The screenshots for The Witcher: Monster Slayer are cracking me up. It's a mobile AR game like Pokémon Go, in which you search for creatures while viewing the world through your phone's camera, except it's based on The Witcher, so instead of a big-eyed Bulbasaur you might run into a gnarly-ass griffin on your roof, or find a mutilated horse in the park. Neat!
The news today is that The Witcher: Monster Slayer will be out this month, on July 21, for iOS and Android. It's made by Polish developer Spokko, which Witcher RPG trilogy creator CD Projekt acquired in 2018. You won't be meeting CD Projekt's version of Geralt outside of a Starbucks, though, as Monster Slayer is set "long before the time of Geralt of Rivia," the developer says. (Way back when Starbucks existed, I guess.)
There are human characters who speak to you, though. Spokko says that quests in Monster Slayer won't be superficial, but rather "deep, story-driven adventures inspired by the Witcher series." I'll hold judgment on that until I've seen more than a guy who looks like he drank too much at a ren fair crying "save me Witcher'' from a municipal park path.
Aside from that scene, the gameplay trailer from last year (embedded below) also shows glimpses of how we'll track monsters with witcher senses, fight them (looks like a simple blocking and slashing timing game), investigate horse decapitations, and stock up on potions. The takeaway for me is that Monster Slayer isn't intended as a visual toy: The novelty of running into a waterhag in the park is somewhat appealing, but there's a game to play here, too. We'll see if it's any good later this month.
It's a curious time for The Witcher and CD Projekt. The Witcher 3 is regarded as one of the best PC RPGs ever made, and in the six years since its release, its world has only become more popular. The first season of the Netflix Witcher show starring Henry Cavill was a hit, and generated a wave of new interest in the Andrzej Sapkowski books that the games and show are both based on. And yet, there's no big new Witcher RPG in development that we know of. CD Projekt is also maintaining spin-off card game Gwent, but otherwise appears to be focused on rescuing the legacy of Cyberpunk 2077, an OK game that failed to be the triumph that The Witcher 3 was to so many.
On Friday, July 9, CD Projekt is collaborating with Netflix to put on WitcherCon, a pair of livestreams where we're going to learn more about the second season of the show and other Witcher-related media. The Polish game maker has already said that it isn't going to announce a new Witcher game there, though. If it's working on one, it's being very quiet about it, although the idea hasn't been ruled out.
As for The Witcher: Monster Slayer (opens in new tab), it'll be free-to-play when it releases on July 21. We're not sure what'll be for sale in the app, but Pokémon Go sells Pokeballs, essential items which are earned by playing, too, and various boosters that increase XP or attract Pokémon—it'll probably be stuff like that.
If you're up for leaving your PC to fight endriagas (giant scorpions) while roaming the Dank Wilderness (an empty lot somewhere), and have an Android phone, you can pre-register for the game on Google Play—which just means you'll get a notification when it's available. It'll be on iOS, too. And someone will definitely get it running on PC with fake GPS coordinates, making everyone who's legitimately walking around parking garages looking for strigas angry. We'll take it for a spin in our own municipal park later this month.