Metropolis Origins Reimagines the Future of Cyberpunk on the Blockchain
This fast-paced collectible trading card game is a point-and-click adventure unlike any other.
Cyberpunk games have been around for ages. They have helped elevate the storytelling, craft and overall mechanics that would pave the way for the rollout of today’s futuristic, neon-tinged digital trading card games.
One NFT game in particular–Metropolis Origins–has reinvented the genre all over again for an entirely new generation of audiences.
Enter into a darkly humorous future, where humans and artificial intelligence coexist (and not always on the best of terms) in three separate factions. Metropolis Origins is a point-and-click adventure unlike any other. The game’s vision is “to build an NFT content ecosystem emphasizing community and long-term investment in a story world.”
The best part? Players don’t have to understand how the blockchain works to take part in the game. They simply have to buy decks of cards as NFTs.
Metropolis Origins, which was brought to life alongside co-creators Austin Grossman and Naomi Augustine-Yee at QXR Studios, is a sequel to the Metropolis title that legendary AAA game developer Graeme Devine created back in 1987.
Devine has overseen some of the biggest and most successful gaming initiatives in history, including Halo Wars for Microsoft’s Ensemble Studios, Quake III, The 7th Guest and worked at Apple on making games even more awesome for the iOS platform.
As you can imagine, we were eager to talk with him and Elena Piech, QXR’s Blockchain and Community Strategist, about the fast-paced collectible card game’s design, gameplay experiences, its community, and to get Devine’s take on what a cyberpunk future is all about.
Where Reality Ends and Fiction Begins
Metropolis Origins reimagines the future of cyberpunk on the blockchain where hacking and corporate warfare are the norm. It’s similar to classic card games like Magic: The Gathering, though it takes a tactical shift by introducing NFT-enabled trading cards into the mix.
According to Devine, “Gameplay is quick, fun and innovative.”
To get started, players must purchase card packs and build the perfect decks by combining or rearranging them. You only need to own 35 cards to play. Since the game is free to play, anyone can join in on the fun. However, players that own their own cards are able to create custom decks. Custom decks and strategies will help players succeed at a more competitive level in the game.
Metropolis Origins is packed with AI-based and multiplayer games, a deck builder, out of this world special effects, animations and a legit leaderboard. Each card features stats and abilities that work alone or in tandem with other cards to help players build the best arsenal to get a leg up in the game.
In gameplay, you have the option to battle against other users from around the world, or choose to go head-to-head with an AI.
“It’s a game that can be played in just a few minutes,” says Devine. “Our aim when developing Metropolis Origins was to make players feel like they were part of something, part of a story. We wanted to launch a game that had a plan. A long-term vision and a way forward. We didn’t want our players to feel like they were just playing an Excel spreadsheet.”
Metropolis Origins is optimized around game design, gameplay and its players to build a rich community and narrative universe with a focus on doing right by gamers. Most importantly, it’s free to play!
Characters can be picked from three different factions: Corporate, Government or Underground–using game strategy and cleverness to defeat opponents and win matches.
“The card decks are tailored toward characters in those factions,” adds Devine. “Each faction represents a different power type. So a Corporate might be more powerful upfront or an Underground might be a wild card. Playing underground is a bit like gambling. I’m Underground forever.”
Currently, Metropolis Origins is still played like a traditional card game that doesn’t incorporate any play-to-earn elements.
But that’s all about to change.
“When we launch this Faction Wars update, it’ll be version one of our play-and-earn integration,” explains Piech. “We’re turning to our community and gauging how they’re reacting to the updates and how they’re playing the game. We want to leverage community participation in the growth of the Metropolis Origins story. In the near future, there’s also going to be some new strategic elements introduced to the game we think our community will be excited about. Based on wins and losses, Faction Wars will allow players to take over certain parts of Metropolis.”
To keep things fun and continue growing the community, Metropolis Origins rolls out weekly tournaments and gives out prizes to players.
Speaking of community…
Community Is Just as Important as What’s on the Screen
Games are all about shared experiences, which includes interaction and ownership. All successful games have communities, and Metropolis Origins is one of those games. Fans and players feel connected to the success story and developers are happy to candidly share the journey with them. A community like this is the greatest asset video game developers can have.
Creators drilled community into the DNA of the game itself, allowing for feedback, new design choices and mechanics based around shared information. This engaged and approachable community has even generated its own buzz.
“This game is not about getting a few players onboard, making some money and skipping out,” adds Devine. “Metropolis Origins is a long-term vision and our community is a huge aspect of that vision. There are statues going up in the city of Metropolis, representing these people. In particular, players who gained massive followings on Twitch streams. The game is taking on a life of its own. Want to know the biggest difference between the game now and the game launched back in ‘87? It’s the community.”
Launching a game on a crypto platform like WAX means that Metropolis Origins’ community is as much a partner in the game as anyone else. They’ve been there every step of the way.
