Here’s a bit of unexpected news: Valve have decided to cancel Artifact 2.0, cease development indefinitely, and make the entire project F2P. That’s not exactly what any of us expected, although it does make sense in the grand scheme of things. Artifact, simply put, never got off the ground.
And it’ll remain a mystery as to why things unravelled the way they did.
So what happened? Well, in short, it seems like everyone lost interest. Developing a game requires a metric ton of effort and, of course, an equal amount of financial backing. If there isn’t enough interest from the players then there’s no way whatsoever that a developer (Valve, in this case) can rightfully justify any further investment in Artifact’s future (which was always in a precarious position to begin with).
The current dev team started working on a reboot last year, and while they’ve been satisfied with their progress thus far, they failed to generate enough buzz and get the active player base to a level that would warrant further development. So, as a result, they’ve decided to abandon the game entirely.
Going forward, both versions of the game (the original Artifact Classic and the Artifact 2.0 Beta, now renamed Artifact Foundry) will be free-to-play.
A Quick Rundown
All cards in-game will be unlocked right from the very get-go. You’ll no longer be able to invest money into the game, and if you happened to have purchased any cards back when Artifact was first released, they’ll now be converted into special Collector’s Edition variants which, of course, will still be marketable. Finally, any paid event tickets have now been removed from the game.
Artifact Foundry is technically an unfinished product, but that’s only from a design standpoint — the core gameplay is both finalized and fairly polished.
A Failed Experiment
Valve’s decision is definitely justified, although it’s still a bitter pill to swallow. Artifact, while undeniably flawed in a myriad of ways, still had its own allure. Unfortunately, allure by itself isn’t enough. Frankly speaking, Valve was always going to face an uphill battle and the route they went for didn’t make a whole lot of sense in the first place.
In the end, their take on the CCG genre wasn’t as interesting as they thought. Artifact was never going to redefine the genre, but there was more than enough space for it on the market. Still, this is a sobering reminder that not all projects make it through, regardless of who’s developing them.