Richard Garfield is working on Valve’s Artifact

“Hooray! Valve’s going to start shipping games again,” studio head honcho Gabe Newell has exclaimed. During a recent press preview event for Artifact, cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer reports, Newell said that the upcoming Dota 2 card game spin-off “is the first of several games that are going to be coming from us.” What those others might be is a mystery, but this is the sort of quote that gets certain people all in a tizzy so I’ll say it at the start and you can sit here fizzing away.

For people who don’t go weak at the knees any time they see a crowbar, hey, this is hot: the Artifact team includes Richard Garfield, the designer behind such fine card and board games as Magic: The Gathering, the original Netrunner, and King Of Tokyo. Ooh!

I’ve not been that interested in Artifact but hearing of Garfo’s involvement did make me try to raise an eyebrow. I failed to do so but ooh! Magic is why I am wary of playing card games, because it consumed my thoughts and so very much of my money for so long. So… good?

PC Gamer played Artifact and explain it and assess it and all that. It’s MOBA-ish, in that action is divided across three different screens representing the three lanes, players need to smash through towers to reach the enemy base, heroes get items, and… it’s interesting. They also say that, unlike many digital card games, it will let players swap and sell their collected cards through Steam’s trading and community market.

Those of you who have been shouting “OMG HALF-LIFE THREE?” since the first line can get out. Let’s be calm about this. Valve have muttered plenty of times over the years that they’re working on games. Newell said in 2017 that Valve had three full VR games on the go. They’ve muttered about making singleplayer games. They’ve papered their office walls with concept art for mystery games. They’ve supposedly tried to make Episode 3 so many times. But until they have something to show, I don’t really care. There are so many other wonderful things going on in games that people obsessing over Valve’s mysteries is disheartening. Yes I am very tired on a Friday, okay.

PCG report that in declaring Valve were going to start shipping games again, Newell also said that their recent focus on Steam and hardware has been “an investment in the future”. Now they have platforms and hardware they can’t be locked out of by corporate whims, they can make their own hardware, and… maybe they’ll do something neat with their combined software and hardware expertise. Dunno. Whatever.

I took that screenshot up top off PC Gamer and if they want to fight me I WILL preemptively challenge deputy editor Philippa Warr.


  1. Winged Nazgul says:

    Time was Richard Garfield’s name attached to a project was enough to get me to buy in to said project. But then Solforge happened and, now, once bitten twice shy.

    • AngoraFish says:

      The problem with SolForge wasn’t the game design (which was fantastic), it was the coding (which was abysmal).

      Also, Richard Garfield ‘consulted’ early on for the game and lent his name to the Kickstarter, but it’s far from clear that he’d had any involvement in the operation of Stone Blade Entertainment for years, if ever.

      Don’t confuse Garfield with SBE CEO Justin Gary, whose ambition unquestionably far exceeded his both his technical and management ability and resources.

      In this case, Garfield is on a near guaranteed winner, since the one thing that we can say about games that Valve do release is that technically, every single one of them is absolutely top notch.

  2. Evan_ says:

    OMG! Half-Life 3 confirmed, and it’s a CCG!

  3. int says:


  4. Abacus says:

    The first announcement didn’t inspire much hope, but thinking more about it I am warming to the idea. The thought that they are going to try and distill some of the tactics and strategy in Dota and put it into a 1v1, commander versus commander format, is really exciting. Out of all the ARTS games out there, DOTAs approach to abilities and balance is a masterstroke.

    I have high hopes. It’s good to hear that it will promote proper trading too. Loot boxes have gotten a lot of bad press but TF2’s and DOTA’s aren’t so bad because you can buy/trade for the items you want rather than rely on RNG. It would be nice if more games took that approach but most of thr ‘services’ that feature loot boxes don’t use Steam, they lack the infrastructure.

    • mitrovarr says:

      Combining buyable lootboxes with player trading is dangerous, in terms of getting legislative attention. When you can trade, you can sell items for real money. Tie that to buyable lootboxes, and you can basically gamble for real money, with real money, with the game item as a disposable intermediary. It’s hard to argue how that is different from standard online gambling, just because the chips are now hats or cards or whatever.

  5. DatonKallandor says:

    It’ll be a CCG and anybody who complains about lootboxes but doesn’t complain about CCGs is a hypocrite of the highest order. CCGs are predatory and inherently bad for the consumer – and it’s not like a fair and better playing alternative (LCG) hasn’t been developer either.

    • Evan_ says:

      I feel with you. I love CCGs and I barely play any. But their business models are slowly crawling towards reasonable. One day the Path of Exiles and Warframes and alikes of CCGs will appear, and they’ll be a blast.

      Hey Valve, could you be the one? One would think you has our money already anyways. :)

      • emotionengine says:

        I remember when Faeria was first released and before it went F2P, the base game already gave you a number of cards/rewards, but you also had the option to buy out the entire available deck for something like $50. This was (still is?) unprecedented for a CCG, I think, but I don’t know if they changed this option afterwards.

    • April March says:

      I complain about both, even though I play games with both models. Am I a hypocrite?

  6. Hunchback says:


  7. Skabooga says:

    That’s the best ending disclaimer text. Although if you initiate the challenge, Pip gets to decide the weapons/games used.

  8. Hoot says:

    If it’s not Half Life 3 (or Episode 3) then I honestly couldn’t give a flying fook at a rolling donut.

    Sorry Valve. Sorry legitimately interested folks. Sorry everyone else for being “that guy”.

    It’s only a product of fear. My fear that any future Half Life game has, in the minds of most fans, already gone into the realm of “hyped beyond what can be reasonably attained”, just like DNF (nevermind that DNF was actually just a bad game and a couple of decades out of touch).

    • April March says:

      “Hyped beyond what can be reasonably attained” means, at this point, for Half Life 3, “existent”.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    I’m over getting excited for more Half Life at this point (all the writers leaving definitively killed it for me) but I’m very curious to see what Nintendo-like combined hardware + software design from Valve (other than fancy goggles) could look like.

  10. PiiSmith says:

    Richard Garfield working on this has me interested, because of history with board games. The DOTA 2 theme does nothing for me.