Is this a big deal? It definitely is in the world of Web3 games development. And if you believe in the power of NFTs as verifiable ownership of digital assets, then it could be an important marker for where gaming is heading in general. (Although the harshest critics of that idea very much reside within mainstream gaming for the moment.)
Illuvium, built on the Ethereum-based blockchain-scaling layer ImmutableX, is one of the most anticipated games in the crypto space. It’s one that offers players the chance to capture, generate, buy, own and sell the NFTs that are integral to the gameplay within its vast sci-fi world.
The project employs more than 170 staff and has a budget comparable with the biggest AAA games from huge studios, so it commands a lot of attention in the crypto-gaming sector once dominated by the play-to-earn” narrative pushed by the likes of Axie Infinity.
Illuvium, though, perhaps has more of a “play-to-own” ethos when it comes to its collectible NFTs (inspired by the addictive nature of Pokémon-card collecting), which are interoperable across the game’s entire universe.
Overworld, meanwhile, is the aspect of the game that Illuvium fans seem to have been looking forward to the most.
Why? Because it’s considered the main part of the game – open-world exploration of a high-fidelity, graphically immersive realm that’s taken thousands of hours to create from a team of digital artists from all over the globe.
The other two aspects of the game are a resource-generating city-builder called Illuvium: Zero, and the “Teamfight Tactics”-style strategy auto battler called Illuvium: Arena.
‘A world like nothing you’ve seen before’
More than two million gamers are registered to play the full version of Illuvium and there’s been plenty of hype for the beta releases so far.
In fact, a recent Twitch stream that showed just a small part of the Overworld had 11,000 viewers and thousands of comments. The beta version being released today also focuses on one main area of the Illuvium map – the Crimson Waste.
— Rhamphy | Rhamphyre.io ♊️🔥 (@Rhamphy) November 17, 2022
“Illuvium Overworld is our most anticipated game in development,” said co-founder Kieran Warwick. “We’re super excited to showcase it to our two million registered users.”
“The Overworld represents the culmination of all our hard work and dedication to building the best visual experience possible,” added Warwick’s co-founding brother Grant – the project’s Art Director.
“Every art team member has worked tirelessly on even the smallest details. We had a ridiculously ambitious goal when we began: to build an entire world that felt like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”
‘First truly AAA Web3 experience’
Like many projects within the crypto space, Illuvium has seen a sharp decline in market cap as the NFT space consolidated throughout 2022. In fact, the price of ILV – the game’s utility/currency and governance token – is now down a whopping 97% from it’s all-time high of US$1,911, reached one year ago.
However, the project has plenty of “runway” to carry on through an extended bear market, according to its founders. And the team continues to build what Kieran calls the “world’s first AAA Interoperable Blockchain Gaming Universe” – a genre mash-up of three different styles of gameplay that all link together in one narrative.
Aaron Warwick (another brother/co-founder and the project’s Game Director), described the team’s mission as building “the first truly AAA experience in the history of Web3,” adding that “over the next few years, we will introduce 100 million gamers to the advantages of owning their hard-earned digital assets.”
“Creating one AAA game in the space of two years is a huge achievement, but three that are all interoperable and seamlessly connected is almost obscene,” noted Kieran. “And [it’s] only possible through the creation of a decentralised studio, one that has full-time contributors from 35 countries around the world”.
The project’s city-building title Illuvium: Zero “could even have an alpha release before Christmas”, he also revealed.
The Overworld beta is being released to 30,000 community members with an aim to steadily roll it out within the project’s vast Discord group.
To become one of the beta participants, you can register on the Illuvium website here.
None of the information in this article should be taken as financial advice. This author bought a small amount of ILV some time ago as a speculative investment and still holds and stakes the tokens.