Look out, Gwent: The Witcher Card Game fans, because your world is about to become a whole lot bigger and toothier, as the Crimson Curse expansion is on the way this month. The expansion also marks the return of a certain high vampire that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt players will be familiar with.
Minigames involving playing cards tend to be a fantastic distraction. How many hours have Red Dead Redemption players whiled away playing poker? How long did it take the faithful to collect a full set of Triple Triad cards in Final Fantasy VIII? Heck, Final Fantasy IX was first released back in the year 2000, and many players are still trying to figure out just how in the name of all that is good and pure Tetra Master works (and the new Switch port of the game is confounding players in more ways than one, too).
These sorts of minigames are extremely popular because they tickle gamers’ sensibilities in all the right places. They’re quick, they’re addictive, and there’s an obvious collection aspect to getting a full set of cards. We dig that stuff.
Sometimes, a simple minigame becomes a standalone release in its own right. Just look at Hearthstone, which began life as a humble little distraction that built upon the lore of the Warcraft franchise. It was first released in March 2014, and last November, it hit the absurd milestone of 100 million worldwide players. Can we blame The Witcher for creating Gwent: The Witcher Card Game in an attempt to hop on that gravy train themselves?
Gwent has been around for quite a while as a standalone game, with the open beta kicking off back in May 2017. It officially released on PC in October 2018 (arriving on Xbox One and PS4 in December), and hopes for the game’s future are very high: it’s nominated for "Most Promising New eSports Game" at the 2019 SXSW Gaming Awards.
In order to deliver on that promise, the game is going to need regular support. To that end, the first expansion, Crimson Curse, is on the way. The new content launches on March 28 and consists of a total of 100 new cards: 14 for each faction, and an additional 31 that aren’t tied to any faction.
The whole thing seems set to shake up the game in intriguing ways, as Destructoid reports: “Crimson Curse involves the vampire Dettlaff van der Eretein as he turns the moon blood red and summons his kin. In doing so, new beasts are awoken and new threats come to light. If van der Eretein sounds familiar, it's because this isn't his first rodeo. This higher vampire was the nemesis in The Witcher 3's Blood and Wine add-on.”
Most interesting thing of all, the report explains, is the fact that, “no one is safe from the curse; existing cards have to ward off van der Eretein's curse too.”
Yes, there’s more than a whiff of Darkest Dungeon and its DLC about the whole concept, but we’re going to go ahead and let that slide. If you’re a fan of Gwent, this is going to be huge for you.