Neill Blomkamp’s battle royale Off the Grid is an NFT game, unfortunately

District 9 director Neill Blomkamp is making a video game! I knew that. But what I didn’t know is it’s one of those blockchain / NFT games.

Sigh.

This evening’s The Future Games Show ended with a fancy CGI trailer showing off the world of Off the Grid, a free-to-play third-person shooter battle royale from new developer Gunzilla Games.

A District 9-looking battle royale from Neill Blomkamp! That sounds exciting, right? Unfortunately, while researching this write-up of the trailer, I came across a press release from Gunzilla posted 9th August that announced the company had raised a bunch of money from investors – and in the same breath confirmed Off the Grid is a blockchain / NFT game.

Sigh.

Off the Grid players can buy and trade in-game items, and yes, trading will be handled by a blockchain marketplace that supports NFTs. It’s all part of Gunzilla’s appropriately-named GunZ platform.

Gunzilla insists it will never sell NFTs directly to players or hide progression behind a paywall, promising “trading is entirely optional”.

“We are striving to provide players with complete freedom in every detail of OTG, and with each step of its gameplay,” Gunzilla boss Vlad Korolev comments in the note to press.

“In OTG additionally to the core gameplay, players will be able to own and trade their in-game items with other players. As well as assure players that their hard-earned items remain theirs to keep, no matter what.

“In today’s free-to-play games, if you pay for something, it isn’t yours. You do not, and cannot, own anything. Anyone can read the EULA of any game to verify this. If you’re banned, for example, any item can be taken away from you, even if your ban is accidental. When you stop playing any free-to-play game, the money you’ve put in also disappears.

“We are re-inventing the system, putting the power back in the hands of gamers, and are using blockchain technology to make this happen. With OTG and GunZ, we are creating a universe that will set a new standard for the industry.”

Bold claims indeed! But Gunzilla’s press release avoids commenting on the environmental impact of the blockchain. It’s worth remembering the blockchain industry is creating significant carbon emission, and in the US is even contributing to rising utility bills.

Back to “Chief Visionary Officer” Neill Blomkamp and Off the Grid, which is supposedly coming out on PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S in 2023. As IGN pointed out when it covered the confirmation of blockchain in the game earlier this month, “during our interview with him [Blomkamp], he didn’t mention that it would have NFTs.”

Sigh.