In the world of video games, Square Enix is a name that carries a lot of weight. Over the last few decades, this company has turned out hit after hit, including popular classics such as the Final Fantasy series, Octopath Traveller, Nier: Automata, Kingdom Hearts, and many, many others.
Now the company has just released a teaser trailer for their next upcoming game – and that reveal has caused a bit of a stir.
Symbiogenesis is the newest release from Square Enix, which has often historically been associated with epic roleplaying games. This game will break entirely new ground for the video game world by incorporating NFTs into its gameplay and virtual world.
A statement from Square Enix describes Symbiogenesis as “narrative-unlocked NFT entertainment,” which will represent “a completely new form of NFT-based entertainment, where 10,000 collectable artworks meet real game utility.” This idea of story-focussed NFTs takes the form of 10,000 playable characters who can each be unlocked as the game’s story develops, and these also provide players with completely unique social media profile pictures to use.
We have watched the development of this story play out through news headlines across the past year. In January 2022, the president of Square Enix, Yosuke Matsuda, commented on the potential for NFTs and blockchain tech to begin entering the gaming space, and pointed to what he hoped would be a “major trend in gaming going forward.” He repeatedly confirmed this pro-NFT stance through the spring, and by May 2022, Square Enix began investing more heavily into blockchain. Later that year, rumours began emerging about a new game coming from Square Enix… and in November this mystery new release was revealed to be a blockchain experience incorporating NFT-collecting gameplay.
Square Enix have not expressed any intention to create blockchain versions of their existing catalogue of hits – rather, for now, Symbiogenesis is a completely new IP and a standalone adventure story that melds blockchain technology with their signature style of massive RPG gameplay. In a tweet in November the company called it an “NFT Collectible Art Project” and invited players to “untangle the story.”
How exactly will it work, you wonder? Well, a lot of crucial details about Symbiogenesis are still under wraps, though we do already know some things about how the game will make use of blockchain technology. For example, Symbiogenesis will be launched on the Polygon network, as opposed to on Ethereum’s mainnet (as had been suggested, earlier on in development). Polygon, an Ethereum scaling network, is able to offer cheaper and faster transactions than Ethereum’s mainnet, thanks to its application of an innovative sidechain approach.
The game’s producer, Naoyuki Tamate, explained: “Square Enix opted to tap into Polygon’s high transaction speeds, low gas fees, and overall user-friendliness to deliver this unique experience to Web3 fans.”
There is still an awful lot that fans don’t know about Symbiogenesis – the teaser trailer is brief at only 44 seconds long, and mostly it is focused on simply establishing a visual style and atmosphere for the project. We see a floating island (not unlike the kind of worlds imagined in some of the company’s earlier releases), but with a stylised visual twist, that seems to highlight individual art elements of the landscape, and set to a modern and beat-driven tech-pop soundtrack.
As for the actual gameplay, though? A lot of it is still a mystery. We know the game will feature 10,000 unique character NFTs, and we know that these will somehow play a role in the game’s strategic player experience. However, a document which has been released by Polygon labs makes it clear that NFTs are not required to play the game. More likely, it is suggested that these collectible elements will be used to enhance the player experience and create unique playthroughs which simultaneously provide players with their own NFT artwork to be used outside of the game – for example, as social media profile images.
The setting for the game is described as a new continent, floating in the skies above a polluted earth of the far future. Here, disparate societies must work together to defend their shared home against the attacks of a ferocious dragon. Like many of the studio’s previous games, Symbiogenesis will feature turn-based gameplay, and different player choices will affect the storyline, sometimes in surprising ways.
NFTs can be earned in the game and can then be either kept and collected,or else traded with other players.
How to Get Started in NFTs
It will be a little while yet before you’re able to play Symbiogenesis… and no release date for the game has yet been announced. If you’re already feeling the buzz and eager to learn more about the NFT trend, why not get ahead of the curve now?
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are works of digital art that use blockchain technology to store their unique identities on a kind of digital ledger. The result is that no matter how many times one of these files is copied, your version, backed up on the blockchain, will always be clearly identifiable as the original artefact. This represents something of a revolution for the art world, as it means that digital artists can now maintain the value of their work by holding or trading original works with the world in a way that was simply impossible for this medium before.
