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Arrivant is unveiling its blockchain gaming franchise Project: Eluüne: StarGarden. The science-fiction title is a tribe-based, socially focused creature crafting and battling game.
The game project has gathered a 15,000-strong community on its Discord channel (which has been gamified and designed to promote collaboration between the players and creators).
The project involves non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and is currently being built with Unity on the Solana blockchain. It will also have a free-to-play element in addition to its play-to-own multiplayer online game. The first project is a Tribes-based Auto Battle Chess game with smart NFTs. It has role-playing game mechanics and will debut on PC and mobile.
Arrivant wants to be part of the next wave of blockchain games that do not seek novelty from such features but use emerging tools to meaningfully drive new types of player ownership and engagement.
For example, the project has launched a number of evolving smart NFTs offering players opportunities to “lock in” their NFT or choose to allow it to continue to cycle into new expressions. This has led to social conversations and new communities based on preferences for specific characters or item ownership.
The company minted its first set of NFTs and raised $2.5 million from its community in just under four hours. Arrivant is now in the process of closing their first round of venture funding to scale and grow the company. The Los Angeles-based team includes chief strategy officer Craig Allen, a former Call of Duty developer. He is head of studio Craig McPherson, whose past titles include Call of Duty, Medal of Honor and Martian VR. Another cofounder and lead game economist is Ramin Shokrizade, who was the former meta-game designer for World of Warships and World of Tanks Blitz.
And Arrivant is working on launching in-game avatars with Fractal, an NFT marketplace started by Twitch cofounder Justin Kan.
“We’re so excited about Project Eluüne,” Kan said in a statement. “This game has the kind of passionate team, rich narrative, and innovative design we seek to feature to our community as a showcase for where the gaming industry is going.”
Project: Eluüne — StarGarden
StarGarden is a game being built in the Project: Eluüne universe. Players will go on a quest to repair a shattered world and uncover its secrets. They will build creature armies to outsmart and counter ever more powerful enemy forces. As a team, players will devise strategies to recruit, craft, train, optimize and merge powerful creatures.
The game is a free-to-play and play-to-own title designed for long-term play. The company said it is not just a game to play with your existing friends. It’s designed so you can make new friends. The fresh aspect of the world is its Tribe vs Environment (TvE) and Tribe vs Tribe (TvT) battle mechanics.
StarGardens are fragmented plots of land floating in the universe of Project Eluüne. One StarGarden will be the home base for a player’s tribe and the center of its social activities. It grows as your tribe progresses in completing quests and winning TvT battles. The StarGarden is also a place where you can strategize with your team, optimize your creatures and flex to other tribes just how cool your team is.
Players can buy a StarGarden. The game has 20 domains that are home to more than 1,000 creatures in this fragmented world. They wait for someone to guide them to restore the flow of life that was stolen by traitor gods.
Each creature has different classes and abilities. You can unlock them by winning battles with your teammates. Some rare/exotic creatures can be crafted using ingredients that you can buy and sell. They give you a chance to flex, but not an unfair advantage in play.
Players can travel to mysterious lands to battle the gods that stole AURAH from this world. You can steal the precious life force back from them and use it to re-enliven your team’s StarGarden. Combat will be in the form of auto-chess, round-based battles. You must strategize as a team to overcome the armies guarding AURAH and repair this world.
You can truly own the blockchain assets you collect and craft in the game. The StarGarden land is one of these assets. The game leaves behind the notion that players are just users renting an experience; they are collaborators building the world alongside the developers and owning pieces of it.
StarGarden is a guild-versus-environment and guild-versus-guild auto-battler RPG for PC and mobile. As a player, you’ll recruit, craft, and organize your roster of creatures. You’ll strategize with your guildmates, battling alongside them and your creatures, building structures on your StarGarden, as you repair a shattered world and uncover
its many secrets.
This techno-magical world, teeming with fantastic life and a rich history spanning millions of years, is called Eleriah. As you traverse this frontier, an ancient portal shows you glimpses of this world—shattered, seemingly war-torn, and in need of humanity’s help. The players discover StarGardens, or pieces of land adrift in the sky. Your role is to arrive on these deserted islands, join a Guild, and begin unraveling the mysteries of Eluüne’s broken world. Guilds operate with five to 40 players, and guilds can challenge other StarGardens to competitions.
