Today I’m thrilled to tell you a bit more about Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, our new game set in The Witcher universe!
First — what is Thronebreaker? The easiest answer is that it’s a single-player role-playing game which combines narrative-driven exploration with unique puzzles and card battle mechanics. All set in the dark and monster-filled world you might know from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. You navigate a character through vast maps, collect resources, encounter scenarios presented via fully narrated storybook sequences, cutscenes and classic RPG dialogues. Then you use resources you gather to customize and build up a war camp which gives you access to new units, skills, and items. Fights, on the other hand, feature story-driven battles, as well as deviously crafted puzzles, in which your army is represented by cards.
During the design process, we were heavily inspired by games like Heroes of Might & Magic, The Banner Saga, Puzzle Quest, and Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes. A simple idea, yet difficult to pull off — creating a single-player card game with a top-notch storyline and addictive gameplay that people expect from a CD Projekt Red title. We spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out the story we wanted to tell. Knowing it’d be set in The Witcher universe, we wanted to tell a different kind of tale — one that wouldn’t be directly connected with the trilogy. It just so happens that during the second war with Nilfgaard, all The Witcher world’s factions were engaged in conflict to a varying degree. With war comes death — with death come monsters. As such, we soon found this period to be the ideal setting for the storyline of Thronebreaker.
Following the choice of the timeframe our story would be set in, we now needed a protagonist. For obvious reasons, it couldn’t be Geralt. He is a monster-slayer, an outsider, and what the events of Thronebreaker needed was more of a leader — someone people would follow. The thought of using a different character was both scary and quite exciting. We never attempted to tell a story in this setting from a perspective of someone other than Geralt, so in a way, this was a big test. In the end, we decided on Queen Meve — a character who was mentioned multiple times in the books, but her story never described in much detail. As a charismatic ruler who engaged in guerilla warfare during the second war with Nilfgaard to retake her realm from the invaders, Meve turned out to be a perfect fit for the tale we wanted to tell. A tale of betrayal and revenge, but also forgiveness.
In Thronebreaker we aimed to show the atrocities of war — the Nilfgaardians were much more brutal and ruthless during the second war than what came later and what could be seen in The Witcher games prior. Personally, I think this puts events from The Witcher 3 in a completely new perspective. It also sheds more light on the characters players already know from the other games, as well as books, digging deeper into their backstories and lore.
Using a protagonist who’s a leader allowed us to present players with totally different choices. When Geralt was encountering and solving problems, he left his mark on people’s lives and moved on. Meve is a queen, so consequences of her actions touch lives of her subjects and entire realms, thus bearing much more significance on the world than those choices which were made by Geralt.
Making Thronebreaker was a lot of fun and the team has poured their hearts and souls into the game. It is my sincere hope that you enjoy playing it as much as we did making it.
Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is available now on Xbox One. Each Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales purchase also comes packed with digital goodies. These, among others, include exclusive concept art, the official soundtrack, Gwent: Art of The Witcher Card Game artbook, the “Fox Children” digital graphic novel and various in-game items for Gwent. Plus, while playing Thronebreaker, you can also discover cool collectible items, including avatars, borders, titles and even premium animated version of Thronebreaker-inspired cards for use in The Witcher Card Game!