Neon Machine has secured $20 million in Series A funding to finance production on its upcoming blockchain-based shooter, Shrapnel.
The investment was led by Polychain Capital with additional backing from Griffin Gaming Partners, Brevan Howard Digital, Franklin Templeton, IOSG Ventures, and Tess Ventures.
Neon Machine had already netted $10.5 million in late 2021 to kick-start development on Shrapnel, which is being pitched as an extraction shooter with a “creator ecosystem that empowers players to own their creations and shape the future of the game.”
The Shrapnel website claims the title will allow players to claim ownership ofmaps, callsigns, skins and more–which will allbe published on-chain as unique non-fungible items (NFTS)–using “SHRAP” tokens.
“Blockchain and crypto-based assets have the ability to transform the gaming industry, as they allow players to have ownership of the platform. By retracting ownership from the platform and giving it to players–and this being visible on-chain–it becomes possible for players to receive attributions for creation, curation, and game interaction,” adds another blurb on the website.
A white paper published by Neon claims Shrapnel will be the first moddable triple-A FPS built entirely on chain, and will “empower players to collectively own the game and its future roadmap.” It adds that blockchain tech provides players with an “approachable way to earn real money” by selling and trading items.
Neon Machineis going all-in on the blockchain with Shrapnel
Although some in the game industry have questioned the viability of blockchain and NFT-based titles due to concerns over the environmental impact of the tech and the speculative, unstable(thanks Forbes)nature of digital ownership, Neon is throwing its weight behindthe nascent technology.
The studio–which claims the Avalanche blockchain Shrapnel relies on has an “ethos of minimizing environmental impact”–has already recruited developers with experience working at major companies like Xbox, EA, HBO, LucasFilm, Sucker Punch, and Irrational.
It plans to debut an early access version of Shrapnel to paid users in December 2023 before pursuing an official free-to-play launch in 2024.
In a press release, Neon Machine said the cash injection arrives at a “critical time” as the team prepares to roll out incremental playable releases over the coming months.
“Key upcoming milestones include launching the Shrapnel Marketplace, where in-game items will be purchasable and tradable, as well as further developing its creator tools for players to build skins, maps, and other in-game items,” it added.
Shrapnel CEO Mark Long explained the Neon Machine team has expanded to over 70 members in the past two years, and said they’re working hard to deliver a “blockbuster-quality shooter.”