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“Play-to-earn” might be dead, but “kill-to-earn” is undead.
Wagyu Games Executive Director Grant Haseley wants his studio’s first game, “Undead Blocks,” to be easy to play, addicting, and a fun way to troll your friends. The first-person shooter (FPS) game is launching on ImmutableX, a Layer 2 scaling solution on Ethereum that’s already home to GameStop’s NFT marketplace and games like “Tiny Colony.”
“Our game isn’t for pros,” Haseley told Decrypt in an interview, instead describing his title as a “kill-to-earn” social game that’s like “Mario Kart meets COD Zombies.”
In “Undead Blocks,” players shoot zombies and collect various items and rewards randomly generated on the battlefield. The title is already cross-platform, allowing players to experience the title on PC or Mac, with browser support available and mobile cloud gaming coming soon.
While Haseley designed the game with casual players in mind, aim does matter. Headshots kill zombies faster, and the best players will also have to develop a strategy for herding and butchering the slow-moving masses of undead, whether it’s by leading them into a room where you’ll meet them with a shotgun or running across the map while you reload and snipe them from afar. The game is designed to be played with friends in multiplayer mode but also offers plenty of competitive challenges for solo players.
How do players kill and earn? Haseley explained that players can earn ZBUX, the game’s token, and redeem it for Ethereum or Immutable’s IMX token, to name a few (ZBUX can be traded on Uniswap). ZBUX can be used to buy in-game weapons and character cosmetics. Players will also be able to acquire and stake or lock up the game’s UNDEAD token, a governance token which can reward holders with more ZBUX or NFTs.
Unlike many other blockchain game developers who come from a traditional games industry background, Haseley comes from the world of traditional finance. Earlier in his career, he worked as a securities lending analyst at Goldman Sachs and also worked at the Bank of Hope and M&T Bank before deciding to start his own gaming company.
Haseley’s said his goal with “Undead Blocks” was to create a game that anyone would want to play—if they’re into the zombie niche. He doesn’t see a lot of other Web3 games getting traction or users right now, and believes it’s partly because other Web3 games either aren’t all that fun, don’t have sustainable tokenomics, or are too difficult for the average user.
The game’s earning model is sustainable, Haseley argued, because players only earn tokens if the game itself is making money, which will primarily be through the sale of in-game assets (guns and “loot coffins”) as NFTs.
While “Undead Blocks” is still in beta, it already held a $150,000 tournament for over 7,500 players and has roughly 2,500 daily active users. And over 100,000 players have tried the game in the past quarter, according to Wagyu’s data.
“Undead Blocks is exactly the right combination of innovative tech and approachable, inclusive gameplay poised to give a massive push to the mass adoption of web3 gaming,” Immutable’s VP of Global Business Development Andrew Sorokovsky said in a statement.