This Is NOT Play and Earn (Yet)
“We grew exponentially week after week, so much so that we had to expand our gameplay servers up daily throughout the holiday season,” says Piech. “Our players are motivated to have fun, to escape. We still want our players to be able to enjoy and maybe they can take a pause from everything that’s going on in the real world by stepping into ours and feeling like they’re somewhere new.”
As Metropolis Origins brings in a play-and-earn model, they want their community to come along for the ride.
“The analogy I always like to use is this: It’s like going to the arcade and having a blast playing all the different games. Then, at the end of the day, there’s a prize wall and you get an added bonus that you didn’t really expect. I think that’s the type of culture and community we want to keep,” adds Piech.
For those looking at the game through an investment lens, the biggest investment would be getting in on the ground floor of this franchise. This is not a quick turnaround game. It’s a long-term play we have here. The Metropolis Origins team has decades of experience building world-class games and entertainment experiences. When they do something, they’re not doing it just to make a quick buck.
Ultimately, the QXR Studios team envisioned making a game that players genuinely enjoy and can come back to again and again.
“We even have members in our community coming back every single Monday to play in our tournament,” says Devine. “Or, we have people who have never played a card game before who really like the game. They come in and play with other members on our Discord, too. We not only want to create incredible content, we want to make a great game and listen to what our community has to say about it.”
In the beginning, it was never about launching a play and earn game because the developers felt that play and earn was only about grinding and not necessarily about enjoying the game. However, after hearing feedback and thoughts from their community members, now they are at the stage where it makes sense to find innovative ways to incorporate play and earn elements to reward players for the growth that’s happening.
“Metropolis Origins’ narrative is manifesting beyond this one game,” explains Devine.
New Adventures, Games and Immersive Experiences
So, what does the future hold for this point-and-click story world? The game’s roadmap is impressive. Aside from play and earn rewards, Devine alluded to things like staking tournaments and maybe adding leaderboard prizes.
This cyberpunk world will only continue to grow and develop as the franchise expands into more stories and games. The franchise is in Snapchat’s ghost program, which is an innovation lab, to design an AR game. Down the line, they intend on making the PC game interactive and continue to drive home the projects they have already entered into the roadmap. Every Tuesday, the team drops a new motion comic. Andy Lanning (a Marvel/DC comic book artist who recently worked on Guardians of the Galaxy series) leads the motion comic production. Each week, community members get to dive deeper into the lore of Metropolis.
“We held a tournament at the end of last year and it was hilarious because as players got eliminated from the tournament and we approached the final eight… the final four… we started writing up these backstories about what’s going on and why these players were fighting. And people got so into it!” stated Piech. “That’s something we’re really excited about, is getting players more involved in the narrative.”
The highly-anticipated new card packs are scheduled to drop in the next couple of months.
“Our second drop is called “Fallen City”, it starts to amp up the feeling of rivalry between the factions as well as introducing some really innovative card designs we’ve not seen in any other CCG before,” says Devine. “Looking forward, Faction Wars will be introducing even more cards with new styles that will be changing quite dramatically, from 2D to 3D avatar cards as we revisit our AR roots. Right now, the cards look like traditional trading cards. The new cards will let you actually go and see how they look in AR and the game will soon allow you to play with more than two players. Each of the factions will be able to play on the board at the same time. So you still get to enjoy that two-minute play time but now you can play each faction and have a role in an ongoing game.”
This is something that no other game is doing right now–all players being involved on the board at the same time.
“You guys made it hard to jump in elsewhere,” explains Devine. “A big reason being that WAX is carbon neutral. Also, looking at the API… that was one of the main game changers. I don’t think any other blockchain is capable of what WAX is currently doing. Everything we need is all in one place and well documented. Then there’s the community itself. The overall vibe is extremely positive. You guys are very compatible with what we wanted to create with Metropolis Origins. Getting involved seemed like the right thing to do.”
And Piech agrees: “WAX made it easy for us to figure out how to set up our contracts and mint our card packs. I think if we were on another blockchain, it might’ve been hard because to be honest there are so many barriers to using blockchain and getting into crypto. It was crucial for us to get onto a marketplace where we have an audience of people that are seeking the type of content that we are creating. Having our worlds collide has been synergistic in terms of what our goals are and what WAX is doing currently.”
Trek Into a Strange and Enchanting World
Metropolis Origins leverages the Cyberpunk genre’s strengths to create intriguing, unique gameplay. It’s a game that deserves to be discovered for the first time or revisited time and time again.
If you like strange worlds and interesting games that are rough around the edges, this one fits the bill. We can’t wait to see what Metropolis Origins unveils next. Whatever happens, it’s certain to be entertaining.
“If the community has ideas, we want to hear them,” says Peiche. “We’re free to play right now. Nothing is stopping you from literally just going to our site and getting started.”
The city is yours for the taking.