Our biweekly roundup for the Web3 gaming community, featuring news, reviews and the latest on new releases.
Storybook Brawl shuts down servers
Months after the spectacular collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire, the casualties keep coming.
Good Luck Games, the creators of Storybook Brawl – reportedly disgraced FTX CEO Bankman-Fried’s second-favorite game after League of Legends – took down its servers on May 1. The team said it had explored different options to continue, and unfortunately, there was no path forward.
Originally a non-crypto game that launched on Steam in June 2021, Storybook Brawl was an autobattler card game featuring characters from fairytales and legends. It peaked at 2,770 concurrent players in September 2021 and FTX Ventures acquired it in March 2022.
Following the acquisition, gamers protested by leaving negative reviews for the game on Steam.
Although it never developed to the point of releasing any of the planned blockchain integrations, Bankman-Fried, who is subject to a 13-count indictment, described the game as an opportunity for FTX to be “the vanguard for the ethical integration of gaming and crypto transactions.” Ironic.
According to an article on ZDNet – shared by Bankman-Fried on Twitter – he and Good Luck Games CEO Matthew Place were childhood friends.
During Bankman-Fried’s spate of interviews prior to his arrest in the Bahamas late last year, there was some debate as to whether he was playing Storybook Brawl – which he promoted several times without mentioning FTX owned it – or League of Legends during interviews.
Running hypothesis about SBF and his claims of always playing Storybook Brawl:He was never playing SB, but he always said that’s what he was playing because FTX owns SB.If you listen to the incessant clicking, it seems like he only plays League of Legends.— H.E. Cas Piancey (@CasPiancey) December 17, 2022
Nevertheless, fans of the game were generally sympathetic to the team, saying the game was “fun while it lasted” and that it was “very upsetting to see the business side [of the game] ruining the gaming side.”
Storybook Brawl was not the only game around which FTX coiled its tentacles. Perhaps the most prominent name in gaming impacted by the FTX fallout was Star Atlas. Half of its treasury was on the exchange at the time of the collapse. It has since been able to retrieve a portion of these funds, Star Atlas said in February.
Storybook Brawl featured characters from fairytales and legends (Storybook Brawl) Immutable solving onboarding issues
Game development platform Immutable debuted a beta version of its gaming passport, a noncustodial wallet and authenticator solution.
Technobabble aside, it’s basically an attempt to make onboarding to Immutable’s games easier.
This is welcome progress because onboarding to Web3 games is currently a pain in the gulliver and a major issue when it comes to adoption.
Onboarding users to web3 is still super hard.Get a wallet. Preferably custodial or else you suck. But also if you get hacked you lose everything, lol.Get tokens. Go to an exchange. Get KYCd. Move money.Find a market, find an item you like, login with wallet.— DNS.xyz – Where Everyone is a Creator (@dns) January 8, 2023
While many companies pay lip service to this issue, and there are a few contenders out there who want to be the Steam of Web3, the fact remains onboarding to a new Web3 game is time-consuming, laborious and needlessly complicated. And that’s for experienced players, not just noobs.
For example, playing a game on Klaytn requires reconfiguring MetaMask and signing up for one of the few exchanges that sell Klay. If your luck is like mine, you change your password just before you try to withdraw the Klay, and then you’re prevented from doing so for 24 hours.
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For Wax, you have to obtain Waxp from an exchange and pay into an account just to activate the wallet before you even get to a game. Too bad if your chosen exchange doesn’t let you add a reference to a transaction because Wax requires that.
That’s not to single these two out particularly. It’s all rather awful. Even using a credit card to buy crypto via MoonPay can require anything from your date of birth and home address to full KYC, depending on where you’re based.
Compare that to just logging in on other gaming platforms and it’s hard to make the case that someone should abandon PUBG for a beta of something — something when it’s going to take them hours just to work out how to sign in.
Immutable said its passport would only require an email address, while future editions will add features such as purchases via credit cards and instant checkout.
MMA One Championship mobile game
Asia’s biggest MMA promoter, Singapore-based ONE Championship, is taking another punt at NFTs with a plan to launch a fighting game next year.
Working with Animoca Brands’ Notre Game, the game is slated for release in Q1 2024 on mobile.
It clears up a mystery from October for the few people who were interested. Animoca Brands acquired Notre Game in August 2022, when the Czech Republic-based studio was working on its flagship NFT game, Scratch Lords.
Scratch Lords concept art. (Notre Game)Two months later, the team took the “tremendously difficult decision” to put the development of its “lovechild” on hold, according to a Medium post. The team said that Animoca – which, like ONE Championship, counts Sequoia among its investors – had acquired a license from a major global brand, and they’d been tapped to run it.
Looks like this is what they were talking about.
The agreement is the latest in a string of deals between sports companies and Web3 studios, most of which follow a boilerplate plan to create a game with playable NFT characters based on real-life sports stars.
But this isn’t ONE Championship’s first foray into Web3 – though it’s not quite clear what’s going on with its first shot. In August 2021, it announced a partnership with a company called Theta Network for an NFT collection and an official marketplace. Neither seems to have materialized yet.
Hot Take: The revamped Tomb Chaser
OG Decentraland game Tomb Chaser is back.
The former Egyptian pyramid created by Polygonal Minds returns as a cyberpunk pagoda meets Aztec temple. Or, as the team says, the original pyramid collapsed due to “a cosmic movement inside the blockchain… and the building reappeared without any ash as a cyberpunk pagoda which embodied the fusion of tech & spirituality.”
Whatever that means.
Playing Tomb Chaser. (Screengrab/Polygonal Mind) In another episode of Callan Dies Repeatedly, the game consists of following a robed timekeeper through an obstacle course to reach the treasure at the top of the temple.
But if that sounds simplistic, don’t worry. There are plenty of opportunities to be sliced, crushed and fried – which makes one sound like the ingredients of a stir fry – while said timekeeper occasionally makes rude remarks about whether you like being punished.
All in all, it’s a straightforward but enjoyable way to spend half an hour. The design of the complex is colorful, Illuminati triangles abound and there’s plenty of lava to fall into.
Aurory has launched a closed alpha of Aurory Adventures for its NFT holders.
Kuroro Beasts did a surprise drop of its Beast Brawl alpha on April 27. It’s also working on an online creature-collecting RPG, Kuroro Wilds, according to a May 2 tweet.
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Project Eluüne’s first early access experience for its main game, StarGarden is currently available to Founding StarGarden NFT holders.
Mythical Games’ NFL Rivals launched on mobile on April 26.
MixMob rolled out a closed beta of MixMob: Racer 1 on April 25, plus it is getting a fresh new website on May 16. The PVE mode is free to play.
Pass holders can join Tearing Space’s battle RPG closed beta until May 31.
Sci-fi card game Parallel’s closed beta is coming in July, according to the team on Twitter.
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Callan Quinn is a British freelance journalist covering crypto and tech. She has worked as a business journalist in China, the UK, Somaliland and the republic of Georgia. Previously, she was also an NFTs, gaming and metaverse reporter at The Block.