Duelyst, a project by Counterplay Games that promised a card game with online multiplayer, raised $137,707 on Kickstarter in 2014 “Squad-Based Tactical Combat with Competitive Play at a Higher Level. brought to you by Rogue Legacy and Diablo III veterans.” During the beta, interest in Counterplay’s pixel aesthetic and intricate combination of cards and turn-based strategy was high, and after the game’s release, Bandai Namco agreed to publish it. The good times didn’t last, as Duelyst’s servers were shut down three years later. Godfall, a looter-slasher, will be Counterplay’s upcoming release.
But the tale of the Duelyst is not over yet. Counterplay (who still owns the rights to Duelyst) granted fans at independent company Dream Sloth a license and most of the source code, and they are currently working on a relaunch dubbed Duelyst 2. Players get two cards after each turn instead of one since it is based on the Duelyst beta rather than the launch version, among other changes.
The two-card draw was a popular feature of Duelyst in the beta, allowing for quick, combo-driven play, but it was challenging to balance around. When you could play two mid-priced cards per turn without diminishing your hand, cards that cost a lot of mana were rarely worthwhile to use, and cards that synergized well were even better if you could get both at once. (A rule that allowed you to draw from the deck once every turn in exchange for a card in your hand made that worse.)
Duelyst 2 will be accessible for free. Dream Sloth gave the following explanation of the game’s commercialization on Discord: “Both cards and cosmetic goods will be sold, however, compared to Duelyst, cards will be quicker and easier to obtain without spending any money. To complement the more generous f2p model, we intend to add more cosmetic items that may be purchased. This will enable players who like to support the game with in-game purchases to do so.”