Valve plans to break their nearly year-long silence regarding the future Artifact after the release of Half-Life: Alyx. Patient fans of the Half-Life series were rewarded by the release of Half-Life: Alyx, while the success of the game is promising for patient fans of Artifact as we await more news on the rerelease of Valve’s struggling Dota 2 card game.
The Story of Artifact
Seemingly destined to fail, Artifact earned an unenthusiastic response when it was announced at The International 2017. The impressive all-time peak of 60,740 players quickly dwindled as Artifact lost over fifty percent of its player base for three consecutive months after release. Currently, Artifact’s thirty-day peak player count is less than three hundred.
On December 10th, 2018, the PlayArtifact team promised the dedicated fans of their struggling card game that they would not give up on Artifact and they were committed for the “long haul.” Three months later, the team restated their commitment to Artifact and acknowledged that “things didn’t turn out how [they had] hoped.” The team was transparent with the remaining fans about their intentions for the future of Artifact:
“Moving forward, we’ll be heads-down focusing on addressing [the] larger issues instead of shipping updates. While 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.”
This week, the development team broke their nearly year-long silence, thanking fans and promising that more news will come soon:
“The continued interest in Artifact has been encouraging, and we sincerely appreciate all of the feedback!… Expect more news after the launch of Half-Life: Alyx!”
Nearly twelve and a half years after the release of Half-Life: Episode Two, Valve simultaneously reestablishes themselves as a top-tier game developer and revitalizes the Half-Life series with the release of Half-Life: Alyx on March 23rd.
The success of Half-Life: Alyx has put old Half-Life fans at ease and contributed to many gamers becoming new fans of the series. Raising the bar in VR, Road to VR claims that “Half-Life: Alyx is one of the most richly detailed and immersive VR games to date, and a stunning take on the iconic franchise for virtual reality.” Gamespot attests to the immersive world, warning players that a will “literally latch onto your head.”
CEO of Valve, Gabe Newell recently spoke to Edge Magazine about his experience with Artifact and how he views the game’s future. In the interview, Newell admitted that “Artifact was an interesting failure… We thought that it was a really strong product… We ran an experiment, we got a negative result, and now we need to see if we’ve learned anything from that, so let’s try again.”
Aware of the flaws and excited for the future, Newell promised that Valve would “take another run at [Artifact]” to deliver the game that they originally set out to make.
Expect to be Excited
The success of Half-Life: Alyx is evidence that Valve is capable of bringing a forgotten series to life. With their sights now set on Artifact, Valve has given fans hope that Artifact‘s return will be as well-received as Half-Life’s.
In anticipation of Valve’s announcement, we talked with Travis “Freshca” Boyer, the coach of Harrisburg University’s varsity Hearthstone team about what characterized Artifact, what should stay and what should be improved.
Boyer’s experience with Artifact started before the official release. During his time with the game, he became fond of the three board system and turn priority. These two aspects were integral parts of Artifact and although the game failed, not everything about the game was a failure. Playing with three boards at once characterized competitive Artifact because the player is “essentially playing a [best of three] in one game.” Boyer praised the depth turn priority system which “allowed for a lot of outplaying and interesting decisions.”
Valve maintained their relationship with their fans by being transparent about their development. However, warning fans about a lack of updates does not mitigate the problems that come with it, Boyer pointed out that “metas will get solved and become boring if you don’t make changes.” The card economy of Artifact is also regarded as one of the main aspects that caused the game to fail and will likely be overhauled in the coming changes.