Dota Auto Chess is one of the surprise hits of 2019: a unique Arcade mode that turns a demanding MOBA into an approachable turn-based game of strategy and luck. Soon you won't even need to install Dota 2 to play it, as Valve confirmed on the Dota 2 Blog that it's working on a standalone version of Auto Chess with the blessing of the team behind the original mode.
You may have already heard about (perhaps even registered for) the mobile Auto Chess game - that's the one the original Auto Chess team is working on, and it features all-new characters rather than being based on the existing Dota intellectual property. Valve's version will be a separate, standalone product in the Dota world, much like how Artifact is a digital card game that uses the characters and settings of Dota 2. Side note: that is the first (and will likely be the last) time I've thought about Artifact in 2019.
Why not just team up and make one big, new Auto Chess with the familiar characters in front and the original creators behind the scenes? Valve explained why it wasn't in the cards (or on the board) in its blog post.
"So in February we flew the Drodo team over from China to chat about the future of Dota Auto Chess, and to see if they’d want to collaborate directly with us (this was also during one of the worst weeks of snow we’ve had in years, sorry about that, Drodo). We had great conversations, but we both came to the conclusion that Valve and Drodo could not work directly with each other for a variety of reasons. We ended up agreeing that we’ll each build our own stand-alone version of the game, and support each other to the fullest."
It's an unusual arrangement, but as long as Auto Chess sticks to mobile platforms and Dota Auto Chess is only on PC, it could work out fine. Hopefully this early collaboration will keep things from getting as weird as they did with that whole Dota copyright situation.
See what else is on the way this year and beyond with our list of new games. Or while you're here, check out everything big in games and entertainment this week with our latest Release Radar video.