Valve Announces 'Artifact' Is Going Back to the Drawing Board

When Valve released Artifact, a digital collectible card game, last November, it was supposed to [...]

artifact logo
(Photo: Valve)

When Valve released Artifact, a digital collectible card game, last November, it was supposed to be the next big thing. It was designed by Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield, it was based within the incredibly popular universe of Dota 2, and it had the backing of Valve. And then the game came out and flopped. It flopped really hard. Within the first two months, the game lost 95 percent of its player-base -- which was never very big to begin with -- and then Garfield left.

As of this month, the game is struggling for players, and with an Android and iOS release not coming until later this year, that's not changing anytime soon. But rather than let it rot and eventually die at the bottom of the Steam charts, Valve has announced it's going back to the drawing board.

"When we launched Artifact, we expected it would be the beginning of a long journey, that it would lay the foundation for years to come," writes Valve in an honest new message to fans. "Our plan was to immediately dive into our normal strategy of shipping a series of updates driven by the dialogue community members were having with each other and with us.

"Obviously, things didn't turn out how we hoped. Artifact represents the largest discrepancy between our expectations for how one of our games would be received and the actual outcome. But we don't think that players misunderstand our game, or that they're playing it wrong. Artifact now represents an opportunity for us to improve our craft and use that knowledge to build better games."

The message continues:

"Since launch, we've been looking carefully at how players interact with the game as well as gathering feedback. It has become clear that there are deep-rooted issues with the game and that our original update strategy of releasing new features and cards would be insufficient to address them. Instead, we believe the correct course of action is to take larger steps, to re-examine the decisions we've made along the way regarding game design, the economy, the social experience of playing, and more."

According to Valve, all of this means that going forward it will be focusing on addressing the larger issues of the game rather than supporting it and shipping updates like it intended to be doing at this point.

"We expect this process of experimentation and development to take a significant amount of time, we're excited to tackle this challenge and will get back to you as soon as we are ready," concludes Valve.

What this means for the game's mobile ports isn't specified, suggesting they will still be arriving sometime later this year.


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