Game publisher Square Enix will bring its Dungeon Siege franchise into the metaverse game world of The Sandbox.
Rival publisher Ubisoft recently announced similar plans to bring Rabbids IP into the Ethereum-based metaverse game world.
Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix is one of the largest traditional gaming giants with plans to make crypto games, much to the chagrin of NFT-skeptical gamers. This week, the Japanese firm reinforced those intentions by announcing plans to bring one of its franchises into the Ethereummetaverse game, The Sandbox.
Square Enix will bring the Dungeon Siege fantasy role-playing game IP into The Sandbox in multiple ways, including with an interactive experience on Square Enix’s owned LAND in the shared online world. The publisher also will make Dungeon Siege characters and assets available for players to use within The Sandbox’s game-making tools.
Dungeon Siege originally launched in 2002, and the last entry was released in 2011, with the franchise selling more than 1.7 million copies to date. Although not as popular as the firm’s Final Fantasy or Tomb Raider franchises, it’s a way to explore metaverse gaming with an established franchise and perhaps introduce new players to a dormant IP.
Square Enix follows fellow publisher Ubisoft in making such a move, with Ubisoft recently announcing plans to bring its long-running Rabbids franchise to The Sandbox.
Although this is Square Enix’s first activation in The Sandbox, the publisher has been linked to the project for years. In March 2020, Square Enix led a $2 million investment round in The Sandbox, which is owned by leading metaverse investor Animoca Brands.
The Sandbox is an Ethereum-based metaverse game built around NFT collectibles. Players can purchase LAND plots (sold as NFTs) that can be customized with interactive play experiences, and even monetized or rented to other creators. The PC and Mac game also uses NFTs for avatars and items within the blocky game world.
An NFT acts like a deed of ownership to a unique digital item, and in addition to interactive video game assets, it can also represent images, video clips, and more. The wider NFT market swelled to $25 billion in trading volume in 2021, per data from DappRadar.
Meanwhile, the metaverse refers to a vision of an immersive future version of the internet, in which users work, play, and socialize in shared 3D spaces with avatars. Facebook and other tech giants, and numerous crypto startups, are building toward the metaverse, with blockchain games like The Sandbox and Decentraland offering an early taste of what’s possible.
Although The Sandbox has been selling LAND NFTs for years and racking up prominent partners such as Snoop Dogg, Ubisoft, and The Walking Dead, the game has yet to be fully released to the public. The Sandbox is launching an open alpha test on March 3 that runs through the end of the month and lets players try a free sample of the game world.
In recent months, Square Enix has both revealed and reaffirmed plans to create NFT-driven and play-to-earn video games. Square Enix and Ubisoft alike have faced vocal backlash from gamers for exploring the blockchain and NFT space, as have other game creators like Team17 and GSC Game World.