Valve has announced that Artifact development is coming to an end, but it's not all bad news — this digital collectible card game will remain available on Steam for the foreseeable future.
Artifact is a collectible card game set in the Dota 2 universe. It had a rather weak launch and Valve made the decision to reevaluate its plans for the game, most recently revealing some details about a planned reboot late last year. Unfortunately, it looks like the game's various issues are never going to be truly resolved: Artifact as we know it is dead.
Why is Artifact Development Ending?
Artifact development is ending for one sad, simple reason: it couldn't establish a strong enough playerbase to justify development costs.
"It's now been about a year and a half since the current Artifact team began work on a reboot in earnest," read a Steam Community news post from the development team. "While we're reasonably satisfied we accomplished most of our game-side goals, we haven't managed to get the active player numbers to a level that justifies further development at this time. As such, we've made the tough decision to stop development on the Artifact 2.0 Beta."
What this means is that Artifact is (and will remain) an unfinished game, although most of what's missing from the planned reboot are in the areas of art and other bits of polish. There won't be any significant new content coming down the pipeline. That said, there is the matter of all that work Valve has already done on the reboot — and there's where the good news comes in.
What Happens with Artifact Now?
Although Valve has decided to end Artifact development, it's not pulling the game from Stream. Instead, it will be shifting this digital CCG to a totally free-to-play model.
Going forward, anyone and everyone with a Steam account will be able to play Artifact for free. Every single card is also available for free — you won't have to worry about buying or unlocking card packs to build out your deck.
Gamers who put money into Artifact Classic will get a bonus, too — their existing cards have been converted into special "Collector's Edition" versions which can be traded on the Steam Market. They'll also be able to earn packs of Collector's Edition Cards by playing the game.
Valve is also releasing Artifact Foundry, a version that implements many of the updates and changes that the game's development team has been working on for the better part of the year. This version of Artifact will also be free-to-play, although you'll have to unlock cards through normal gameplay; you can read about the differences between the two versions on this event page.
The ending of Artifact development is a sad day for CCG fans who hoped that Valve could get the game back on its feet, but the release of two free-to-play versions should ease the sting of this announcement somewhat. You can play Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry for free on Steam right now.
Are you sad to see the end of Artifact development? Where do you think Valve dropped the ball with this digital CCG? Let us know in the comments below!