I have been outwardly critical of major games publishers and developers for how slow on the uptake they have been with blockchain. However, while they are bound by red tape, new studios are forming and it’s important to remember one key detail in the modern gaming industry: AAA quality is not exclusive to AAA studios anymore.
Beauty and Blockchain
Project Quantum is a first-person shooter with about as ambitious visual intentions as one can have, particularly without the backing of a publishing goliath. The game is built in Unreal Engine 5, which itself has received a lot of press since its release for photorealism. The trailer is the only in-game footage we have so far, and that is Project Quantum in its foetal state, but it’s undoubtedly endearing.
Play to Earn Mechanics
While Project Quantum’s Play to Earn (P2E) mechanics aren’t fully known yet, we have some indication on how it works. Much of the gameplay premise is to drop into a map — either alone or in a squad — and then fight players and NPCs for equipment, and mine for resources. You then have to extract before you die and lose it all. This PvP/PvE looter-shooter concept is tried and tested, and can lead to adrenaline-fueled gameplay. If what you are looting is all on the blockchain and can be sold, that element is improved exponentially.
Project Quantum already has its own token, $QBIT (BEP-20) on the Binance Smartchain. Quantum Works will take 10% as tax on all buy, sell, and move transactions. Then, “3.5% is swapped and liquidated to BNB. 3.5% is injected back into the game economy in the form of in-game rewards, item value, competition prizes. 3% is given back to all the players and holders of QBIT.”
What has won Quantum Works a lot of points for me is that they are building their own plugin for Unreal Engine to have the game interact with the blockchain. They will then make this plugin available to other developers to aid in the rise of AAA games using blockchain.
Visuals and Gameplay
I’m going to start in reverse order as I want to discuss the lack of gameplay footage. I wouldn’t typically cover a game in this early a stage, but given the project’s scope and the interest it’s generated, I felt it deserved our attention. As a result, all I can speak of with regards to gameplay is on intention and reiterate what I said above. Dropping into a map, looting, and getting out before you die, all while holding NFTs worth money, has the potential to be exhilarating in ways we haven’t seen outside of eSports tournaments.
The graphics engine is Unreal Engine 5, and the ceiling of that, is essentially the ceiling of gaming graphics. In-game footage is still sparse, but even the pre-alpha looks far and a way above what we’re used to in blockchain gaming currently.
The team behind a blockchain gaming project is one of the key areas of interest for me and often dictates whether I will cover the game at all. Project Quantum is far above the average on this front, with a sizeable team and no pseudonyms.
The weakest link in terms of relevant experience is the founder and CEO of Quantum Studios, Fraser Gordon. He appears to have never worked in gaming or crypto before, but this shouldn’t put anyone off; he’s clearly had success in other fields and has made himself fully accountable for this project.
The rest of the team is a mixture of experience and success, with highlights being a BAFTA-winning writer/director and a AAA-experienced Art Director. While it might not be an all-star team, it’s certainly far stronger than most blockchain game development teams and each person is working under their real names which inspires confidence in this sector.
Communication and Transparency
The two fundamental indicators of a project’s trustworthiness are communication and transparency. On the communication front, Quantum Works is decent across social media, their website, and Discord. They aren’t leading the way in interactions with their community, but they’re not lackluster either.
I have touched on the transparency of the project already by pointing out the team is not using pseudonyms. I looked up each of the senior people working on Project Quantum and could find them and their rough histories with ease. As for their intentions for their project and $QBIT, it’s generally good.
Blockchain: Binance Smart Chain (BSC)
Play to Earn: Yes (Also F2E — Free to Earn)
Release Date: 2024
Project Quantum is one of the very few work-in-progress titles that aims at what I see as the holy grail of blockchain gaming: a game that players would want to play whether it had blockchain or not.
I dearly hope for the success of this development and I will be following its progress closely, but I do have my reservations. The studio creating Project Quantum is brand new and of varying experience levels in the industry. While this is offset by the members using their real names, it is still one hell of a mountain to scale on what is essentially these climbers’ first expedition. Many projects with similar ambitions in this space have seen the wheels come off; I hope that doesn’t occur here.
Despite these considerations, what we have so far is impressive and professionally put together. The sky-high aim of the project does appear to be properly supported with infrastructure and a suitable budget, though these assumptions are largely guesswork based on the team size, talent, and quality of what we have access to so far. In addition to this, as a small aside, they have set a realistic release date which is irritatingly uncommon in our sector. Too often we’re told two indie devs have started building a complete metaverse with beta coming next week.
As it stands, Project Quantum is one of the most exciting blockchain games in development with the potential to be a historic marker in the evolution of blockchain in gaming. The notion of high risk as you loot NFTs and have to escape without dying is one I would expect to be a staple in gaming a decade from now. Perhaps Project Quantum will pave the way in that regard. Whether that potential can be realized is currently unknowable, but we can hope, and hope we will.
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