It looks like Valve‘s digital card game, Artifact, is in a rougher patch than we thought. It’s been confirmed that legendary Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield was one of the contractors laid off in last week’s round of layoffs at the gaming giant.

In an email to Artifact fan site Artibuff, Garfield not only confirmed his departure from the Artifact team and Valve but also explained why he was laid off from the game which he actually designed in the first place. He revealed that the layoff was expected, due to the game’s worsening performance.

“We weren’t surprised by the layoff considering how rocky the launch was, the team was enthusiastic about the game and were confident that they had a good product but it became clear it wasn’t going to be easy to get the game to where we wanted it. The layoff makes sense for a number of reasons.

To name a couple; now that the game is out there time is more critical, so more voices within the team that you have to navigate may not be as good as making less considered decisions faster. Another – the expertise that 3 donkeys brought is less critical after listening to us for 4+ years.”

Though Artifact received generally positive reviews by critics, it now sits at ‘Mostly Negative’ on Steam. While the game started out in November 2018 with thousands of concurrent players, it has dipped to averaging around a measly 600 concurrent players in the past week, according to statistics provided by Steam Charts.

Despite having to leave the development team, Garfield said that he will still be supporting Artifact however he can because he wants the game to “do as well as we think it can”. That’s great news for the few fans who remain faithful to the Dota 2 spinoff game.

“Both Skaff and I remain optimistic about the quality of the game and have offered our feedback and advice in an ongoing gratis capacity simply because we would like to see the game do as well as we think it can. We enjoyed working with Valve and I was impressed with their relentless focus on the quality of the game and experience being offered to the player.”

We’ll have to wait and see how this will impact the game’s future, and if it can survive an uncertain road without its creator. It all depends on Valve’s decisions from now on.



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