I'm not entirely sure if this means they're giving up on Artifact entirely, but it sure doesn't sound great. I guess he was technically a contractor and not an actual Valve employee, but it sure seems weird to put him to pasture now that the game only has a couple hundred active players.
"We weren't surprised by the layoff considering how rocky the launch was," Garfield said, "the team was enthusiastic about the game and were confident that they had a good product but it became clear it wasn't going to be easy to get the game to where we wanted it."
Speaking of his own departure from Valve, Garfield said it "makes sense".
"... now that the game is out there time is more critical, so more voices within the team that you have to navigate may not be as good as making less considered decisions faster."
That sounds a lot like "I disagreed with the direction Valve wanted to go in and they decided to get rid of me." I have to assume they are working hard to rejigger the game as a full free-to-play experience, but it might also be true that they're just going to let it fade into Bolivian. Guess we'll find out if they just don't do anything in the next few months!