While at GenCon, I managed to sneak in a few minutes with WoTC’s Adam Colby to talk about where Magic is right now. While Wizard’s big push this year is Neverwinter, Magic was there in force for the Nationals, as well as a large Duels of the Planeswalkers booth. I asked Colby about the upcoming Innistrad set, a classic horror themed expansion which already has caused a lot of chatter about how it will work. Unlike, say, The Dark, Innistrad will be more like classic movie horror than the “mage-punk” style of Magic that we know and love.
Colby wasn’t giving away too many details, but he compared the set to the old Hammer Horror movies: Bela Lugosi era vampires with thick Transylvanian accents, werewolves, and Frankenstein monsters. This at least tacit acknowledgment of our own popular culture seems an odd tonal shift for the game, but Richard Garfield’s involvement gives us a large amount of hope.
Adam promised that Pax Prime would have a major reveal for the set that would impress the hell out of everyone. When Innistrad debuts, Duels of the Plainswalkers will see an update that’ll add cards to tie the new set into the Xbox/Playstation/Steam game.
Colby also talked about how well Planeswalkers was doing in getting lapsed old players and interested newbies into the fold, especially since it plays down the high-cost of collecting and putting together a strong deck. Between the crossover with Innistrad content and Magic Celebration, a new program that will allow people to go to partner stores and play for free, the hope is to pull in new players into a world that might otherwise be overwhelming.