Over the past couple of weeks, Valve's been chatting more openly about its attempts to reboot Artifact, with discussions about changes to the game's economy taking centre stage. In a new blog post, however, the devs have gone into more detail about their attempts to change the game - and some of the placeholder art is... pretty special.
Take Mirana, for example. The Dota 2 hero rides a huge feline familiar into battle, and the devs have clearly attempted to capture the close bond between the pair with their artwork, which literally layers Mirana's face over that of her battlecat, all with a wry smile towards the player.
Wraith King gets similar treatment, although his visage is a little more aggressive than Mirana's. I also really like his signature Hellfire Blast card, which looks like something out of an animated YouTube series from the mid-00s.
A few of the cards have a little more in the way of line work, shading, and actual colour attached to them, and while those are charming in their own way, I'm more enamoured by the simple things, like this Morphling Whelp:
Whether Valve manages to regain any of the interest in Artifact remains to be seen. I enjoyed it on release, but I'm pretty sure its failure was decided the moment it was first announced. With this level of artistic detail on show, however, perhaps they'll rekindle the magic.