I’ve seen a lot of streamers or influencers try to make the leap from content creation to consultation and game creation, and it’s a tough road. When I heard that Dr Disrespect was forming his own AAA studio, I was somewhat skeptical, but was bolstered by the news that it contained some very real talent like ex-Call of Duty legend Robert Bowling, among others who have worked on Gears, Halo and Destiny. The studio is Midnight Society, its first game is codenamed Project Moon, and Dr Disrespect says their “approach is going to change the industry.”
And yet things are off to a somewhat…strange start.
The big online kick-off event for Midnight Society yesterday was centered almost entirely around a giveaway of an NFT, a “Day Zero” patch for a limited number of early applicants. It’s a digital emblem that gets stored in a digital wallet to show you were there from the start.
This is a bit eye-rolling, given both my personal feelings on NFTs, but also that we have seen many attempted NFT integrations in games as of late which have found little success or have been shouted down by irate fans who want nothing to do with NFTs, which are viewed as both harmful to the environment or a scheme to extract money from players. Midnight Society claims its NFT is more ecofriendly than most, and it’s not a scheme because it’s just a giveaway, but it raises questions about what exactly they’re building over there, and Doc’s replies have been a mix of people disappointed or angry about the NFT, with others showing they’ve claimed it.
Previously, Doc stated that NFTs and crypto would be a part of his game back in August 2021. Now, he’s on stream talking about its NFTs and trying to reassure fans they’re not mandatory:
“Listen, in regards to NFTs you don’t have to have NFTs to play the game. It doesn’t change your experience of the game once it releases and it will continue to be free-to-play. You can’t buy your way to win.”
“For those who want to get more involved, there are ways to do so involving NFTs. That’s all we’re saying. This is no quick cash grab, that’s not what we’re interested in.”
So, at the very least, this is not something like Axie Infinity which does require you to buy NFTs to play at all. But starting with an NFT and promising “getting more involved” through future NFTs, it seems that’s going to be a heavy focus.
I was willing to push past all this NFT stuff and at least try to figure out what this game is, but right now the entire FAQ page is…only about the Day Zero NFT. What is it? How do I claim it? Can I sell it? How do I create a wallet? Are NFTs bad for the environment? It’s literally all the questions.
The only thing I was able to find about the game itself other than the concept art that covers the website is the following:
“Midnight Society is focused on delivering the most community-focused, online PVP multiplayer experience the world has ever seen.
Built from the ground up in Unreal Engine 5, our new title will be made open to a ‘Day Zero’ community and major content creators from the earliest most iterations via the Founders Pass.”
It’s a conundrum. Dr Disrespect commands a huge audience and there is some real talent attached to this team. But it does strike me as getting off on the wrong foot to launch with barely any game information and an NFT giveaway in its place, with the promise of more to come, and the idea that this will be a web3-integrated experience in some fashion. We’ll have to see what’s actually revealed next, and I’m hoping it’s the game itself, not more digital collectibles.