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Valve is rebooting Artifact, according to Gabe Newell

The changes are so big the developer is calling it Artifact 2 internally

artwork of Artifact heroes riding cards Image: Valve
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Artifact was an unmitigated disaster. Valve’s attempt at joining the card game genre didn’t take off the way the developer had hoped, but that doesn’t mean it’s giving up quite yet. In a recent interview with Edge Magazine, Valve co-founder and CEO Gabe Newell said that the company is working on a massive update for the Dota 2 collectible card game.

Newell told Edge that the update is going to be a “larger reboot,” which he thinks is necessary in order to justify its existence to players. Newell admitted that Valve was surprised when the first version of the game was met with a negative response, and he refers to it as a failed experiment. But he said that the team is now working on taking all the things that players didn’t like and fixing them in the new version.

Artifact debuted in December 2018 to a lukewarm reception. As players got more experience with the game’s mechanics and its marketplace, that reception grew cold, and the player base began to disappear completely. In March 2019, Valve suspended further updates for the game, in favor of stepping back and considering large-scale changes. By May, the game’s Twitch channel was so barren that it became a meme to stream all kinds of illicit videos under the Artifact category.

Since then, Valve has remained largely quiet on Artifact — until this story from Edge. While Newell declared that Valve is now working on a major overhaul, it’s not entirely clear if that will take the form of an update for the original game, or a full sequel. Edge reports that Valve is referring to the project as Artifact 2 internally, but it’s unclear if that’s because it’s actually a sequel, or just because it brings so many changes to the game.

There’s no word yet on when this update, or new game, might be released, but Newell did use the phrase “getting ready to release” when talking about the development team’s progress. While his choice of words may be tantalizing, it could mean just about anything, so we’ll have to wait for Valve to provide more information publicly to know for sure when this revamped version of Artifact will be available.

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