The Witcher Battle Arena is the best parts of what happens when a company like CD Projekt Red, developer of ambitious RPGs like The Witcher series, gets outside its comfort zone and thinks about making something as ubiquitous as another MOBA. A saturated genre that is so easily dismissed with an eye-roll and a yawn, but what the hardcore RPG studio is doing with the genre was actually quite intuitive when I recently got some hands-on time with it.
Designed by CD Projekt Red and developed by Fuero Games, the tablet MOBA is a fast-paced 3v3 arena combat game that takes less than 10 minutes per match. As one developer acknowledged: a match had to fit within acceptable toilet time.
The Witcher Battle Arena will be a free-to-play game utilizing the industry's hottest new trend of listening to the community for feedback. According to the development team, all in-game content will be unlockable through gameplay. Of course, if players would like any content faster, there's always the option to pay.
The current arena mode being demoed involves players trying to capture and hold three conquest points. It can be played with friends, with bots, or offline. Players can currently select one of eight characters from the Witcher universe, each with their own set of skills, and there's always the option of creating player-made builds and item configurations.
Just from the game's menu it's clear that there's more coming to The Witcher Battle Arena. There's a big button that says "Campaign," but the developers weren't ready to discuss that and admitted they're still trying to figure it out.
"We will have different modes in the future. There will be a monster-hunting mode, kind of an isometric multiplayer. There will be a boss mode, where you will be able to fight the bosses - that will be purely a (player verses enemy) experience. And we are thinking of other competitive modes," said Tadek Zielinski, project manager on the game. "We have a classic one-lane MOBA experience with towers, but we have a different approach because we don't want to have minions, we don't want to have farming."
At this point it would be fair to say that The Witcher Battle Arena isn't strictly a MOBA game. It's a platform for fast-paced mobile gaming where the actual genre the community drives it toward is yet to be determined.