Duelyst source code is now free for everyone, 'no strings attached'

Nearly three years after its doors closed, collectible card game Duelyst returned in December 2022 as Duelyst 2, an updated version of the game created by a team of fans who were given a license to make the game from original developer Counterplay Games. Now Counterplay is expanding that opportunity to everyone: The studio announced today that it is making the Duelyst source code and assets free for everyone to use in whatever way they'd like.

"The truth is, to this day we still look back fondly at what our little game achieved, and reminisce with our community on Reddit and Discord," Counterplay Games lead producer Richard Heyne told PC Gamer. "We are even following some Duelyst inspired games and projects! Through it all, one thought strongly resonated within our minds—people are still talking about Duelyst.

"We are experiencing some major changes in our industry: new technologies and consoles, and even massive consolidations that have occurred over the past couple of years. While only time will tell how these changes will alter the landscape, these shifts can potentially hit indie developers the hardest. That's why we want to recognize that these developers, be they sole individuals or small teams, are vital for the growth and diversity of our industry."

Heyne said that one relatively simple (but also rare) way that established studios can support aspiring developers is to release the source code from their older games, so newcomers have the opportunity to experiment and "build their own dream projects and games." A couple of early projects based on the Duelyst source are already in the works, and Heyne expressed particular gratitude to Dream Sloth Games for its work on making Duelyst 2 happen.

We liked Duelyst quite a bit when it debuted in 2016, calling it "gorgeous tactics card game that's simple to pick up but has significant depth" in our 84% review. It had a pretty good run over the next four years, but the CCG genre is a tough place, and in January 2020 Counterplay announced that the servers were being taken offline—and since Duelyst was an online-only game, that was the end of it. The fan-developed return of the game as Duelyst 2 was great news for players who miss the original, but the release of the source code and assets could potentially open the door to even more interesting things in the future. 

"There are no strings attached," Heyne said. "All the source code and game assets are for you to use and for the community to leverage how they like. There’s no approval or permission from us, and you can grow, sustain, and monetize it however you would like. Enjoy and have fun!"

If you'd like to take a poke around to see what's what, the Duelyst source code and assets are available now from Github. To keep up with the state of Duelyst's open-source future, and maybe get involved with a project or two, head over to the OpenDuelyst Discord server.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.