Spellcraft is a new 'hero collecting' strategy game from Blizzard and ArenaNet veterans

If you're going to pitch me a multiverse game in 2022, where heroes from different worlds are thrown together into some kind of battleground, one of those heroes better be a sentient car. This is my new line in the sand: I've had enough of wizards and commandos. Give me Benny the foul-mouthed cab from Roger Rabbit if you want me to pay attention.

This new philosophy worked for me with Spellcraft, a new strategy game from a small studio founded by longtime Blizzard programmer (and ArenaNet co-founder) Patrick Wyatt: 30 seconds into the teaser trailer I saw a car with giant wrenches for hands and immediately wanted to know more.

Despite today's announcement, Spellcraft's developers are keeping the details of their new game secret for the moment. What I do know is that it's some amalgamation of trendy strategy games in recent years. It's not outright Hearthstone or Teamfight Tactics, but expect elements from card games and autobattlers to be in there. It's a 1v1 PvP game for now, and will be free to play (but not pay-to-win or involved in any NFT nonsense, the developers emphasized). The little bases underneath each character hint at a tabletopy heroes-as-figurines aesthetic.

I'm hoping the presence of a sentient car indicates there's more creativity here than the name "Spellcraft" suggests, because it does sound like one of a long line of Hearthstone knock-offs. Wyatt and studio co-founder Jamie Winsor have worked on a ton of RPGs and strategy games between them, including Warcraft and StarCraft (hence the name), Diablo, League of Legends and Guild Wars 2. A small team started working on Spellcraft in 2020, and it's been in regular small-scale player testing since early on. With today's announcement, the developers at One More Game are gearing up to let more people play Spellcraft.

Sign-ups start today for an alpha "preview event" that begins on May 3, which will still be hush-hush: don't expect streamers to be showing off how Spellcraft works just yet. Expect that to come sometime this year, alongside the full release.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).