witcher world like Dandelion, Zoltan, and Yennefer, but Rogue Mage uses maps from the multiplayer version of Gwent. While that means the mechanics are a bit more complex, the maps come in simpler packages that aren’t as intimidating as first logging into the multiplayer version.
Players start with just a dozen cards in their deck, and each deck focuses on an easy-to-understand main theme. The first deck focuses on a boosting mechanic, for example, meaning players know that each card in it will usually boost another or do something cool when it’s itself boosted. There are four decks in total, though players also choose between three key cards to build in each deck.
More cards can be added as you explore the map, but these usually arrive one at a time, meaning there isn’t an overwhelming amount of information presented at once. Players gain experience on each run, and upgrading increases the pool (and power) of cards available to the player on their next run.
Tortsov estimated that it would take players over 30 hours to collect and complete everything in the game (and Rogue Mage also includes a full set of unlockable achievements), although gameplay loops are broken up into shorter bursts that can take up to about an hour.
Roguelike mechanics mean that players enter the map and progress through their chosen path before defeating the final boss or being defeated along the way. Some races can therefore be completed in minutes if an enemy proves too strong – for those looking for that kind of challenge, Rogue Mage also includes dozens of difficulty modifiers to make it as relaxing or relentless as players want.
The story of Rogue Mage takes place hundreds of years before Geralt was born, with players taking on the role of the mage Alzur as he attempts to create the very first witcher. By moving through a procedurally generated map, the player participates in battles of Gwent, faces moral dilemmas similar to those in The Witcher series, and interacts with places of power and other locations to strengthen their card collection. .
However, Rogue Mage doesn’t feature the in-depth story that fans of the Witcher games, books, or TV shows might expect, as Tortsov explained, the development team prioritized gameplay over gameplay. to storytelling. “While we have a story to tell about Alzur’s obsession with creating the first Witcher, we are not treating this expansion as an official addition to The Witcher lore,” he said.
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“Our goal with the Rogue Mage story is to give players enough context about who Alzur is, what his motivation is, and the general setting of the world he lives in. We hope players get enough immersion to complete the gameplay formula first, but we don’t expect the story to be the main reason players enjoy this release.”
CD Projekt Red decided to release Rogue Mage as a separate package from Gwent Multiplayer due to its size, with the project growing significantly since it was first suggested in late 2019. microtransactions to allow players to progress between chapters, we decided to make it a simple buy-to-play title,” Tortsov said.
The decision to release Rogue Mage as a standalone version was also made so that it could be fully playable without an internet connection. While it has some online-only features such as leaderboards and cross-save progress, the overall experience is designed for offline single-player use.
This will likely be the only single-player Witcher experience fans of the franchise can enjoy for quite some time, as the next mainline game didn’t enter pre-production until May. CD Projekt Red has been tight-lipped about it, apart from saying that it’s being made in Unreal Engine 5 and that its game director – who was Gwent’s former director – has promised there won’t be any crisis on his watch.
Fans have otherwise been trying to figure out what the single teaser image might mean, with some thinking the School of the Lynx medallion hints that Ciri is the protagonist. There will be plenty of time to speculate, of course, even up to and probably beyond the release of the third season of the Witcher Netflix series.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who sometimes remembers tweeting @thelastdinsdale. He’ll be talking about The Witcher all day.