Legendary game designer Will Wright, who led development on not just SimCity but the original Sims as well, hasn’t really made a big video game since 2008's Spore. He’s back in 2022, though, working on something called VOXVerse.
It’s a social game where you mine stuff, build stuff, and talk to people. And everyone is a squat little voxel-based character. There’ll also be real estate that you buy and own, and I think you can see where this is going.
The project ticks every box for something that should have been announced in May 2021 then quietly shelved 12 months later when the ass fell out of the market. It’s on the blockchain, it’s throwing licenses at it, it’s using the word “metaverse,” and its overall design sounds like something pitched solely to impress the kind of dudes sitting at a Web3 startup’s boardroom table.
Oh, and it’s also helping to sell NFTs. The game has been designed at Gallium Games, a studio focused on blockchain gaming (founded by both Wright and Carmen Sandiego co-creator Lauren Elliott), but the “Vox” characters at the heart of the project aren’t new characters, they’re an existing line of NFTs, which include licensed tie-ins from stuff like Trolls and The Walking Dead. The Vox characters are sold by crypto firm Gala Games, who have spent $25 million funding VOXVerse.
In an interview with Axios, Wright slightly distances himself from the NFT side of things, saying, “I don’t really want to be in the business of selling NFTs,” and that his main interest in the blockchain is because “I want to have secure transactions for content creators.” Axios’ Stephen Totilo adds though that during this portion of the interview, co-founder “Elliot amiably interjected that some aspects of the VoxVerse project technically are NFTs.”
You can see the game in action, and hear Wright talk about how it all works, below.
Look, maybe Wright can lend some of his magic to the project and some playable parts—like the relationship system—will be interesting. But I dunno, man, hearing him repeat all these hollow blockchain gaming bullet points, and looking at the game in action, the entire thing just really bums me out.