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Magic: The Gathering’s new digital card game will be ‘fast-paced and easy-to-follow’

Wizards of the Coast reveals Magic: The Gathering Arena

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Magic: The Gathering Arena
Wizards of the Coast
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Wizards of the Coast revealed a new free-to-play digital card game based on Magic: The Gathering today, saying the title would focus on “fast-paced, exciting, and easy-to-follow” gameplay.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is the first title developed by Wizards of the Coast’s in-house Digital Games Studio and promises the original card game’s full rules with ongoing support for new cards.

"We want to create the deepest, richest digital card game on the market, and for it to be as much fun to watch as it is to play," said Jeffrey Steefel, vice president of digital game development at Wizards of the Coast, in a release.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is being developed first for Windows PC, but the developer said the game is built on Unity and will “expand to other platforms when it's ready.” Wizards of the Coast is currently accepting applications for a closed beta test expected to launch later this year.

That beta test will initially focus on the casual Constructed play, featuring cards from the game’s Ixalan release.

Wizards of the Coast has released digital versions of Magic: The Gathering over the past two decades, including Magic Online and Magic: The Gathering — Duels of the Planeswalkers. In an FAQ, Wizards explained why it was creating an all-new iteration of the trading card game.

There were a lot of advantages to starting fresh with MTG Arena. The team is building the game in Unity, which gives us more flexibility for future growth. We created a new Game Rules Engine that can better understand even the most obscure card interactions. We wanted to integrate modern online services that will create a dynamic overall experience and also someday integrate with other aspects of your Magic life.

MTG Arena is not a successor to any previous game. We wanted to take the best of what works in Magic Duels, what works in Magic Online, what works with tabletop Magic, and what you should expect from a digital card game to give you the best Magic experience in a digital game.

More details about Magic: The Gathering Arena, and the company’s upcoming plans for digital Magic, are available in a post by Wizards of the Coast’s Jeffrey Steefel and another from senior project manager for Magic Online, Chris Kiritz.