When CD Projekt announced that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt would include a Hearthstone-style game-within-a-game called Gwent, two thoughts immediately leapt to my mind: First, that “Gwent” is a terrible name for a game, and second, that it would be a quickly-forgettable Witcher mini-game, like dice poker or drunken fistfighting. I was right on the first count, but as to the second part, well, not so much. The game-within-a-game became a hit-within-a-hit, and now it looks like CD Projekt is going to spin it off into a stand-alone release.
As noticed by Nerdleaks, the studio recently filed for two trademarks with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, one for Gwent—which appears to be an expansion of a 2015 trademark filing of the same name—and the other, more tellingly, for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. That filing includes a logo and, according to a Google translation, covers computer games and videogames in various formats, online gaming services, and also doodads like jewelry, medallions, key rings, statues, clothing, writing instruments, stationery, and luggage. CDPR really wants to be sure that all the branding bases are covered, I guess.
If this turns out to be true (and I fully expect that it will), it will hardly be a surprising move. Card games are big business these days, and everyone seems to want in on the action: Hearthstone is a runaway hit, Bethesda is working on one based on its Elder Scrolls series, and the only thing left of the once-mighty Fable franchise is a card game Kickstarter. Add to that the fact that Gwent is basically a fully-formed game already, and the real question isn’t whether CD Projekt will release a version separate from The Witcher 3, but why it hasn’t already.