Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT holders have broad license to use their owned artwork however they please, which has led to some diverse collaborations and derivative projects. Soon, one owner’s Mutant Apes will surface within the Dungeons & Dragons-inspired Web3 game, The Glimmering.

Gripnr, the game’s developer, announced today that it has partnered with notable collector and Web3 entrepreneur Jimmy “j1mmy” McNelis to bring several of his owned Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT characters into The Glimmering as enemy characters.

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The Mutant Apes in question will be reimagined by Gripnr Lead Artist Justin “Angryblue” Kamerer to fit within the game’s fantasy world. Gripnr will release a derivative NFT collection based on the Mutant Ape characters, minted on Ethereum scaling network Polygon, and they’ll be featured within the digital tabletop game experience.

“Ever since Mutants came out, I’ve wondered where their IP may fit,” McNelis told Decrypt, “It turns out villains in a role-playing game felt like the right direction to take this once the opportunity presented itself.”

McNelis—who founded the Avastars profile picture (PFP) collection in 2020 and co-founded the Gallery of Digital Assets (GODA) platform alongside musician Pharrell Williams—said that he’s a fan of role-playing games (RPGs) and the fantasy genre, as well as their oft-memorable villains. Mutant Apes seemed like the right fit for that.

“The Mutants look like bad guys,” he affirmed. “We’re leaning into that.”

The Mutant Apes launched in August 2021 as a spinoff of the original Bored Ape collection. Existing Ape holders were granted a “Mutant Serum” NFT that would transform their existing artwork into a new NFT, plus creator Yuga Labs sold another 10,000 new Mutant Ape NFTs. To date, the collection has generated over $1.9 billion worth of trading volume, per CryptoSlam.

Gripnr is a Web3 startup attempting to bridge the gap between traditional, physical tabletop games and digital components using NFT-based characters. The Glimmering is the first game from the studio, which raised $2.5 million in funding in 2022.

The studio recently faced potential turmoil as Dungeons & Dragons IP owner Wizards of the Coast announced plans to ban NFTs with an update to its community license that enables derivative works.

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However, Wizards ultimately canceled such plans following backlash to other proposed license changes, letting Web3 use cases continue on unimpeded. Instead, the company put the core Dungeons & Dragons content under a Creative Commons license, which lets creators develop derivative work without fear that the license will someday be changed or revoked.

The Glimmering is set to launch on March 30. Players must mint an NFT hero and canthen play the online game, with all of their progress recorded on-chain. Users can also create their own content within the world of The Glimmering and even receive royalties when it’s played.

Gripnr Lead Designer Stephen Radney-MacFarland told Decrypt that the Mutant Apes will fit well within The Glimmering's fantasy world of Asuwa, which trades in supernatural and magical elements.

"We don't want to spoil the story by overly detailing how these newcomers fit in the world, or our vision for how they might shake up the plot," Radney-MacFarland said. "We'll say this for now—goblins and bastard baboons will soon have new maniacal competition in town."

For McNelis, the Gripnr collaboration is the latest example of licensing out his owned Apes for various creative projects. He also owns the Bored Apes used by Universal Music Group’s 10:22PM label for its Kingship virtual band project, and his own Avastars project similarly offers NFT holders commercialization rights.

“I love being able to learn about and explore commercial rights with NFTs,” he told Decrypt. “This use case for NFTs has been on the top of my mind for several years now. Having a solid collection of Yuga assets has provided me with the opportunity to make some cool deals.”

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