KeyForge goes on pause: what’s going on?

A sudden and unexpected announcement struck many of us on Friday night when Fantasy Flight Games announced that, for a while, KeyForge will pause. But what is really happening to KeyForge?

Let’s try to reconstruct together the story of what seems to have happened to Richard Garfield’s title and which, at the present time, still leaves many doubts about how the story unfolded.

KeyForge pauses

The statement released by the Minnesota company begins by talking about the difficult year that has just passed, which has upset everyone’s life and so that of the many fans of the card game set on the Crucible.

This did not allow FFG, as well as its collaborating companies that locate KeyForge around the world (in Italy Asmodee), to be able to honor the title as they would have liked: the great gatherings and tournaments, the true fulcrums of titles like this, have been stopped by the pandemic. And now that it seemed that, slowly, the world was preparing to restart, a major “unexpected complication” has plagued the resumption of the game.

Here are the words of the press release:

The “unexpected complication” we mentioned earlier is that KeyForge’s deck building algorithm is broken, and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. This is neither an easy nor a quick process, which is why the game will be interrupted for a while. We would like to have better news on this, but the fact is that while the pandemic is not a factor in this situation, we cannot currently generate new game decks. We ask for your patience as we work to rebuild the unique deck creation engine in preparation for the game’s relaunch. And don’t worry, all existing decks will still be valid and playable when the game is relaunched.

An explanation on the nature of the problem, for those unfamiliar with KeyForge, is due.

KeyForge is built using the innovative, and so far unique, mechanism ofunique deck: each deck produced by FFG is unique and, as they say about snowflakes, there is no such thing, and there will never be another like it. In order to be valid, each deck must be complete with each of its cards, as it was born from the algorithm of the publishing house. The creation of each deck respects the rules, such as the obligation to have within it 3 houses, a minimum and maximum number of creatures, artifacts and other types of cards. These creation rules, which eliminate from the huge range of possibilities too strong, too weak decks and forbidden combinations, is described by an algorithm, obviously kept secret, owned by Fantasy Flight Games. And it is precisely this algorithm that, in some way, has now failed.

What really happened to Keyforge?

Now let’s leave the official statements and enter the field of inferences. So let’s take them as such.

Shortly before the official release was published, a Reddit user posted a post, which was later deleted. In the post, still visible on WebArchive (when they tell you that if something ends up on the internet it stays there forever, believe it) the user just now not only anticipated the news on the subreddit dedicated to the game of Richard Garfield; but it also gave an explanation of what, at least from what was reported to him by phantom friends within FFG, had happened.

According to this user, the KeyForge algorithm problem would be due to FFG losing the algorithm due to the firing of some staff members.

It is not clear whether (always second just now) whether it is a deliberate sabotage or not; the fact is that it is very unlikely that the KeyForge algorithm did not have numerous local or remote backup copies. If this were true, it would mean that the fired employee (s) would have had high-level access within the company.

Although the source of the news is uncertain and arguably reliable, it is also true that it must be said that, usually, algorithms do not “break”. Until FFG decides to shed more light on the story, hypotheses like these will be as valid as any other even if, in this case, the timing of the post on Reddit is at least singular.

The mysterious prophet then betrayed himself with the last sentence of the post, in which the author invites readers to “sell the decks while they still have value”. Even if KeyForge had known its definitive end, as it is not, does the gentleman not know that the decks of the game, like the paintings of a painter who leaves this life, would only have seen their value increase dramatically?

What will be the future of KeyForge?

Whatever the cause, the news of the KeyForge break is now official. But, as Fantasy Flight Games pointed out, followed closely by an unofficial comment by Lorenzo Fanelli of Asmodee, administrator of the KeyForge Italia Facebook page, it is a temporary pause, not a definitive stop.

In the same release that contained the bad news, FFG gave the good news that the sixth set of KeyForge, Winds of Exchange, has finished its development phase; if it weren’t for the algorithm issue, the sixth set would have been available as early as this fall. Unfortunately we will have to wait a little longer to be able to play it, but in the meantime Fantasy Flight hopes that players will be able to find new ways to play KeyForge digitally. It is always news a few hours ago, in fact, that it is being discussed with the developer Stainless Games the project for the realization of the digital edition of KeyForge!

In short, KeyForge is not dead… long live KeyForge!

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