Square Enix has officially unveiled the first trailer for Symbiogenesis, the upcoming blockchain-based game described as ‘narrative-unlocked NFT entertainment’. While the exact nature of the game remains unclear, it does appear it will be a high fantasy tale, as the new trailer depicts a floating continent filled with various magical locales, and a towering World Tree.
On its newly-launched website, Square Enix has further confirmed Symbiogenesis will feature around 10,000 collectible NFT artworks, which will have ‘real game utility’.
These NFTs will be centred on unique in-game characters ‘with various races and professions’, and users who purchase them will be able to use them as profile pictures. They will be sold as each of the game’s six major chapters are unveiled, and will contribute to an unfolding story.
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‘In a not so distant future… Humanity has managed to survive by living on the Floating continent, the last safe haven on Earth where life is still possible amidst the pollution,’ the game’s official story description reads. ‘As conflict is no longer, the people live while progressively reclaiming past civilisation. However, their peaceful lives were shattered by the sudden attack of the Dragon, putting the existence itself of the Floating Continent in dange [sic].’
‘While humanity fights to repel its attack, they are faced with choices that will determine their fate. By unraveling the mystery behind this world’s origins, they will face the decisions to lead it towards an ideal future. This is the story of humanity’s final choice in order to live together.’
While this description hints at a traditional fantasy tale filled with exploration and epic quests, details remain extremely vague and, frankly, fairly generic. So far, Symbiogenesis‘ only point of difference appears to be its inclusion of NFTs and blockchain technology – a difference more likely to alienate players than attract them.
Square Enix has said that all story chapters can be completed and ‘played to the end even without having any Character NFT’ but these in-game purchases will arrive with specific ‘utility for those who hold the NFT collectible art’. Players with Character NFTs will be able to read unique stories, gain rank experience points easily, create a ‘replica’ of their character, and gain additional NFT art when missions are cleared.
Some story elements will be withheld from players who do not purchase NFTs, impacting the overall gameplay experience. Functionally, this implies the game’s NFTs will resemble in-game purchases or DLC packs – with the added baggage of controversy, hatred, a high price tag, and potential environmental damage.
Given the NFT ship has already sailed in the public conscience, with even former supporters like Ubisoft labelling the technology ‘experimental’ and largely discontinuing research, the path forward for Symbiogenesis is unclear. While the project has a significant following on social media, it has just as many loud detractors. After a rocky few years littered with disappointments and ‘lacklustre’ releases, Square Enix has a lot riding on this experiment.
Stay tuned to the Symbiogenesis website for new updates, and a complete roadmap for the game.