Valve seem to be ready to release another game that started out as a mod. This time around it is Auto Chess that was originally made by Drodo Studios and unlike the latter's mobile game, Valve's version will be fully based on Dota 2.
Drodo Studios' Dota Auto Chess (DAC) has not gone unnoticed. In fact, it would be a major surprise if it did, considering the massive amount of attention DAC has been garnering on streaming platforms. While many have heard of the mod by now, not everyone did.
If you are in the latter group, it is a custom game mode in Dota 2 where eight players get a random pool of Dota 2 heroes to place on an 8x8 chessboard. The heroes then duke it out automatically, until only one player's hero or heroes remain.
It seems to be a birth of a new genre that could potentially start a new trend, the way MOBAs did back in the day. Valve have noticed this and they want in on the gig. They originally trademarked the name Dota Underlords which immediately sparked rumours about an official Auto Chess game.
Instead, each of the two parties will make their own Auto Chess game with apparent support between them. Drodo's game is a mobile one but without Dota licensing so the heroes will be different.
Valve's game will retain the license and it seems like the game will remain on PC and will be developed "with Drodo's blessing".
Considering that Valve decided to support Drodo's further updates on the original DAC, it is highly likely that Dota Underlords will be a free to play game. It still remains to be seen how they will go about the monetisation and whether they will run the game into the ground the same way they did with Artifact.