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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.

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