New manga ‘The Witcher: Ronin’ sees Geralt take on Yokai in Japan

Publisher CD Projekt Red has announced a Kickstarter campaign for a new manga spinoff to its popular RPG series The Witcher.

The Witcher: Ronin will see monster hunter Geralt of Rivia reimagined in the style of Japanese mythology, swapping the Euro-centric creatures and legends he pursues in The Witcher III for an assortment of Yokai inspired by folklore and classic fables.

The hardback release of the book, which will be exclusive to the Kickstarter campaign, will be written by CD Projekt Red’s Rafał Jaki, the publisher’s comic book editor and co-creator of Gwent, with art by the pseudonymous Hataya, an illustrator based in Japan. The story will see this alternate Geralt “venture across Yokai-infested lands while attempting to track down the mysterious Lady of Snow, Yuki Onna”.

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Unlike most manga, which is still an overwhelmingly black-and-white medium, the main story contained in The Witcher: Ronin is set to spread over four chapters and “around 100 full colour pages”. The collection will also feature three short stories, described by the publisher as “standalone tales [that] deepen the context of this mysterious Ronin world, while also featuring fan-favorite characters such as Vesemir and Yennefer — each translated into this manga’s style.”

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Credit: CD Projekt Red

The book will also feature creators’ commentary, early draft sketches, and “insight into the mythological background that has influenced the manga itself”.

“Being able to break away and take on this ‘what-if?’ scenario, where The Witcher is rooted in Japanese history and tradition, has opened up many compelling storytelling opportunities; and having Hataya on board to create the artwork has also been a real treat,” said Jaki, via statement. “I’ve always envisioned Geralt to fit the mould of a wandering Ronin character, and the more I thought about it, the more I could see that feudal Japan, with its rich history of Yokai tales and folklore, fits the style of The Witcher world perfectly.”

Rather than seeking to fund the story’s creation, CD Projekt Red seems to be running The Witcher: Ronin Kickstarter campaign as more of a custom pre-order system. It says the manga itself is already completed, and that the crowdfunding route is because “we wanted to see if this new concept for The Witcher would be something that fans would be interested in — and if so, to see just how special we can make this collector’s edition.”

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At time of writing, the campaign has already hit more than double its €90,000 (£77,000) goal. The Witcher: Ronin hit its initial goal in just two hours, 16 minutes.

If sufficient support is shown for the book, then variant artwork by other artists may be included, although this isn’t explicitly a stretch goal. However, merchandise add-ons can be purchased alongside backing the book, including pin badges, a tote bag, and a miniature model of Geralt fighting a Tengu, a crow-like Yokai. More rewards are planned to be revealed as the campain runs.

In other news, a remastered version of Alan Wake has been announced, which will bring the modern horror classic to PlayStation consoles for the first time.

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