Forget for one moment the horrific bleeding of Artifact’s playerbase — now the digital card game has lost its most high-profile designer.
We are just now discovering that Magic: The Gathering’s Richard Garfield was among the dozen or so employees that Valve terminated this past February in the well-publicized round of layoffs at the Steam company. In addition to the loss of Garfield, his fellow Wizards of the Coast designer Skaff Elias also got a pink slip.
Garfield said that the contract termination “made sense:” “We weren’t surprised by the layoff considering how rocky the launch was, the 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.”
Artifact hasn’t been performing that well, to put it kindly. The digital card game has dropped from a daily average of 11,000 players in December to around 573 right now. Valve hasn’t posted any updates or talked about the game since late January.