Ethereum Mech Shooter 'MetalCore' Plans Open Beta, Token Launch in May

Studio369, the indie game developer behind Ethereum action game MetalCore, announced on Tuesday that it raised $5 million in new funding to launch the PC game on the Immutable zkEVM scaling network. And the team has big plans on the short-term horizon.

MetalCore is currently planned to launch in open beta in May, letting anyone hop in and play the combination of mech suit combat and boots-on-the-ground shooting action. And if the planned timing works out, the game will also launch its token around the same time.

Studio369 CEO Matt Candler and CTO Dan Nikolaides shared the plans in a recent interview with Decrypt’s GG ahead of the fundraise announcement. The $5 million funding round includes prominent participants such as Bitkraft Ventures, Delphi Digital, Sanctor Capital, Spartan Group, and many others.

Candler said that the fundraise—which follows the closure of a $15 million round in 2022—was designed to “secure our runway for the next 12 months” as the studio attempts to launch the game to the public and debut a token. And it comes after an unexpected shift in the timing of the rollout and the game itself.

MetalCore was originally planned to launch in late 2023, Candler explained, and would have been supported by an NFT sale. But the mainnet launch of Immutable zkEVM—Immutable’s next-generation Ethereum gaming network based on Polygon zkEVM tech—was delayed, he said, prompting Studio369 to temporarily scale down its team and rethink things.

That shift may have proven fortuitous.

In the current crypto gaming landscape, fungible tokens are buzzier than unique NFT assets thanks to airdrop hype, and there’s a lot more excitement around blockchain games right now than even a few months ago when the brutal bear market was finally winding down.

A screenshot from MetalCore on Immutable zkEVM. Image: Studio369

But the extra few months of development also paid dividends in the form of an AI-powered dynamic quest generator, nicknamed “D-Gen” by the team. What it does, Nikolaides said, is assemble unique missions for players so that there’s always something fresh to play—and the devs are continually expanding the scope of what’s possible with the AI tech.

“The door is open now for us to just implement endless content and give players endless variety for stuff to do in the game, which is super cool,” he said.

And don’t worry about MetalCore’s AI-powered tools generating any wild hallucinations. Ultimately, all of the pieces of missions have been created by humans; the tools just assemble the pieces in diverse and hopefully compelling ways to keep players engaged.

Closed beta players are already testing out the dynamically generated missions ahead of the upcoming open beta, they said, and are earning rewards as they play. Players will eventually be able to use the token to upgrade their factions and garages, and help their factions progress and earn more rewards in the process.

Decrypt’s GG last went hands-on with an early version of MetalCore last summer, and described the game as “Titanfall meets Destiny, with an NFT twist.” While there was still room for polish at the time, we praised the “incredible graphics” and impressive mech handling, and called it a game that “could help lead the charge for Web3 gaming.”

It sounds like we’ll all find out sooner than later whether the additional several months of development and polish led MetalCore to that hopeful aim. And Studio369 has ambitious plans around the game.

After the open beta launch, MetalCore plans to add a large-scale territory control metagame experience and deeply integrate crypto gaming guilds. The goal with both is—alongside player-owned NFT items and tokenized rewards—to help build a deep connection between players and the game’s intense open-world action. It’s a crypto game, but the devs stressed that it’s ultimately built as a game above all.

“We want people to know that we’re making a really great, big, fun game,” Candler said, “that is going to be something that people would want to play if they got it from Steam or Epic Games or on PlayStation 5.”

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