Back in 1993, Magic: The Gathering was launched and essentially wrote the book about trading card games. There’s a fair chance that everyone reading this has either played it, or has a friend who taps that regularly. The series has a few video game adaptations as well, including Magic: The Gathering Online and Duels of the Planeswalkers, and Magic: The Gathering Arena has now been announced as the next digital tie-in, one that is both modernised and approachable.
According to Jeffrey Steefel, vice president of digital game development for Wizards of the Coast, Arena aims to be “the ultimate way to play the latest card sets in Magic“. The game will be free to play, likely supported by in-game booster pack purchases, and will make full use of modern design elements. Arena will be as deep, strategic, and competitive as Magic itself, and the game will feature all cards in the standard set at launch. The post also outlines plans to add almost 1,000 new cards every year. At the core of its design, Arena seems to be catering to modern esports. The blog goes into detail that the game has been built around streaming, and making the game just as much fun to watch.
The post clarified that Arena does not spell the end for Online or the tabletop version. Instead, it will focus on new cards and expansions, and will complement the physical version. Support will also continue for Online, which will still receive updates, expansions, and tournaments. No release date was given, but interested players can sign up for the closed beta.