It turns out that free-to-play MMO Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, which recently launched worldwide, is tied up with the blockchain. Developers Netmarble have also said that they're looking to implement NFTs in to the game by the end of the year.Tanking all of the goodwill inherent in its Ghibli aesthetic, Netmarble's website states:
"Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds employs a gameplay-based blockchain system, giving players who enjoy Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds the opportunity to play to earn tokens through gameplay.
Players can acquire two types of tokens in the Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds blockchain system, and our team will do our best to preserve the token values."
The phrase "do our best" is putting in a lot of work there, if you ask me!
Many players in the game's official Discord are asking for the blockchain elements to be removed. One of the most popular posts states that the integration "in its current form, is ruining the game and fun." That's because one of Netmarble's promoted currencies can be used to automatically purchase some of the best gear in the game. Where these items were once obtainable through gacha pulls, giving all players at least some chance to get lucky, they're now only buyable via the game's tie-in to the crypto economy.
The developers' roadmap on their website also quietly states that NFTs will be in the game by Q4 2022, though what form these will take is not yet clear. It has many details on exactly how players will be able to faff about exchanging in-game currency for tokens for Netmarble's specific cryptocurrency for other cryptos and so on and so forth, which I will not be attempting to summarise here because I have but one life on this green earth.
Netmarble, South Korea's biggest mobile games company, wrote in a blogpost a few days ago that they are "strategically on track toward establishing a sustainable, multilateral, and reliable blockchain game ecosystem." They've already implemented it into battle royale MMORPG A3: Still Alive alongside Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, and say they have more planned for the future.