Auto Chess game on PC will be exclusive to Epic Games Store

Valve probably isn’t happy with Drodo Studio right now.

The creators of the hugely popular Dota Auto Chess custom game mode parted ways with Valve earlier this year to create a mobile version of the game. This Dota-free version of Auto Chess is now ready to be ported to PC and it will be exclusive to Epic Games Store. The news was announced during PC Gamer’s E3 keynote with a trailer that gives a first look at the PC version of the game.

It’s a crazy turn of events for what has been an incredibly active E3 for Auto Chess.

The custom game mode arrived in the Dota 2 arcade in January and sparked a resurgence in popularity for the title. It has attracted nearly 9 million players to date and has developed its own unique community and competitive scene distinct from Dota 2.

Although Valve was apparently working alongside Drodo Studio to create a standalone version of the game for Steam, news broke that the developer has instead teamed up with Imba TV and Long Mobile to create a mobile version of the game. Auto Chess featured the same gameplay, but all Dota 2 references had been removed, with familiar characters replaced by cartoonish look-alikes.

Valve acknowledged that it was unable to come to terms with Drodo to create its own standalone Auto Chess, but gave the company its blessing in a statement on the official Dota 2 blog. breakup seemed to be amicable, it probably isn’t now.

Earlier this year, Fortnite publisher Epic Games launched its own digital storefront, the Epic Games Store. The company has taken a series of aggressive steps to make the service a legitimate competitor to Steam, including offering a favorable revenue split for developers and guaranteeing limited exclusivity to a number of high-profile PC releases, including Borderlands 3 and Metro Exodus.

This irritated a number of players and also led to some grumbling from Valve itself. In the case of Auto Chess, the company can’t just watch the game slip through its fingers and land in the hands of its growing rival.

However, Valve isn’t completely out of the Auto Chess business. The game remains available on Dota 2, and the company has also announced plans to create its own separate Auto Chess-style game. Unfortunately for both parties, the genre is set to get even more crowded in the near future as Riot Games has announced its own Auto Chess-inspired spin-off for League of Legends, titled Teamfight Tactics.

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