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Valve layoff includes Artifact designer Richard Garfield

Richard Garfield, the designer of Artifact and creator of Magic: The Gathering, was among the 13 staff laid off from Valve.


Valve doesn't release first-party projects very often but, when it does, a big splash is anticipated. Such was the anticipation for Artifact, a digital card game based on DOTA 2 and designed by Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering. Sadly, the future doesn't look bright for the game. Richard Garfield was among the 13 employees laid off at Valve last week.

Former valve employee Richard Garfield magic the gathering artifact designer layoff
Richard Garfield

Richard Garfield and Skaff Elias, the former vice president of Magic: The Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast, are both no longer under contract with Valve, PC Gamer reports.

"We weren't surprised by the layoff considering how rocky the launch was," Garfield told Artibuff, the Artifact-focused publication that reached out to him about the layoffs. "The team was enthusiastic about the game and we're 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. The layoff makes sense for a number of reasons. To name a couple; now that the game is out there time is more critical, so more voices within the team that you have to navigate may not be as good as making less considered decisions faster. Another - the expertise that 3 donkeys brought is less critical after listening to us for 4+ years."

Garfield seems to imply that Valve hasn't given up on Artifact and that the continued development could benefit from not having more dividing voices on staff. He outright states that his and Elias' expertise is no longer needed, but it will be interesting still to see how Valve proceeds from this point forward. Artifact has a "Mixed" rating overall with 445 recent reviews leaning "Mostly Negative," so it will be an uphill battle. You can read our full Artifact review to see what we thought of "MOBA of card games."

Artifact is available now on Steam. If you're wanting to give the game a shot, remaining hopeful that Valve can turn it around, check out our 5 tips for Artifact beginners guide. Stay tuned to Shacknews for additional gaming and tech updates.

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 11, 2019 7:35 AM

    Charles Singletary Jr posted a new article, Valve layoff includes Artifact designer Richard Garfield

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      March 11, 2019 8:21 AM

      Is it a layoff when he sends in his notice to leave the company on his own loudly proclaiming "Don't call me again, fuckos!" on his way out?

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      March 11, 2019 8:21 AM

      Wasn't this posted last week on shack news? I swore I saw it on my shack facebook feed

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        March 11, 2019 8:37 AM

        I know I posted about it in Chatty.

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        March 11, 2019 8:43 AM

        Nope. We just write about layoffs so often, that you probably confused it with another story.

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          March 11, 2019 8:53 AM

          Maybe so. Maybe I just assume all game stories come from the shack.

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      March 11, 2019 9:03 AM

      wait, garfield was actually employed by valve?

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        March 11, 2019 9:05 AM

        Yes, he designed Artifact.

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        March 11, 2019 9:09 AM

        Yup, but he hated Mondays, so they had to let him go

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          March 11, 2019 9:11 AM

          I thought it was because he kept eating all the lasagna

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            March 11, 2019 11:20 AM

            Valve, like many west coast tech companies provides free food, including lasagna so that wasn't much of an issue.

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              March 11, 2019 7:19 PM

              I also heard it was because he kept shipping that cute young intern "nermal" to abu dhabi in a box

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      March 11, 2019 9:27 AM

      Whyyyyyy didn't they make Artifact free-to-play. Whyyyy.... its so obvious...

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      March 11, 2019 10:53 AM

      He had to be very expensive to hire and keep on.

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        March 11, 2019 7:09 PM

        Maybe they can drop the entrance fee now that they’re not paying him!

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