S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl is the latest game to jump on the NFTs (non-fungible tokens) bandwagon, adding other buzzwords like the metaverse into the mix.
After years of troubled development, Stalker 2 will finally become a reality next year, to the delight of fans around the world.
But, unfortunately, a number of fans found themselves slightly disappointed today, as the developers, GSC Game World, announced that the game will incorporate NFT technology into the game, offering players unique in-game items which they will be able to "own" and trade for real money.
Developers claim that the "S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Metaverse", which is the name of the project, will have no influence on gameplay and it will be completely optional, adding that the game itself will not be blockchain-based, rather it will only use NFTs as a way to offer players ownership of unique items in the game.
"Considering the global trends in gaming, we can do more than just offer an immersive game experience," GSC Game World CEO Evgeniy Grygorovych said. "Our players can get a deeper presence in the game, and we will give them this opportunity by presenting the first AAA game with a unique meta experience."
In case you are not familiar with how NFTs work, in short, a non-fungible token is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain, and NFTs are used to provide proof of ownership of digital files such as photos, videos, audio, or in this case, in-game items.
When it comes to NFTs in Stalker 2, the reaction of fans and the broader gaming community was overwhelmingly negative.
"Stalker is so realistic it's simulating Environmental Damage and Toxicity in real life too," wrote OUTCAST_exe as a response to the announcement, while Twitter user mcc added: "Your press release doesn't say what blockchain you're using, but DMarket uses Ethereum, which is a wasteful carbon-emitting chain."
DMarket is an NFT trading platform where players will be able to trade their items via the official DMarket Stalker 2 page.
The negative sentiment towards NFTs stems from the fact that they can cause a huge amount of environmental damage due to the processing power required in verifying transactions, and because they are associated with numerous online scams and schemes to make a quick buck. Gaming communities at large don't see the value of them being added into games aside from being another way for developers to make even more money.
The negative publicity around blockchain-based games prompted Valve to ban cryptocurrencies and NFTs games from Steam. Ubisoft recently announced NFTs in Ghost Recon Breakpoint and that announcement received such a negative reaction, that it forced Ubisoft to eventually delist the video. Discord had plans to introduce them but CEO Jason Citron personally backed away from that idea following backlash.
To kick things off with their S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Metaverse, GSC Game World will hold a giveaway on their DMarket page with random drops, and "three lucky fans" will be offered an opportunity to be commemorated in the game as NPCs (non-playable characters), and become a part of the story for everyone to see.
Given that reaction on the game's socials is almost universally negative, it remains to be seen if the studio will stay committed to this idea.
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Featured image courtesy of GSC Game World