Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite and Fall Guys, has unleashed another “F” into the world by adding an NFT-based video game to its online store: Fuck, are we still doing this crypto-baby thing?
The early access Blankos Block Party is advertised as “a vibrant open-world multiplayer game” on the Epic Games Store, with “a focus on custom art and design, building your own levels, exploration of user created levels, and curating your collection of unique and rare Blankos!” It’s free to play, but collecting “rare Blankos!”—NFT Frankensteins seemingly borne from established collectibles like Legos, Funko Pop!, and Kaws figures—will cost you anywhere from under $10 to nearly $150,000. If you’d prefer to spend even more money, you can buy your Blankos accessories, like these butterflies available for $1,111,111, from the Mythical Marketplace, development company Mythical Games’ blockchain-backed storefront.
But that money is a lot of trouble for what is essentially a crypto combo of Fall Guys and Roblox. Blankos’ gameplay consists of bouncing around on platforms in existing party games, or creating your own levels to play with friends.
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In itself, that’s a fine premise. Blankos’ graphics are also decent and unremarkable for the genre, with smooth terrain that mostly looks like cheese cubes. And dropping too much cash for in-game items isn’t that different from paying to win in games like Diablo Immortal. But all of this is a problem for people claiming crypto has something new to offer gaming.
Blankos may boast the Epic Games Store’s fresh, hot “Blockchain/NFT” tag, which helpfully indicates that “Epic Games does not encourage the purchase or sale of any cryptocurrency or digital asset” (why is it in your store, then?), but its so-called Web3 premise copies old-school theories like pay-to-win and jumping up and down on a cube.
Oh, well. I’m sure that one of the other blockchain-based games announced for the Epic Games Store, like Grit, which apparently expects players to drop cash on unaltered asset flips, will totally get Web3 gaming back on its innovative track.