NFTs are typically bought and sold using cryptocurrency, with many of the top NFT auction sites making use of Ethereum. Suppose you’re looking to investigate and maybe invest in the exciting world of NFTs. In that case, you’ll need first to equip yourself with a secure and reliable crypto wallet – and then spend some time researching the best and most dependable options for online crypto platforms.
However, when it comes to the latter, it’s easier said than done, as there are currently a plethora of platforms to choose from and sadly, not all of them have your best interests at heart. In this case, it pays to listen to the industry experts and we often keep our ear to the ground to hear what the current chatter is all about.
Recently, we’ve heard increasingly positive feedback about a particular platform called Quantum Pro 360. According to various crypto experts, this is a platform that can help new and experienced traders alike in their search to find a popular and well-liked broker that is custom-paired to them based on their specific trading and investment needs.
NFTs and the Gaming World
It has been fascinating to watch the news around Symbiogenesis. For those in the crypto world, the game is, in many cases, being hailed as a bold new innovation. Blockchain technology is still a relatively new phenomenon, and even for the top experts, it can be hard to predict the range and breadth of its future use cases. So, it is always exciting to see crypto merging with new fields and new industries, as these cases open doors to entirely new worlds of possibility. The idea of blockchain games is no longer new in itself – however, to see the blockchain being so eagerly adopted by the developers behind such classics as the Final Fantasy games are really quite something.
However, from the other perspective, responses to this news from those in the gaming world have not always been quite so stellar. For example, the YouTube comments beneath the new teaser trailer are, in many cases, resoundingly negative, with users sharing messages such as “how do I dislike a video more than once” and describing the company as “out of touch.”
This backlash may be partly due to a misunderstanding… when Square Enix announced that they had a new game coming, rumours quickly spread like wildfire that the mystery title would be a new instalment in the company’s highly popular Parasite Eve series. Though this was untrue, gamers’ disappointment with the real reveal may, in some cases, have soured the announcement of Symbiogenesis.
Not that the news should come as all that much of a surprise, though – as Square Enix, to date, has not been shy about their growing interest in blockchain technology and the Web3 space. They had previously invested in the Ethereum-powered “metaverse” game The Sandbox, for example – and they also recently launched a series of NFT collectables attached to characters from the game Final Fantasy VII (which were built on a platform using Polkadot).
It is also likely that many of the negative comments come from a sense of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”… in this case, gamers know what to expect from Square Enix. The company has been delivering high-quality gaming experiences for many years, with a well-established “house style.” Many of their fans perhaps have no interest in seeing this style revolutionised with the application of new technologies and concepts.
But there is still also a lot of misinformation in the media surrounding NFTs, which also perhaps fuels some of the negative feelings from gamers. Amongst their critics, NFTs are sometimes described as a “fad” or reduced to being represented simply as a system for generating unique profile photos on social media – which sounds rather shallow when you put it like that – rather than being appreciated for the full potential that they represent. Other criticisms focus on the perceived ecological imprint of NFTs… or may have been influenced by the reporting of scams in the crypto world, perhaps leading some consumers to think of NFTs as an inherently unsafe investment.
Perhaps though, a lot of this feeling stems from a fear of change and, more specifically, from a fear that blockchain games are being positioned to replace more conventional gaming styles by large companies eager to start earning crypto money. While this is an understandable fear, it is not, however, an accurate one. Rather, it makes perfect sense that a company like Square Enix may look to diversify their offerings by experimenting with Web3 platforms. As a consumer technology company, it would be remiss not to consider blockchain technology’s ongoing revolution and everything it represents.
So, Where Is It All Leading?
As we already said, not even the experts are able to accurately predict where all this is going and how blockchain technology and Web3 applications will ultimately manifest in the gaming world. Symbiogenesis is a first foray from one of gaming’s premiere development teams, but it is still just a baby step in terms of fully utilising this technology. So while the upcoming release is exciting in itself, it is also perhaps wise to consider this as just a first step, an early experiment… looking longer term, we are going to be extremely excited to watch the continuing evolution, and ever-expanding potential, of crypto as it begins to enter the gaming space.