Blankos Block Party, an NFT-driven creation game that claims to have already racked up more than one million total players, may soon be in front of a lot more players when it launches on the popular Epic Games Store.
Publisher Mythical Games announced the news amid NFT NYC this week, although a timeframe for the launch has yet to be announced. Gala Games, another publisher, claimed earlier this month that its Wild West-themed shooter GRIT will be the first NFT game to be released on Epic’s marketplace later this year.
The Epic Games Store is a major platform for digital PC and Mac games, counting over 194 million users as of the end of 2021. Epic Games, also the publisher of hit game Fortnite and creator of the widely used Unreal Engine software, has been more open to blockchain-powered games than rival marketplace, Steam.
John Linden, CEO of Mythical Games, told Decrypt that it has been “working with Epic for months now” on bringing NFT games to the marketplace. However, he added that this is the latest step following years of conversations with Epic about NFT gaming.
“They’ve kind of gone back and forth with some of the skepticism and all that, and rightfully so,” said Linden. “There’s a lot of early games that were very much gamified economies, really, more than a game.”
Ethereum-based game Axie Infinity has been the biggest success story in the NFT gaming space to date, generating more than $4 billion worth of total NFT trading volume. However, the Pokémon-inspired gameplay has been dinged as shallow, and its play-to-earn economy began collapsing late last year, sending token prices down the drain.
Linden said that Mythical Games—which was co-founded by former game industry executives from Activision, Oculus, and EA—is focused on delivering “a safe NFT game” to the Epic Games Store. He added that the studio is more concerned with gameplay and fun experiences rather than token-reward mechanics.
“It’s definitely a ‘game-first’ type experience,” he said of Blankos Block Party, “and we’re excited to have it on the Epic Games Store.”
Blankos Block Party is a PC and Mac action game that lets players co-create and interact in vibrant 3D environments. The game uses NFT collectibles to represent user-owned items like unique avatars—which are inspired by the vinyl toy collectibles—and digital apparel. They can be resold via Blankos’ marketplace, or can be combined to form new NFTs.
An NFT is a blockchain token that conveys ownership in an item, such as digital video game goods, artwork, and collectibles. Blankos is built on the Mythical Platform, which is a private, permissioned blockchain based on EOSIO, or the same technology that powers the EOS blockchain. Mythical has created a bridge from its platform to Ethereum, the leading NFT ecosystem.
According to Linden, the Epic Games Store version of Blankos Block Party will be identical to the existing version, which is available through a launcher application that can be downloaded from the game’s official website. Mythical has said that Blankos has already logged more than a million registered user accounts since its open beta launch in December 2020.
Blankos recently announced a new in-game collaboration with fashion brand Burberry, following the initial partnership last year, and the game has also held NFT drops with musician Deadmau5 and The Marathon Clothing.
Although the launch timing is still unclear, Linden said that Mythical is planning a series of game updates for when Blankos Block Party launches on the Epic Games Store. He added that Blankos will be exiting “this early access [phase] we’ve been in for a while” as it expands to Epic’s marketplace.
Mythical Games is also working with the National Football League on NFL Rivals, an officially licensed “play-and-own” NFT game. Just this week, the publisher also announced a pair of additional “play-and-earn” titles—racing game Nitro Nation – World Tour and digital trading card game Epic Spell Wars: Magic Fight—that will be released in 2023.
The publisher raised $150 million in Series C funding last November at a $1.25 billion valuation, with backers such as Andreessen Horowitz, NBA legend Michael Jordan, and the NFL’s 32 Equity investment arm. In January, the firm acquired cloud streaming startup Polystream with an eye towards future metaverse applications.