Gwent is all about outplaying – and out-thinking – your opponent. And there’s tons of stuff going on behind the scenes at CD PROJEKT RED! I connected with Pawel Burza, Community Specialist, and got some exclusive news about what’s coming up next for the game… Hint: two new faction leaders and more! Read on for the details!
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview… and on behalf of the entire Gwent community, thank you for being an amazing ambassador for the game! Tell us a little about your start in gaming and how you ended up at CD PROJEKT RED.
Wow! Thank you for the warm welcome! It all comes back to my love for Gwent and the community surrounding it… Let’s go back in time to when I was 6 or 7 years old and just got a used NES. I experienced Super Mario and Willow — my first RPG. I spent four years growing up in Santa Monica, California and mostly played on handheld consoles and my Nintendo 64. When my family moved back to Poland I switched over to PC gaming, with a few consoles along the way.
In 2007, when I was 20, I got to play The Witcher for the very first time. I was blown away because the game brought my favorite characters from all the books by [author Andrezj] Sapkowski to life! In Poland, his book The Last Wish is often covered in high school. But I already knew about Sapkowski’s works, because my dad was always into fantasy literature and got me hooked!
As for what brought me to CD PROJEKT RED? It’s my love for games (especially card games) and everything Witcher-related. I saw a job opening on Facebook and applied, went through a series of tests, and here I am 3 years later – working on Gwent! Looking back, I would never have imagined I could reach my current position.
When you look back at the history of Gwent, what’s your proudest moment?
I think my greatest memory will always be taking the basics from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and turning Gwent into a standalone competitive game. In Witcher 3, with all the cards available at the end of the game you could build very overpowered decks… This would obviously never work in multiplayer! I still remember the internal Alpha where we ported the exact game from Wild Hunt. We immediately knew that a lot of things had to change, but it was magical nonetheless.
On a related note, Gwent as an esport is a fairly new concept to us, but the community has been continually requesting it. Back at Gamescom we revealed our upcoming competitive series, GWENT MASTERS. I’m really excited for that one!
Let’s talk about the current state of the game. Why is Scoia’tael your favorite faction? Were you a fan from the literature, or just naturally got a love for squirrels?
Scoia’tael has a cool flavour to it. For me, it’s a mix of the books and the Iorveth storyline in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, plus I like dwarves and elves in general. And the conflict between humans and non-humans really hit home for me while reading the books and playing the games. Since I majored in English studies, I was fascinated by the parallels in my literature classes to the history of racial segregation.
The upcoming single-player campaign, Thronebreaker, looks amazing! Have you had a chance to explore the game world? What are you most excited about?
Yes, I got a glimpse into Thronebreaker… and I’m really excited for the ability to play as Meve. I loved her character in the books and the role she played in Geralt’s history (no spoilers). Also, it’s cool that we can explore stories set before the events of the first Witcher game – this will be a feast for lore lovers!
What’s next for Gwent? Mobile support? Huge expansion sets? New modes? Or anything else you can leak here? 😉
We’re working on:
- A new game mode – can’t go into specifics yet.
- A new faction – no leak here 😉
- Two new leaders for existing factions – I can mention Anna Henrietta and Dettlaff!
- A big tech update for the game – most likely coming by the end of this year, this will change the way Gwent is played.
- UI changes – especially to deck builder and collection integration.
- Expanding the card pool by adding new cards every two months.
- And more seasonal events like the Mahakam Ale Festival!
Thanks Burza: both for the interview and for your great work since the beginning of standalone Gwent!