In December 2021, Dr. Disrespect, aka Guy Beahm, co-founded a new game studio called Midnight Society with former Call of Duty creative strategist Robert Bowling and Halo 5 multiplayer designer Quinn Delhoyo. What exactly the studio is doing has yet to be revealed, beyond promising it will be “the most community-centric online PVP multiplayer experience the world has ever seen”, but a new post from blog shed more light on the community-aspect focus, which will include NFT sales.
“As we focus on building the best new multiplayer PVP first-person shooter, we seek to leverage the collective strength of our Day Zero community to step in during the crucial early stages of project development,” said said Robert, head of studio Midnight Society. Bowling explained. “It means building an infrastructure that enables active participants in our community to experience environments, weapons, movement, and other gameplay fundamentals at a stage where their feedback, input, and advice can be incorporated.”
Most studios rely on various forms of beta testing for this stuff, but Midnight Society is instead releasing a Founders Access Pass that will allow holders to play early builds, access Discord channels, and vote on the “key design decisions”. Founders Access Pass owners will also have the option to craft a unique, swappable visor design, procedurally generated and with varying, presumably random, rarity levels. However, it’s unclear if these designs will actually appear in-game: the message only states that the design “acts as your identity within the Midnight Society and can be used as your verified avatar inside and out. ‘outside the community’.
The Founders Access Pass will be limited to a “restricted group” of 10,000 community members, who will have the option to spend $50 to get one. There will, however, be other series of passes in the future, created “using environmentally friendly NFT technology, and each with a unique theme,” Bowling wrote. After a 30-day lockdown period, buyers will be free to sell their passes on open marketplaces like Opensea.
Access to the Founder Pass and future series will not be first-come, first-served: instead, fans will need to request the privilege of donating their money to Midnight Society. The Founders Access Pass application process is now live and applicants will be judged on criteria such as (but not limited to!):
- When you joined the Midnight Society community
- How active have you been in the community
- How active a gamer, creator, or developer you are in general
- Your take on what makes a good PvP shooter
Bowling said none of this is meant to be exclusive, and people who want to play Midnight Society’s game with a conventional account will be entirely free to do so. Additionally, players who “have no understanding or interest in decentralization” will still be able to reap its purported benefits if, at some point, they decide to recoup their investment by selling some of their in-game content.
“Because we track all rights to the centralized account, we can easily transfer ownership of all your items to you and you are free to sell them inside or outside the Midnight Society ecosystem,” Bowling said, which honestly makes me wonder why all this NFT hullabaloo is necessary in the first place.
Midnight Society is already working on the next round of passes, according to the FAQ on the Founders Pass application page. “We are designing a meta-economy layer for Midnight Society that will form the core of industry pass holders,” he says. “The Founders will have a say in how it evolves. Industry Pass holders, also known as The Eyes, will form guilds that will manage all in-universe crafting of weapons, mercenaries, and cosmetics. used by Claws in the Midnight Society.”
Reaction to the announcement has not been entirely positive. There is some cautious support in this Reddit thread, but many users are expressing doubts or disappointment with the adoption of NFTs, and there is also uncertainty as to whether this is simply a funding game or a core aspect of the game. Some followers said the focus on purchases and in-game economics before an actual game was revealed made a bad first impression.
“What happened to the revolutionary game-changing experience?” Redditor ThatOneAppleGuy wrote. “To be completely honest, I don’t give a damn about cosmetic NFTs, but why is this the first thing revealed about the game? It just stinks. Consumers should be sold on the game for its gameplay, not for its profitability.
Depending on how they are integrated into the game, the presence of NFT could also be a headache for a possible Steam release: Valve banned all games with NFT or cryptocurrency from Steam in October 2021.
“What we believe is that over the next few years games will become increasingly decentralized and the walls between publishers and developers will become doors, not barriers,” Bowling wrote. “We want to make sure our users are ready to take advantage of that future by building it today.”
The Midnight Society Founders Pass application process will be open until March 23. Approvals will be sent three weeks after applications are submitted.