Artifact Lead Designer Richard Garfield. Recently, the gaming company based in Bellevue, Washington laid off 13 full-time employees and some of their contractors, but they didn't specify who was among the people no longer working at their company. We now know that Richard Garfield is among those let go.
Richard Garfield originally came on board to serve as the Artifact Lead Designer. You may not be familiar with him, but you probably are familiar with Magic: The Gathering. This is the card game that shot him to prominence and firmly established the genre. Valve probably picked the perfect person to head up the design of a brand-new card game. Unfortunately, troubles have plagued their entry in the genre since launch. Chief among the concerns are the microtransaction system that doesn't really give players any way to earn cards in-game. Indeed, this downside was one of the few negative points highlighted in our review.
"We weren't surprised by the layoff considering how rocky the launch was," Richard Garfield told Artibuff in an e-mail. "[T]he 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."
Some may wonder if the layoff of the Artifact Lead Designer is a bad sign for the game. Garfield doesn't believe so. "[T]he expertise that [my company Three Donkeys] brought is less critical after listening to us for 4+ years," he continued. "Both [fellow Three Donkeys employee Skaff Elias] 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."
The Artifact Lead Designer may no longer be working at Valve in an official capacity, but Garfield is still keen to help them shape the game in the future. It's clear that Artifact is having some difficulties. Hopefully, Valve will be able to turn things around before it's too late.
What do you think of Richard Garfield being laid off by Valve? Do you think this is a bad sign for the game? Let us know in the comments below!