STALKER 2 developers GSC Game World announced yesterday that they’d be adding NFTs to the game. Public reception was, as you’d imagine, not kind.
NFTs (and the blockchain itself) are an environmental disaster, a pump-and-dump scam, and a pointless assault on existing technologies and systems that don’t need fixing. So whichever approach you want to come at them from—or all three if you like, I’m not here to stop you—they suck.
I think fan reaction was best summed up by this top-voted comment on Reddit, which simply said:
They literally had to do nothing to keep me hyped for that game and still fucked it up.
You would think that a video game studio connected to the internet in any way in 2021 would have seen this coming, but then:
Anyway, 24 hours after making the announcement, and having taken flak for all of those 24 hours, the studio decided it was time to tweet out an “apology” letter. Of course it didn’t actually apologise for anything, aside from a perceived “miscommunication”:
WE WANT TO GIVE A DETAILED COMMENT ON YESTERDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF NFT-BONUSES FOR S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.
GSC GAME WORLD IS AN INDEPENDENT GAME DEVELOPMENT STUDIO. WE HAVE NO PUBLISHER, BUT WE DO HAVE WONDERFUL PARTNERS, AN INCREDIBLE TEAM, AND A DREAM OF A GAME THAT YOU WILL SINCERELY LOVE. JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHER DEVS, WE NEED TWO MAIN RESOURCES: TIME AND MONEY.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: HEART OF CHERNOBYL IS TRULY THE BIGGEST AND THE MOST COMPLEX GAME WE HAVE EVER CREATED. ALL THE FUNDS THAT WE EARN DURING THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS (INCLUDING THE POTENTIAL INCOME FROM NFT) WILL BE SPENT ON IMPROVING THE LONG-AWAITED GAME TO MAKE IT EVEN BETTER.
WHY DID WE CHOOSE NFT? IT’S A NEW TECHNOLOGY, AND WE ARE EAGER TO «DO NFT RIGHT»: GIVE CERTAIN FANS AN OPPORTUNITY «TO GET INTO» THE GAME WITHOUT INTERFERING WITH OTHER PLAYERS’ EXPERIENCE. THAT’S WHY THE TOKENS ARE ENTIRELY OPTIONAL AND HAVE NO IMPACT ON GAMEPLAY OR STORY (NO WEAPONS, QUESTS, LOCATIONS, ETC.) AND CAN BE ACTIVATED ONLY BEFORE THE GAME RELEASE.
YESTERDAY WE ANNOUNCED THE FIRST TOKENS — THE FACES OF SEVERAL NPCS. THEY AREN’T EVEN INVOLVED IN THE STORY. BUT SOME OF YOU THOUGHT WE WOULD GO A BIT TOO FAR FROM HERE. THAT’S WHY WE WANT TO TRANSPARENTLY DISCLOSE OUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE NFTS. WE ARE GOING TO IMPLEMENT (NICKNAMES OF THE OWNERS ON SOME IN-GAME DESKS/WALLS/ETC (PLEASE REMEMBER IT’S A LARGE OPEN WORLD WE’RE TALKING ABOUT), GLOVES/TATTOOS, SKINS/BADGES FOR THE MULTIPLAYER MODE (RELEASING AS A FREE UPDATE AFTER THE STORY CAMPAIGN) AND COLLECTIBLE CARDS (DMARKET PLATFORM ONLY, NO INTEGRATION IN S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2).
DMARKET WAS CHOSEN AS A PARTNER AS A VIDEOGAME-ONLY BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORM. THEY LOVE GAMES, AND THEY WERE EAGER TO WORK WITH US ON THIS KIND OF SOFT NET REALIZATION. DMARKET WORKS ON A PRIVATE BLOCKCHAIN SYSTEM WITH BRIDGES INTO OTHER NETWORKS (SUCH AS POLYGON AND SOLANA WITH PRIORITY TO PROVIDE LOW ENERGY CONSUMPTION AND MINIMIZE CO2-EMISSIONS AND OTHER NEGATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS.
IN THIS STATEMENT, WE ARE AS HONEST WITH YOU AS WE CAN. WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR SUPPORT, BUT AT LEAST WE HOPE YOU CAN HEAR US AND UNDERSTAND OUR REASONS.
THE TEXT TURNED OUT TO BE VERY BIG: THANK YOU FOR READING IT TILL THE END. PLEASE ACCEPT OUR APOLOGIES FOR YESTERDAY’S MISCOMMUNICATION AND ALL THE FEELINGS IT CAUSED. WE KNOW THAT YOU WISH ONLY THE BEST FOR OUR GAME, AND WE APPRECIATE IT.
GSC GAME WORLD TEAM.
Even this “apology”—and really, it’s just a list of explanations for things they’re going to do with or without your “support”—was a fuck-up. Not long after publishing the tweet (and being called out all over again) GSC went and deleted it.
An hour later they instead, announced the decision to “cancel anything NFT-related in STALKER 2,” with an incredible statement. After outlining in their earlier tweet how NFTs were going to help fund development, this time they essentially blame fans for depriving GSC Game World of a scammy source of revenue:
Life, and game updates, come at you fast.