Tomonobu Itagaki, former head of Koei Tecmo’s Team Ninja, has a new studio. He’s also working on a new game, called Warrior, an NFT Massive Multiplayer Online RPG (MMORPG). Itagaki’s new studio, called Apex Game Studios, will specialize in developing “triple-A Web3 titles.” “Web3” is a catchphrase for blockchain-related internet technologies, including NFTs (non-fungible tokens), cryptocurrencies, and “decentralized finances.” Virtual reality social and commercial spaces like the “Metaverse” are often classified as part of “Web3” but don’t necessarily require blockchain or cryptocurrency technology to work. Warrior is built on the Unreal engine and slated for initial release early in 2023, with mobile platforms and PC targeted.
Actual details about how Warrior will play or what it will look like are sparse, though. The official site contains some copy laying out the premise of the game, which is that players are on a journey to claim the power of the “King Warrior.” Gameplay descriptions promise an upgrade system using randomly generated gear, “tribal territory,” and “mob servants” that can be traded back and forth. Much of the site’s content is dedicated to explaining the Warrior NFT economy.
The main Warrior NFT items are called “Mob Servants.” There will be over 100 different types, with randomly assigned ranks that determine their power. Mob Servants can be improved and customized, as well as traded for WGT, one of the game’s two custom cryptocurrencies. Players can earn WGT through regular play, generating it through game activity, then use it as a currency for trade and redeem it to unlock certain activities. A second currency called WDT is limited and used for “governance and utility.” Players can earn small amounts of WDT through competition, but it’s to be purchased with other cryptocurrencies and used to make decisions about the game itself, allegedly giving players more say in Warrior‘s management on a macro level.
All in all, the Warrior NFT economy seems similar to the one used by Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds. Managed by NetMarble, that game uses crypto tokens for various in-game functions. The tokens can be “farmed” and sold for other cryptocurrencies that can theoretically be sold on for useful “fiat” currency (such as US dollars). In his initial impressions of the game, Kazuma criticized the game’s aggressive monetization.
Warrior comes just as NFT trading has hit a 12-month low. Cryptocurrencies in general have seen a major crash in notional value since their peak in late 2021. Crypto markets have lost close to $2 trillion USD in alleged value over the past 7 months. Crypto integration in games has also proven controversial for many due to concerns over blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Larger companies like Square Enix and Bandai Namco expressed some enthusiasm for NFT and blockchain games. However, they’ve slowed, reversed, or outright abandoned plans in the face of overwhelming public backlash.
Warrior is in development and planned for an early 2023 release on PC and mobile platforms.