Sometimes, a mini-game grows so high in popularity that it takes on a life of its own. That’s what’s happening with Gwent, a collectible card game that was featured in the highly acclaimed fantasy role-playing game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. CD Projekt Red, the development company behind The Witcher franchise, confirmed on Monday morning during Microsoft’s pre-E3 press conference that Gwent: The Witcher Card Game would become a standalone game coming to Xbox One and PC.
The collectible card game was initially a mini-game included in The Witcher 3, but its deep tactical gameplay and its fun collectibles made into a fan favorite experience of its own. The developer decided to expand upon these themes by making Gwent a fully accessible title, complete with a single-player campaign filled with challenges and opponents, as well as cross-platform multiplayer so friends can play with one another regardless if they on a PC or Xbox One.
The news of Gwent’s standalone arrival has been received well by fans, and there have already been thousands of sign-ups for the game’s official beta, with the final beta set to kick off in September. A release date hasn’t been given yet, but the game is expected to launch during this holiday season.
Gwent comes along at just the right time, and provides a unique marketing opportunity for the team at CD Projekt Red. After all, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has proven to be a very popular spin-off for Blizzard, and it continues to be a massive draw for players. Activision’s Skylanders: Battlecast has also been well-received since its launch last month, with more add-ons expected in the months ahead.
But Gwent is its own beast, with fans across social media eager to get their hands on a “full” card-playing experience, even if that means breaking away from The Witcher 3 for a while.
One tweet pointed out how the developer went as far as to make a real-life Gwent table for its presentation at E3.
Ultimate gwent table pic.twitter.com/p3xu9jpZY7
— Daniel Bloodworth (@dbloodworth2) June 14, 2016
Other tweets expressing excitement over the separate release of Gwent can be found below:
— Joe Vargas (@AngryJoeShow) June 13, 2016
— Brittney @ E3! (@BlondeNerd) June 13, 2016
There’s currently no word on whether Gwent will release for mobile devices, but given its potential, it shouldn’t be ruled out.