SymbioGenesis is Square Enix’s first foray into new and marred territory. Over the last couple of years, there has been a rise in Cryptocurrency and NFT infiltration into the games industry. As well as other mediums, like independent art creators. NFTs, also known as non-fungible tokens, are creations stored in various blockchains in the confusing world of Crypto. The concept is not inherently a bad idea. Since having something even digitally and being the sole owner of it satisfies a lust for treasure. However, NFTs have not used this concept in a moralistic way.
As back in 2021, Vice reported that the talented concept artist, RJ Palmer was having art he created stolen by other users on Twitter and converted into NFTs. Meaning that these creations can be simply stolen and used for profit. As NFTs can be sold and traded for cryptocurrencies. This example is one of many extreme cases of NFT’s original concept gone awry. From stealing from creators to nearly scamming people investing in projects.
Such as CryptoZoo spearheaded by Logan Paul as reported by major YouTuber Coffeezilla where people invested massive sums of money into something with nothing to show for it, years later. There are nearly endless examples of NFTs being used in nefarious ways, from reputable people to no-name thieves stealing from reputable people for monetary gain.
But how does this relate to SymbioGenesis? Well, this title aims to be an NFT-based “collectible art” game. While it is mostly shrouded in mystery. There was a project document that was released to the public detailing how this game would work. But, after reading through over 20 pages. I am at a loss for understanding how this game functions on a normal gameplay level. Allow me to break down what I understand of SymbioGenesis.
What is SymbioGenesis?
The tagline as detailed by Square Enix is a “Global NFT Collectible Art Project”. But what does that mean in practice? Good question. There are going to be 10,000 pieces of NFT art or characters that unlock parts of the game’s narrative. However, as detailed in the document. These NFTs can be bought and sold by players. You cannot understand components of the game that cause “information gaps” as they put it, in between players who buy NFTs and those who do not.
However, these NFTs are going to be limited. Meaning that one player can buy every single NFT and resell it to other players at a price they see fit. The game is designed around being a digital marketplace for those who spend money to make potentially make more money. Rather than being an experience in any meaningful way to the wider audience. After reading through all of the available information. I do not know what the gameplay is like. It could be an adventure game, point-and-click, or a text-based game.
The only thing that was broken down, was the games reward loop for NFT holders. Credit to GreatCheshire for the images from the document:
Players who own the NFTs will be able to increase in rank to unlock missions, information, and quests that play into the story of the game. There will be a “World Mission” that will be centered around three players that can determine how the game moves forward. No details on that last part either.
So far, there are many details on how the economy works and what the objectives are. But how players will play the game is still unknown. But concerning the NFTs for those who are interested. How do they look?
Copy, and Paste
The character designs for the NFTs are very uninspired. They all have the same exact face design but have different eyes, hair, and clothes as you can see below:
The designs all look the same and feel off. As the hats of every character above feel edited on, as opposed to drawn on. Since you can see the hair behind it. While some of the “Normies” designs look different, any character wearing a cap just looks unfinished. I can definitely see the fatigue of making 10,000 “unique” characters for a game just by glaring at some images. So confidence in any of the stories for these characters is almost non-existent for me.
This is especially an issue for a game where you are going to be forced to spend an amount that is determined by Square Enix or other players to get these characters. I can not imagine spending whatever that cost could be for characters that look uninspired compared to their marque titles.
So, What is SymbioGenesis?
Good question. There are no details on how the game is going to play or anything outside of collecting NFT characters that, by design look very uninspired. The concept is convoluted in how many aspects are going to play out considering this is going to be a digital marketplace first, and a game second. Players will have to share amongst themselves for fees they set themselves to witness character stories but have to hold onto those characters to increase in rank, contradicting the sharing aspect.
The reason for me detailing the many nefarious uses of Crypto-based creations is because SymbioGenesis is going to fall victim to that too. I am not going to accuse Square Enix of taking advantage of players. Despite games like Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent having exorbitant prices for their gacha mechanics that prey on those with gambling addictions and more money than sense. But I believe the players with the most money will be those who prey on players who want to enjoy what SymbioGenesis could offer.
Not by gating off certain NFT characters by money. Rather, exploiting the game in some form or fashion to either steal from other players. As if there is money to be gained, players will do anything to get it and that is a problem Square Enix will have to deal with, despite creating it themselves. If you are looking for a fun traditional game to enjoy? SymbioGenesis is not up your alley from everything they have detailed.