Valve finally announces a new game...
If you play PC games you probably use developer Valve's digital distribution platform Steam. You might even play one of its massively popular competitive games, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Dota 2, the latter of which is currently holding its annual esports event, The International, in Seattle.
But despite being hugely successful, it's been awhile since Valve actually developed a new video game. Fans of the game series that put the company on the map , Half-Life, feel particularly abandoned.
The last entry in the series, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, came out a decade ago and fans have waited for word on a sequel ever since. The anticipation for Half-Life 3 is so great that it frequently leads to misunderstandings and obnoxious interviews with Valve CEO Gabe Newell.
So when Valve told thousands of fans attending The International it was about to announce a new game, anticipation was high. The lights went down, the screen flickered to life and sound filled the arena. Then Valve announced Artifact—a collectible card game based on Dota 2.
Dota 2 fan and Twitter user Nickisnixed was there and he captured the whole thing on video. You can hear the disappointment hit the crowd at first, then it starts to clap like it's warming up to the idea. It's not exactly the kind of reaction a developer wants when it's revealing it's newest game:
"It was a pretty deflating for me in the moment," Nickisnixed told Motherboard via Twitter direct message. "Even if the game idea itself might be interesting. Valve is one of the most secretive and surprising companies that for them to announce something so typical...it just felt like getting a sweater for your christmas."
Nickisnixed said the announcement confused the crowd. Other fans near him felt it was a poor way to introduce a new game. Which makes sense, because the video is an awful tease. It's just a logo, a brief description of the game, and the year 2018. After the disappointment waned, Nick and other fans admitted they'd give Artifact a shot. This is Valve, after all.
"There's definitely some interest in it," Nickisnixed said. "I doubt it'll be bad, it might even be a really good CCG [collectible card game], but it's a CCG and it feels like every single [major developer] has one of those these days. So it's just, like, the least exciting announcement."
"While I'm newer to Dota than my friend group (250 hrs as opposed to 2,500 hrs) I am not new to Valve games and felt a sense of confusion while sitting in KeyArena yesterday," Genevieve Barbee-Turner, who was also there for the reveal, told Motherboard in an email. "I'm sure this card game will be interesting and maybe I'll even check it out (the art especially) but this is the nail in the coffin for anything else non- Dota ever coming out of Valve which signals to me that the next Portal will have to be discovered and polished somewhere else (but where...?). This is a real loss."
While I definitely know how Barbee-Turner feels, Valve has actually never said it's never going to revisit its non- Dota 2, non- Counter-Strike games. So there's still a chance that one of these years, we'll sit down at The International, the lights will come down, and that orange Half-Life logo will appear on the screen. I want to believe.