The democratization of game development has long been touted as a fresh, original idea every time a developer does it. From releasing daily public builds to frequently updated Early Access editions, this has been done many times over many years. The difference to Dr. “Herschel Beahm IV” Disrespect’s upcoming FPS project, a battle royale shooter with extraction from his studio Midnight Society? You have to buy a damn NFT to play it.
The goal of the Midnight Society – currently dubbed “Project Moon” – is to create “the next top-tier competitive PvPvE first-person shooter”. what they say they will do “openly and transparently” by releasing what they call “snapshots”.
These are effectively vertical slice builds of a game, typically made by a developer in pre-alpha to try to land a publishing deal or to show off at events like E3. Such examples of what a game will offer give an idea of the developer’s ambitions, but in this case they appear to be used to allow backers – sorry, “Founders Action Pass holders” – to provide feedback and vote for features they like would like to see removed or inserted. Also known as “playtesting,” it is a position held by developers or publishers Counting people to afford, often poorly.
Midnight Society describes itself as a team of “aspiring game industry veterans” whose executive team includes Robert Bowling, original member of Infinity Ward and executive producer of Cat Girl Without Salad: Amuse BoucheGeldman Sumit Gupta and Beahm himself, a former community manager call of Duty Studio Sledgehammer Games. It also boasts Quinn Delhoyo, Sandbox Design Lead on Halo: Infinitewho also worked for earlier on multiplayer gloriole games and Gears Of War IIIand previously had the honor of being a level designer for Duke Nukem forever.
They’ve already assembled another team of 10 experienced developers, plus another 12 non-development crews, some of whom have written the word “crypto” on their resumes.
It’s a fairly small team trying to put together a battle royale-meets-extraction shooter (I think Hunt: Showdown meets Plunkbat), the genres that first brought Beahm to streaming fame. However, it will be very easy to see how they are doing as they aim to release a playable build every six weeks for those who have invested in the project.
“Our overall gameplay goals are to capture the essence of arena shooter level design,” he says The latest blog from the Midnight Society“with the size and scope of battle royale player counts and session-to-session gameplay mechanics of extraction shooters.”
The development studio before tried to attract attention a few weeks back by paying for an expensive billboard in Times Square. Thereupon the studio’s name was teased and little more except a suggestion that some sort of announcement is due on July 29th. This appears to be the first “Founders Event,” where those who bought into pre-game existing will meet in Los Angeles to, ahem, “discuss the game’s first snapshot.” What a time.
Back in March, Beahm and company sold 10,000 NFTs representing these Founders Active Passes for the not inconsiderable sum of $50 each. The Midnight Society claims it has received 400,000 applications and further rounds of sales of such passes will clearly be an intended revenue stream. Half a million dollars for this first round will not cover the current team’s salaries.
It is interesting to note that in all the vague descriptions of what project moon will actually be, there is no question of further cryptoshit. Whether that’s clever marketing to try and avoid the massive amount of negativity the topic rightfully generates is unclear. But given the hiring of crypto dudes, it wouldn’t be a surprise if some “Web3” BS were mentioned at some point.
Of course, given the transparency promises and the fact that backers are allowed to post public video content from the six-weekly builds, we’ll get an intriguing perspective on the project as it progresses. Thanks to those who make the odd decision to pay for a normally paid development role.