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Valve Pauses ‘Artifact’ Updates to Focus on Game’s ‘Deep-Rooted Issues’

Valve’s collectible trading card game “Artifact” hasn’t been the success the developer hoped it would be, but the company isn’t giving up yet, they’re just changing tactics.

In a blog post on Friday, Valve said that the company is going to refocus its efforts on the game on fixing larger issues.

“Moving forward, we’ll be heads-down focusing on addressing these larger issues instead of shipping updates,” according to the post. “While we expect this process of experimentation and development to take a significant amount of time, we’re excited to tackle this challenge and will get back to you as soon as we are ready.”

Valve said that when they launched the game they expected it would be the beginning of a long journey, “that it would lay the foundation for years to come.”

Based on that expectation, according to the post, the company planned to immediately dive into its normal strategy of shipping a series of updates driven by a dialog with community members.

“Obviously, things didn’t turn out how we hoped,” according to the post. “‘Artifact’ represents the largest discrepancy between our expectations for how one of our games would be received and the actual outcome. But we don’t think that players misunderstand our game, or that they’re playing it wrong. ‘Artifact’ now represents an opportunity for us to improve our craft and use that knowledge to build better games.”

Valve said it’s spent the time since launch carefully examining how players interact with the game.

“It has become clear that there are deep-rooted issues with the game and that our original update strategy of releasing new features and cards would be insufficient to address them,” according to the post. “Instead, we believe the correct course of action is to take larger steps, to re-examine the decisions we’ve made along the way regarding game design, the economy, the social experience of playing, and more.”

The news comes about a half a month after Valve laid off game designer Richard Garfield as part of downsizing efforts at the company.

Garfield said at the time he wasn’t surprised by the layoff given how “rocky the game’s launch was.”

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