NFTs

GTA Dev’s New Game Doesn’t Have NFTs, Just Blockchain Research

A scenery of a futuristic city.

Screenshot: Build A Rocket Boy / Gamescom

The first game of Gamescom’s Opening Night Live was Everywhere, a shooting game led by the producer of the Grand Theft Auto series. However, the announcement and developer interview was so vague that many people started speculating that the game might be hosted on the blockchain. Today, the developers clarified that Everywhere will not be built on the blockchain, but did not completely rule out the technology. “We do not like dismissing new technologies only because others haven’t found a solution for them yet,” said a community manager.

According to the Everywhere website, the game “blends gameplay, adventure, creativity and discovery in an all-new multi-world gaming experience that redefines how players connect with one another and with the digital world.“ If that sentence just sounded like buzzword salad to you, then don’t worry. So did the developer interviews during Opening Night Live.

When asked about exactly what the game was, assistant director Adam Whiting was evasive about sharing more details. ”We want to build a whole new world for gamers,” said Whiting. “We want not just a place to play, but to watch, share, create, hang out with your friends, and so much more.”

The vagueness has been worrying to fans who are used to non-answers from NFT studios. Some Twitter users pointed out that Build A Rocket Boy was hiring for a developer on the “Blockchain team.” The job posting specifically called for AAA game development experience, as well as experience with implementing blockchain contracts. According to the studio, the job is a research position. But they haven’t stated that Everywhere will never have blockchain or pay-to-earn elements, either.

And aside from the job posting, one of the studio’s major investors is Galaxy Interactive, which has invested in several Web3 companies. Kotaku reached out to Build A Rocket Boy, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Blockchain is deeply unpopular among some gamers and developers because they are widely associated with shady scams. In fact, companies have had to clarify that their work was not intended to be an NFT or any kind of blockchain technology. Blockchain has also been criticized for its negative impacts on the environment.

Geoff Keighley tweeted just last year that “I really hope I never have to stand up at #TheGameAwards and say things like ‘world’s first play-to-earn blockchain shooter with “true asset ownership.’” Gamescom is a different show, but Keighley hosts both, so many are bringing up the Tweet or his stated commitment to environmentalism right now. Whether or not Everywhere will have blockchain elements at some point, the studio is being funded by investors who do not have the planet’s best interests at heart. Kotaku reached out to Keighley about whether or not he knew about the studio’s involvement with blockchain before the show, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Build A Rocket Boy was founded by GTA veteran Leslie Benzies after he had left Rockstar North in 2016 over a $150 million royalties lawsuit against the studio. They announced Everywhere in 2017, but gave scant concrete details about how the game actually played. Their social media accounts continue to be sparse except for pictures of the game’s logo. Which is kind of worrying if the game is coming out in 2023 as planned.

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