Just when you believe a money-making scheme is about to fade away and recede into the depths of our minds, there invariably emerges that one individual or group that resurrects it. It particularly irks me when this pertains to fighting games, a genre seemingly tailor-made for squeezing out every last nickel and dime. It begins with the obligatory purchase of characters and costumes and then delves into the realm of bizarre microtransactions, such as gems or online passes. Currently, we are witnessing the infiltration of battle passes into fighting games, and I fervently hope that this trend subsides sooner rather than later.
NFTs and the Gaming Frontier: Yuga Labs’ Bold Web3 Experiment
One such scheme that didn’t appear to gain traction easily was the concept of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Up until now, there had been no significant efforts to integrate these enigmatic entities into the world of fighting games. It seemed like an effortless way to make a quick buck, yet no one ventured into that territory. Enter Yuga Labs, the developers behind acclaimed titles like Heavy Metal Forge and Dookie Dash. They have partnered with nWayPlayNFT (Battle for the Grid), Amimoca Brands, and ApeCoin. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll refer to nWay as the primary developers of this endeavor. They have boldly thrown their hat into the ring, embarking on the creation of the first Web3 fighting game… for reasons that remain somewhat unclear.
Upon viewing the game’s trailer, it’s easy to dismiss it as just another indie fighting game – no big deal. To be entirely fair to nWay, it doesn’t look bad. It might not possess the AAA-level quality they boast about, but it’s far from subpar. My only qualm with the trailer is the absence of a distinct effort to inform players that this is a Web3 game, apart from a fleeting reference to an “on-chain” leaderboard. Given their apparent pride in this aspect, one would expect a more upfront approach. The true nature of the game only becomes apparent when delving into the developer diaries, which shed more light on the project.
One might assume that an NFT-infused game would involve entire characters being transformed into NFTs. However, that’s not the case here. Instead, your mech’s individual parts serve as the NFTs. Your objective is to acquire ten parts intricately tied to your movesets, performance, and aesthetic. These parts can all be obtained within the “Megaverse,” after which you can engage in battles. But for what purpose? “On-chain rewards,” naturally! But what exactly does that entail? More NFTs for the Megaverse. So, if you’re inclined to partake in an NFT game for the sake of accruing more NFTs, then I suppose this is your cup of tea. However, it’s crucial to remember that this game’s value is inexorably linked to its success. If the game proves to be financially lackluster, these “investments” become utterly worthless.
Decoding Wreck League’s Future: Navigating the Fighting Gaming Landscape
My belief is that once people become more aware that this is an NFT-driven game, its prospects will dwindle. Nevertheless, those immersed in the Web3/NFT realm harbor some optimism. Wasif Rahman, senior manager at another Web3 developer Gala Games, has expressed his reservations about Wreck League’s potential for success. Firstly, the FGC (Fighting Game Community) has shown minimal interest in NFTs or Web3. Secondly, the success of Street Fighter 6. Thirdly, the marketing momentum of Project L. Frankly speaking, the latter two factors are significantly less relevant than the initial issue. The demand for this simply isn’t there. No amount of marketing can sway people to embrace a fighting game where assembling your character comes at a price, especially when titles like Mortal Kombat 1, SF6, and Guilty Gear Strive are either available or on the horizon. The competition within the fighting game domain is intensifying, and I’m confident in asserting that a NFT-based fighting game will find no foothold.
If you’ve skimmed through this and are primarily seeking the key takeaway, here it is: refrain from investing in this endeavor. Allow this game to meet its demise upon launch. Fighting games already contend with a plethora of unsavory monetization tactics. Let’s not permit NFTs to join their ranks. We’ve managed to avoid succumbing to this unfavorable trend for so long that it would be disheartening to see only the gullible and tech enthusiasts engage with this endeavor. I anticipate that a significant portion of readers might dismiss this sentiment, considering it unworthy of attention. Yet, the existence of this game stems from a belief in its market potential. I, for one, hope this belief remains unsubstantiated. Let this game fizzle out, preventing any further attempts of this nature.