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Your Web3 Gaming Power-Up
Leo Kahn has always played games. Whether it was Super Mario Bros. on his Nintendo growing up, or when looking to unwind after a tough day as CEO of Undeads, gaming has been a constant fixture in his life. But whenever he’s tried to connect his love of all things blockchain with his passion for gaming he’s always come away feeling dissatisfied.
The problem with existing crypto games, Kahn suggests, is that they don’t prioritise gameplay, which means you end up with clunky, disjointed experiences that just aren’t fun to play. They also lag behind AAA games when it comes to visuals—and when you’re competing with off-chain titles like God of War: Ragnarok, Elden Ring or Hogwarts Legacy, that makes it very difficult to attract players. With Undeads, Kahn plans to change that.
Undeads is set in a post-apocalyptic open world where a virus called HÈL has turned half the population into ferocious, green-skinned zombies that’ll attack any living thing they come into contact with. The other half is made up of humans who managed to imbibe the antidote in time—and while the two factions live alongside each other, that doesn’t mean they get on.
That human-versus-zombie conflict is what’s at the heart of Undeads. Every player must choose a side when they start—and it’s a choice that will determine exactly how you play Undeads. Those who decide to take control of a human will have to gather resources, craft armour and weapons, and construct buildings, whereas those who opt to inhabit a zombie body will try to stop them, while also building underground lairs and assembling an arsenal of their own.
Whichever side you choose, the world of Undeads offers plenty to explore, with a map that’s larger than those in Red Dead Redemption 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and GTA V. Its 100 square kilometres are divided into three different types of terrain, each with its own dangers and benefits.
Meadows, the most common biome, are relatively peaceful and rich with resources and wildlife, although the risk of being ambushed increases the closer you get to a settlement. Wasteland is the opposite. Ravaged with disease and teeming with zombies who consider it their home, humans are prone to particularly vicious zombie attacks when they enter these hostile territories. At the centre of the map is the State Capital—the most dangerous territory in the Undeads world. It's easy to get overwhelmed on its narrow streets, even when exploring as part of a group.
And players will be encouraged to get out and see the sights of Undeads, not just to learn more about how HÈL took hold in the first place, but also to complete the numerous quests that are on offer, which will allow you to level-up your character’s profession.
Those professions include three core types. Soldiers make use of their combat skills in PvP and PvE battles, or can be assigned as guardians of the city for 24-hour periods. Medics help revive fallen players, while construction workers can build different classes of buildings.
Where Undeads differs from most open-world survival games is through its live economy.
While players can access the game without investing in their own NFT avatar, the Undeads world isn’t fully available until they do. That’ll also give them a unique, 3D character to explore as, with each one capable of improvement by gathering resources, constructing buildings, crafting armour and weapons, and defeating enemies in combat.
These activities will also give players the opportunity to sell or trade resources and items with other players; earn through other players interacting with their regions; and make in-game currency through practising their individual professions.
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“I’ve given thousands of hours to different games,” Kahn said. “You love the game but the game doesn’t love you back. Sure, you’ve had some fun with it—but you’ll never be able to make any money from it.”
Undeads aims to change that, with a strong economy that keeps players engaged and ensures that they’ll keep coming back. That means offering multiple different ways to earn, depending on your play style.
“There’s kill-to-earn, that’s like Call of Duty,” Kahn said at the European Blockchain Convention 2023. “But if that’s not your thing, and you say, ‘I’m a builder, I want to just create different worlds and environments,’ you can work to earn. You can rent to earn, you can write to earn, you can craft to earn. Just play the game, and you’re basically making money.”
Dawn of the Undeads
As well as its own in-house team, Undeads has also partnered with some of the games industry’s most highly-respected companies. Warner Bros. and Wabi Sabi Sound, well known for their work on games including Bioshock, Left 4 Dead 2 and Dead Space 2.
Undeads is still in the second stage of development, with its team of over 100 experienced developers working to create the most immersive experience possible. That means the game is still a way off being ready to play, but people can still get involved today. It’s already possible to choose your side—human or zombie—by minting an NFT, while potion boxes are also available to buy.
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And when the finished product arrives, it promises to herald a new era in Web3 gaming, said Kahn. “Currently available Web3 games are a far cry from traditional gaming, where emotional content, sound and graphics all contribute to the quality of the product,” he said. “Our main goal is to bring rich and fun-first gameplay from traditional gaming to the crypto space.” That means marrying the gloss and playability of AAA titles to the digital ownership rights and earning opportunities presented by Web3 gaming.
“We really want to bring studio-level quality to crypto gaming,” Kahn added. “That’s where the convergence is going to happen.”
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