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Square Enix—the storied Japanese video game publisher behind franchises like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts—announced today that it will launch its upcoming NFT-based game Symbiogensis on Polygon, an Ethereum scaling network.
Symbiogenesis was first announced last November, and at the time, the publisher said that the story-driven collectibles game was tentatively planned to launch on Ethereum. However, the company said today that it will use Polygon instead, which uses a sidechain to offer faster and cheaper transactions than Ethereum’s own mainnet can handle.
“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,” game producer Naoyuki Tamate said in a press release.
The publisher has drip-fed details through an official Twitter feed since November, but has yet to launch an official website, full trailer, or in-game screenshots ahead of its planned spring launch.
Square Enix offered a few more details alongside today's announcement. The game will apparently be built around 10,000 character NFTs tied to strategic game mechanics, although there will be other NFTs used in the game as well. According to a document shared by Polygon Labs, however, owning a character NFT is not required to play the game, although it adds unspecified "extra value" to the experience. Character NFT holders can apparently create "replica NFTs" to share story information with other players.
Symbiogenesis will take place on a floating continent above a polluted future Earth, with society forced to band together and make tough choices once a dragon threatens their safe haven.
The game will feature turn-based gameplay tied to the storyline, which takes different paths as users complete missions and either hold or trade NFTs. Square Enix has showcased NFT items including dragon tarot cards and a monster storybook, but hasn’t shared concrete details about cost or how they impact the game.
NFT Collectible Art Project
Untangle the Story
Spring 2023#SYMBIOGENESIS #symgeNFT #NFT #NFTProjects pic.twitter.com/Kk1JvMdQx4
— SYMBIOGENESIS (@symbiogenesisPR) November 3, 2022
The November announcement of Symbiogenesis was met with significant backlash from Square Enix’s traditional video game fans. That’s common for Web3 games and projects created by established gaming companies, but in this case, some fans were angry due to rumors that the game would be a new entry in the long-dormant Parasite Eve franchise. (It’s not.)
Square Enix has made a number of moves in the Web3 space over the last few years, but Symbiogenesis marks both its first proper NFT-based game and also its first internal project set within the Ethereum ecosystem.
Previously, Square Enix invested in Ethereum metaverse game The Sandbox and announced that it will revive its dormant Dungeon Siege franchise in its game world. The publisher has also launched NFT collectibles in Japan via the LINE blockchain, and announced Final Fantasy VII NFTs tied to physical action figures via Enjin’s Efinity platform built on Polkadot.
Despite complaints from some traditional gamers regarding NFTs, Square Enix has continued to emphasize the opportunity it sees in the space and invest in growing its Web3 efforts. Last May, Square Enix sold off an array of studios and game franchises (including Tomb Raider) for $300 million to help fund new business endeavors, including Web3 experiences.