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Studio369 readies beta of Web3 multiplayer mech combat game MetalCore

The mechs are coming to the blockchain.

Studio369 is preparing to launch MetalCore, an open world player-versus-player mech combat game that combines the engagement of high-quality traditional gaming with true asset ownership via Web3.

In the works for about three years, the game is expected to hit an open beta test within a few months and a closed beta much sooner. It’s coming from a stellar team of creatives from the likes of LucasFilm, Disney, Activision, and others. Meanwhile, it’s starting a closed beta today dubbed “Call to Arms,” an invite-only playtest that provides early fans a first-hand look at the updated game build.

Set in a dystopian alien world, the game is visually inspired by titles such as Warhammer and the Star Wars universe and was designed by acclaimed science fiction and fantasy artist Stephan Martiniere — best known for his work on Star Wars, Tron: Legacy and Star Trek. 

Studio369 CEO Matt Candler said in an interview with GamesBeat that the plan is to launch an open beta test soon and release the full title afterward. While the game uses blockchain technology, Candler said the goal has always been to create a fun game.

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“The game is an open world, with territory control fighting among mechs, aircraft, tanks and infantry,” Candler said. “If you like playing Battlefield or Halo or Planetside or Titanfall, you’re going to have a great time in this game. It’s an open world PvP game with dynamic missions.”

The company started making the game in 2021, raising a small funding round to get going. It raised another $15 million from investors such as Bitkraft in 2022. The game is built on Unreal Engine 4.26, with an upgrade coming to Unreal Engine 5 later this year. The firm is based in Chicago but the team is remote.

The title is a hybrid Web2 free-to-play game with Web3 elements where players can purchase non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The company released free mints for NFTs earlier. There’s no requirement for free-to-play players to make purchases, but they can do so to enhance their experience, Candler said. It’s not unlike the mech-based game, Wreck League, from nWay. But the entire mech is an NFT, not just pieces of the mech as in Wreck League.

With the dynamic quest system, the game gives you daily missions to do each day based on your progress. It’s not a full massively multiplayer online (MMO) game with dialogue trees, but there are non-player characters (NPCs) that you interact with.

You can own a mech, aircraft or tank. They’re all customizable and you can change your loadout. You can start playing without any NFTs.

“As you level up, you unlock and find blueprints for vehicles in the world as part of the loop,” Candler said. “When you defeat other enemies or mechs, you have to scan them to acquire that blueprint. So there’s this going out to the world and finding the mech blueprint that you want, again, bringing it back to your base, getting the materials crafted, and you have an option to craft it into an NFT.”

At the outset, the territory war for control won’t be in the game. It will come in a major update later on. The idea is to use the blockchain to handle territory ownership.

The team was over 50 people last year, but Studio369 had to cut back to about 25 people.

“Last year was a difficult year in the in the industry. So we weren’t unscathed. We had to do a downsize and restructuring,” he said.

Using Immutable’s blockchain

MetalCore maker Studio369 has teamed up with Immutable zkEVM.

Players still have to go through a learning curve of creating a wallet for cryptocurrency. But the blockchain has gotten easier to use with Immutable zkEVM. Studio369 has an exclusive deal to publish on Immutable zkEVM in exchange for an investment that happened last year. The Immutable tech enables low-cost transactions on the blockchain without compromising security.

“It feels like it would not be a difficult process for people to get to start playing the game,” Candler said. “We had a difficult crypto winter that looks like we’re coming out of. Bitcoin is getting a lot of activity. It looks like it’s going to be a viable business now.”

The game has three factions in the Gearbreakers, Holy Corps and the Metal Punks. Each one has a different ethos and different goals.

You won’t be able to lose your mech to another player if you lose a match. In that way, it’s not a “pink slip model,” Candler said. But if your mech gets damaged, it may be out of action for a certain amount of time. The Web3 players and the Web2 players aren’t pitted against each other.

Studio369 is launching a closed beta for MetalCore.

Candler said he is pleased there is still a lot of cooperation and collaboration happening Web3 gaming.

“It really feels like the old days for me, the old days of my career when we were all trying to have fun making games and doing it together,” he said.

The company has done some smaller work-for-hire projects as well.

Candler believes that markets such as Southeast Asia and Brazil are keen to get new high-quality Web3 games.

The devs are still working on balancing the economy of the game and how the token is used. They’re also dialing in the faucets and sinks for the game economy across three different tokens.

As for Web3 games, Candler believes there are a lot of good games getting ready to launch. The technology is getting settled and the gas fees, costs and barriers are coming down.

“We’ll see a lot more widespread customer adoption,” he said.

Playtest details

You can own your own gear in MetalCore.

Studio369 said today that closed beta testers will get 24-hour game access and experience a dynamic missions system, new rewards and daily in-game quests with bonuses for top performers. Players will be able to roam freely in an open world – seamlessly blending PvE missions with risky PvP encounters, all while seizing the opportunity to loot, craft, and upgrade weapons and mechs.

Players can gain access to more in-game rewards and exclusive access by picking up a MetalCore Genesis Infantry NFT – a collection of 10,000 unique and playable Infantry NFTs, built with a wide variety of traits, and with varying levels of rarity. Genesis Infantry, secured and held by players before Feb 29 at 3 p.m. Pacific time, will also be playable in the next closed beta cycle. 

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