Meanwhile, players can earn Valaan NFT creatures and craft them with ingredients. You can merge them and build them up over time. You can enter them in battles and see how your roster works in combat. StarGarden grants everyone in a given Guild potential access to 20 domains and 1,000 creatures, but each StarGarden starts
with access to 8 of the 20 domains and 8 of the 1,000 creatures.
As the guild successfully completes quests, more creatures and domains are unlocked. All this progress is tied to the StarGarden and stored in its metadata; thus, the StarGarden itself levels up and becomes more powerful. The progress and metadata can be used to differentiate each StarGarden from the others—both in the game space and on the market if it’s put up for sale.
Over time, a guild’s size can expand from 5 to 40 people. Likewise, the total unlocked domains can increase from 8 to 20; creature levels can boost from 0 to 100; and creature sizes can scale from 1 to 100,000. In other words, your roster will begin with insect-sized creatures, and, over time, expand to include starships, mechas, demigods, and creatures that fuse technology, magic, and the sheer force of techno-nature itself.
Cofounders Cedric Gamelin, CEO, and Meghan McWilliams, chief operating officer, previously worked together on a virtual reality startup. At the time, they were fascinated by technologies such as augmented reality on the Magic Leap One AR headset. They thought about how the metaverse and virtual worlds were going to blossom. But they didn’t think that big social networks like Facebook or Instagram would evolve into the metaverse because the human connection just wasn’t strong enough as it is in games.
“Where we’re being social is the gameplay. Being social in games is an infrastructure that can help you make new meaningful relationships,” Gamelin said. “We want the metaverse, which is going to be a social place, to be a place where people can build new meaningful relationships, build value, and also retain value.
As a result, they decided to leave VR and they brought on Craig Allen, a game industry veteran, as an adviser and he became the chief strategy officer. They also recruited another cofounder Ramin Shokrizade, an expert in virtual world economics who has been writing about game economics since 2000 and has assisted dozens of studios worldwide with their game economies including Microsoft, Mythic Entertainment, CCP, Take 2, Nickelodeon, and Wargaming.
And then they embarked on building StarGarden. Within six weeks of launching a channel on Discord, they grew to a community of 17,000 followers. The company got off the ground in 2020. They raised $2.5 million and built up to 18 people now.
“We want it to be a place where every human can belong,” said McWilliams.
“For that to happen we designed a player built economy where no one is self-sufficient, so that each player has a role to play and even experienced players need new players by design.” added Ramin Shokrizade, cofounder.
Dealing with NFT critics
The company is aware of criticism around NFTs from hardcore gamers and some game developers. But the company feels it will have a better overall pitch because of its focus on quality gameplay and making a successful community.
“We really from the ground up wanted to incentivize that spirit of working together and that you will go further the more you work together,” McWilliams said. “We wanted to move away from this kind of massively single-player mindset that you’ve seen in a lot of other game cultures.”
Allen said in an interview that he believes the company’s focus on community will serve it well in part because of the rise of user-generated content. The shift to a player-generated economy will enable developers and players to work together as co-creators, Allen said.
“We’re a game project, we’re free to play, we have NFTs, we’re Web3, we have play and earn — all that is there. But the deeper, more fundamental shift as somebody who’s worked in the game industry a long time, is the player community wanting to participate and want to co-create. And that’s really what was special to me about what Megan and Cedric created here. They authentically communicate with the community. To me, this is the beginning of the next thing.”
“Blockchain is just technology. For us, it’s not like the crux of our game,” Gamelin said. “It’s not the crux of our experiences or the crux of our company. The idea is that we’re building games for players. And we’re using technology to amplify that experience. Blockchain is one of them.”
He sees blockchain enabling and enhancing the experience. The population of Discord fans comes from North America, Australia, Europe and South America. And they have a wide variety of demographics. The company is talking with investors now.
“We are not just differentiating ourselves from Web3 gaming companies, we are also differentiating ourselves from traditional gaming companies,” Gamelin said. “And this is how we’re doing it. We’re taking the best elements of Animal Crossing where people arrive on an island desert island, you can craft a build the islands together, we take the best of them. We are taking aspects of Team Fight Tactics and bringing the best of World of Warcraft guilds together.”