S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl is one of the bigger releases of 2022, and for better or worse, it’s going to feature one of the biggest tech trends going into next year: non-fungible tokens (or NFTs).
GSC Game World, which is developing the game, has announced the “S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Metaverse,” which will “use blockchain technology to let the community own a piece of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.” That includes the opportunity to become the “first-ever metahuman,” which GSC Game World appears to define as a non-player character rendered in very high detail. (Though a spokesperson confirmed a metahuman won’t be made with Epic Games’ MetaHuman Creator tool). GSC Game World is partnering with NFT platform DMarket on the new items.
To become a “metahuman,” players will be able to bid for an NFT offering that prize as part of an auction taking place in January 2022. Whoever “owns” the NFT to become an NPC in the game will be able to buy and sell it up until a specific claim date after the auction.
For whoever does end up with the NFT, here’s how the process of becoming an NPC in the game will work, GSC Game World CEO Evgeniy Grygorovych told me in an emailed statement:
The idea of the related NFT is to give the right to recreate its owner’s identity within the game through one of the NPCs. The person will need to come to our studio for a detailed scanning procedure and after that, we will have everything to make this person appear in the game world as one of the characters.
(You can get a brief look at how GSC Game World scans people into the game in this video.)
GSC Game World also plans to release other NFTs in addition to the metahuman one, though the company declined to specify what they might be when we asked. Its NFT drops “won’t influence the gameplay itself or give in-game advantages over other players,” according to a press release.
Despite trepidation from many about NFTs (including Keanu Reeves), game makers are beginning to explore the concept in earnest. The announcement of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 NFTs arrives just over a week after the widely panned news that Ubisoft would be bringing NFT gear to Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. (Some Ubisoft developers have raised questions internally about the company’s NFT initiative, Kotaku reports.) And Peter Molyneux, known for his work on games like Populous, Black And White, and Fable, is making a business simulator where players buy an NFT and try to earn a new digital currency called LegacyCoin.