Square Enix’s new blockchain-based game called Symbiogenesis. The game is being touted as “narrative-unlocked NFT entertainment”, but little else is known about the game’s exact nature, except that it appears to be a high fantasy tale. The trailer showcases a floating continent filled with various magical locations, as well as a towering World Tree.
Square Enix’s website for Symbiogenesis has confirmed that the game will feature around 10,000 collectible NFT artworks that will have “real game utility”. These NFTs will be centered on unique in-game characters of various races and professions. Players who purchase these NFTs will be able to use them as profile pictures and they will be sold as each of the game’s six major chapters is unveiled. Each NFT will contribute to an unfolding story, which will make up the game’s overall narrative.
The official story description of Symbiogenesis reads, “In a not-so-distant future… Humanity has managed to survive by living on the Floating continent, the last haven on Earth where life is still possible amidst the pollution. As conflict is no longer, the people live while progressively reclaiming past civilization. However, their peaceful lives were shattered by the sudden attack of the Dragon, putting the existence itself of the Floating Continent in danger.”
The story goes on to explain that players will need to unravel the mystery behind the world’s origins and make choices that will determine the fate of humanity. The game will be a tale of humanity’s final choice to live together.
Although the game’s story hints at a traditional fantasy tale filled with exploration and epic quests, details remain vague and generic. The only differentiating factor seems to be the inclusion of NFTs and blockchain technology, which is likely to alienate players rather than attract them.
Square Enix has stated that all story chapters can be completed and “played to the end even without having any Character NFT”, but players who purchase Character NFTs will gain specific “utility”. This includes reading unique stories, gaining rank experience points easily, creating a replica of their character, and gaining additional NFT art when missions are cleared. However, some story elements will be withheld from players who do not purchase NFTs, impacting the overall gameplay experience.
The inclusion of NFTs in Square Enix’s new blockchain-based game raises concerns about the game’s cost, controversy, potential environmental damage, and the fact that the technology has already been labeled as “experimental” by companies such as Ubisoft, who have largely discontinued research into NFTs.
Despite having a significant following on social media, Symbiogenesis has received backlash from critics. Given Square Enix’s recent string of disappointments and lackluster releases, the company has a lot riding on this experimental project.