Hands-on Preview – Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales

When was the last time CD Projekt Red disappointed you? Never? Well, that’s the main reason I was looking forward to playing Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales at an exclusive preview event in São Paulo, Brazil. Initially conceived as the single-player mode for the Gwent online game, this game has taken new proportions and it’s now a standalone title with more than enough content to satisfy fans of the franchise.

Your main character this time around is Queen Meve, the ruler of the kingdoms of Lyria and Rivia, who has the defend her lands against the constant attacks from Nilfgaardian invaders. This is canonical according to the Witcher books, therefore fans of the entire series, not just the games in general, are in for a treat. Throughout the 30 hour long journey, you’ll be able to visit the lands of Rivia, Lyria, Aedirn, Mahakam, and Angren, and be able to complete the game with twenty different outcomes.

You read that right: 30 hours of gameplay and 20 different endings. This isn’t just a simple single-player mode for the Gwent F2P game. This is a full-fledged Witcher RPG with branching paths, puzzles to solve, tons of dialogue, resource gathering, sidequests, and much more, that also happens to have a simplified version of the Gwent card game as its battle system.

I had the chance to play the game for about an hour, which was enough for me to tackle the tutorial and part of the first act. The controls are simple. You’ll guide Queen Meve with the mouse or controllers in a very Diablo-esque manner through the map, collect resources such as gold, wood and “soldiers”, pick sidequests, and fight against humans and monsters with a brand new combat system.

This is not the same Gwent system you’re used to. This is a slightly simplified system in which you can use your main commander (in this case, Queen Meve) to provide your army with special buffs. That’s right, Thronebreaker uses the Gwent card mechanic as a means to deploy your armies against opponents. Matches are extremely quick and decks are very small. All you need to do in order to end up victorious is to win two out of three rounds, giving you space to make a comeback after a bumpy round.

The demo for Thronebreaker was short but impressed me as I wasn’t expecting a smaller side project like this one to be as deep and chock-full of content like a proper AAA outing from other companies. This isn’t just a rushed single player mode for a F2P game. This is a proper Witcher game played in a brand new way. I can’t wait to actually play the rest of it at launch and find out how the rest of the game will connect to the plot from the books and the games. October 23rd can’t come soon enough!

If you want to see more about Thronebreaker, just take a peek at the first 24 minutes of the game in our exclusive footage: