Posted July 4, 2016 by Andrew Cathie in Feature

E3 2016: Gwent Interview

At E3 2016 Andrew had the opportunity to chat with Brad Aury, and animator from CD Projekt Red working on Gwent and chat all about it.


Andrew Cathie: First of all thank you for taking the time to talk to me.
Brad Aury: No problem.
AC: Can I just confirm your role on the Gwent team, Brad?
B: Absolutely. I am an animator on the Gwent team but I am involved in a lot of different areas of the art of Gwent but primarily an animator.

AC: In that case, from the demo I’ve seen the animated cards and all the extra bits of animation that come through compared to the original vision of Gwent. What’s been your favourite thing to work on as far as the art goes?
B: I think right now it’s probably the premium cards, I really think we’ve got something special with those. They’re like the ultimate version, to me, of the shiny pokemon cards. We just find the best way to bring the illustrations to life. A lot of the time that means animation will be a focus to just tell the story that the illustrators can’t tell. We’re so excied to let people see those and start collecting them.

AC: That was the same feeling I got from them when I had a look, most card games will just do a shiny version or a holographic version of a card, but you’ve gone way past that and fully animated them.
B: And it’s got this full effect where, and I don’t know if this showed up in the demo, but as you wiggle the right stick to rotate the card, it’s like a window so that’s really cool.


AC: How did you feel about all the positive feedback that you got when Gwent first started being played in The Witcher 3?
B: Yeah, it was amazing, I mean that’s why we’re making this game really, we love Gwent, certainly, and we always did, but then to put it out in the world and have such a big response. You know, emails, Facebook messages, Twitter messages, handwritten letters from some people who just want to see a standalone version of it, and we kind of wanted to see that as well, see how it worked. So about a year ago we started experimenting, started taking the existing version, going into multiplayer, and straight away we knew we had something cool From there we’ve just been re-tooling the visuals, reworking the abilities and skills to make it deeper and more interesting, but keeping that easy to get into factor that we’ve got.

AC: And that’s something that I’ve noticed, the game has been a lot more fleshed out compared to before, compared to when it was just a minigame, but became the main game for many people. What do you think was the most important part of developement to make sure that Gwent flourished as its own game.
B: I know what you mean, I think that it’s just the designers and how dedicated they are to making this a really fun, competitive multiplayer game. So we’ve given the factions real distinct play styles, but there’s still a lot of variety within those play styles. We’ve taken a lot of cool influences from the characters in the games, for the skills, I don’t know if you got a chance to see anyone play the Geralt Igni card?

AC: No I didn’t.
B: It’s really cool, so Geralt in The Witcher 3, he was a powerful hero card, but in our standalone version of Gwent he has an Igni spell, and basically what that does is it scorches the melee row and clears the frost, so against the monster deck it’s just perfect. And there is a lot of skills like that where we have taken a cool moment from the game, or something the character is really well known for and put that into the skills, and keeping the balance while we do that as well. I guess another example of that is Roach. Did you get to see Roach? Roach is awesome. Whenever anyone plays a hero card Roach is spawned onto the board on a random row. It’s basically a nod to how people know and look for Roach in The Witcher, it’s just our nod to people who know and love The Witcher games will get a lot out of it, but even to people who don’t it’s still a cool card with a cool ability.


AC: Something else I noticed was the overworld that’s come through in the campaign mode and all of the extra side quests and extra content that seems to be there. How do you think that will impact someone’s play time and their experience?
B: We know that people who like our games love the storytelling and we wanted to bring that to Gwent also, and we have some ideas of how the single player campaigns are going to work, but the idea is that throughout the story you’re going to be building up an army, collecting new recruits that are Gwent cards. We can play with the mechanics in interesting ways throughout the game. As you saw in the demo, the leader that you’re fighting against is the monster from the story. And we can give them really interesting leader abilities, that maybe aren’t super balaced for multiplayer but they’re really fun and exciting to see in single player and make for really interesting encounters.

AC: The other thing that we were told is that you’ve got the story writers for The Witcher 3 on board writing the stories, do you have a particular arc of the story that is your favourite?
B: My favourite? I think I’m gonna come across as the generic answer but I think it’s the Bloody Baron quest. You’ve played Witcher 3? So the Bloody Baron quest is just awesome and just how it branches. I played it through not knowing about the different endings and it felt so organic to my playthrough and his character is so interesting and deep. And speaking to other people and hearing about their opinions on the Bloody Baron and how they are different to your own, it’s a really, really well-made quest, and that’s exactly the quality we want to have on the standalone single player campaigns and quests.

AC: I think that’s really saying something, compared to campaign modes in most collectable card games on digital platforms, they’re pretty bare a lot of the time but it seems like you’re going pretty far to make sure that it’s the best experience possible.
B: Yeah absolutely. It’s the type of game we love to make and we think it’s the type of game our players love to play and we want to give the fans what they want, it’s what this project’s all about, really.
AC: One question that I know will always come up and I’ve asked it before when Magic: Duels was coming through, will cards unlocked on one platform be able to tranfer across onto other platforms?
B:That’s definitely an interesting question and I’m really not the guy to answer it, I’m sorry. We definitely do have cross play between Xbox One and PC, that’s something that you can tell people. Anything beyond that I imagine our team are working out details at the moment. We’ll see what happens.

AC: I think that’s all the questions I have for today. Thank you so much for your time, and I hope you have a great E3.
B: Thank you very much.

Andrew Cathie

Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.


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