CD Projekt Red has revealed that Thronebreaker, its long-awaited single-player story campaign for collectible card game Gwent, is still around six months off. It will now launch alongside a major overhaul for the game, designed to return it to the developer's "original vision".
Thronebreaker - which focusses on Mever, a war-veteran queen who embarks "on a dark journey of destruction and revenge" - was originally expected to launch before the end of 2017. Last November, however, CD Projekt Red announced that it would be delayed into 2018, citing the story campaign's increased scope for the extended development time.
In a new update on the official Gwent website, CD Projekt Red has narrowed that launch window, revealing that Thronebreaker is now expected to arrive in around six months off, alongside a major new development initiative for Gwent, dubbed Homecoming.
Homecoming looks to be something of a reboot for Gwent, addressing what CD Projekt Red appears to believe are fundamental deficiencies with the game in its current state.
"What we didn't realize [when Gwent entered public beta in 2017] was that we also started slowly drifting away from our original vision for standalone Gwent," the studio's new post explains, "While fighting with the everyday reality of regular updates and content drops, we lost sight of what was unique and fun about the game."
To that end, CD Projekt Red will shortly begin "6 months of fully-focused development" in order to deliver a course-corrected Gwent that can "kick some serious ass and reignite your passion for our beloved CCG". There will still be updates to the released game in that time - the developer highlights regular season transitions and events, alongside significant patches in May and April - but the team's primary focus will be on Homecoming.
CD Projekt Red says it has indentified a number of core areas that will be the focus of Gwent's revamp. For starters, it intends to "put more effort into reflecting" Gwent's core Battle theme through its "in-game mechanics and visuals". Cards for, instance, might have a preferred row which gives them additional benefits, while front and back rows might always grant card buffs.
Elsewhere, the board will see some major reworking, perhaps cutting a row entirely in order to make for more meaningful play, and the team also plans to address Gwent's current coin mechanic to prevent players that go second from always having a significant advantage.
Additionally, CD Projekt Red notes that it's working on a major overhaul of player progression, introducing a new levelling system, achievements, and a revised ranked mode - all with suitable rewards - as well as a proper tutorial to ease in new players.
Much of the overhaul, says the developer, is intended be place the emphasis back on player skill and agency, and away from the RNG introduced by the likes of the Create mechanic. The goal is to focus on core gamers, ensuring that the experience is "engaging and rewarding".
Lastly, Homecoming will include a major aesthetic overhaul, re-introducing a darker tone and mood "more in sync with the original Witcher lore".
When work on Homecoming concludes, CD Projekt Red says Gwent will leave beta, and the long-awaited Thronebreaker will release at the same time.
You can read the studio's full list of intended changes over on the Gwent website.