Collider Craftworks Takes Aim at Creating a True Intersection of Gaming and NFTs with Cypherby@zaeemshoaib
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Collider Craftworks Takes Aim at Creating a True Intersection of Gaming and NFTs with Cypher

by Zaeem ShoaibApril 12th, 2022
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Collider Craftworks is a studio based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with 5 years of experience developing characters for iconic games like Mortal Kombat X/11, Assassin's Creed and Injustice II. Studio Director Daniel Gómez Cortés talks about the history of the studio, the Cypher NFT collection, the tools and games they are developing, and what the studio is doing to usher in a new era in the NFT space in terms of quality and usability. The company's first NFT game, called Cypher, is scheduled to drop in 2022.

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Collider Craftworks is a studio with a professional team of artists and creators based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with 5 years of experience developing characters for iconic games like Mortal Kombat X/11 and Assassin's Creed, and Injustice II.

They now seek to put their tools, experience, and expertise together into the “metaverse," with their first NFT collection, called Cypher, which is scheduled to drop in 2022.

Cypher stands out among the sea of gaming-related NFT projects because of Collider Craftworks’ actual experience in developing characters for AAA games and game studios and they are putting that talent behind the project as well as working on creating a game, called the Moshpit, where you can import their NFTs into the game to play.

Aside from this, they are creating a “visual wallet,” where they aim to make the NFTs viewable in full 3D and have them be fully customizable with different gear and accessories. This combination of AAA game industry experience and the features to be released along with this NFT make the whole project unique and somewhat of a rarity in the NFT industry.

HackerNoon talked with Studio Director Daniel Gómez Cortés about the history of the studio, the Cypher NFT, the tools and games they are developing, why they decided to jump into the NFT space, and what the studio is doing to usher in a new era in the NFT space in terms of quality and usability.

How did Collider Craftworks start its journey?

Please tell us briefly about your background.

What does your team look like?

So we basically started off as a very small team with the objective of being one of the best teams that could build characters for AAA titles.

We were four people plus myself, so we were five in total, and basically, we set out to really build a strong team that could be one of the best in the world when it came to building characters for AAA titles.

From then on, we just went to work on some games like Injustice. We've actually done a variety of projects, but some of the bigger and more noticeable ones were Injustice as a team altogether.

On Injustice, we did thousands of pieces of gears, and I think we got close to like about a hundred characters with skins, and we really learned a lot about complex customization systems.

Then from there worked during all of Mortal Kombat 11 as being probably one of the main teams working on characters on that project.

That's kind of our origin story, you know, as a team working on these big AAA titles with a lot of content, just tons of content and really high-quality demands.

The majority of our team, or more like 80% of our team, is still working on other projects that are going to be coming out over the next couple of years for AAA titles, and we have around 20% or so of our team working on Collider Craftworks and basically this, this drop that's going to be coming up.

What made you decide to take the plunge into the world of NFTs?

It's basically that we went from making a B2B product and then focusing it more on the consumer and creating a product that was more B2C and really building our own community and building our own fan base, and instead of going directly to businesses, we wanted to go directly to consumers.

Coming from a world of traditional game design and development, what is different about game development in the blockchain and NFT space?

It's completely different. Because on the one hand, you're building your own product, so you have a lot more freedom, and then that also comes with a lot more responsibility on how you build out the product, and you're also shorter on time. So yeah, there's a lot more pressure, definitely. When you're working on your own product and then on the community side, it's also a full-time job.

Plus, when you have a company that wasn't built to be a community management company, it was built to be more of a consumer service or customer service company that is really built to be an art company, you basically have to transform a big part of your team and hire in new people and onboard new processes. So there's a lot that changes.

How Does the Cypher NFT Work? and what can you tell us about the collection size and launch targets you have in mind?

So Cypher is going to be a collection. We're going to have several collections. As the years go by, we're going to be releasing more collections. Each one of these collections is going to have some sort of strong pop culture theme.

So there's going to be a lot of really cool things that I think are gonna speak to different kinds of users and different kinds of fans. And we're going to be releasing these collections as the years go by.

The current collection is Cypher, and it's based on a cyberpunk theme. We felt it was very appropriate because of the history of cryptocurrencies and the history of NFTs and, you know, the original crypto punks that actually made, made all of this happen. So we thought it was appropriate for our first collection to have this kind of theme.

This collection is going to be broken up into two drops. So we're going to have our first drop and then our second drop split into two.

The reason we're doing that is just to basically get the part of our content to the consumers as soon as possible and get the reaction, and see if there's any need to course-correct, which is the way we like to work.

We really like to work in an iterative process, so we don't spend like five years building something and then put it out into the world and find out everyone hates it.

So if there are any things that we can course-correct, anything to do with improving the process for implementing, to revealing, to just anything in the process, tweaking and improving it.

We're a company that plans to be around for a long time. So it's not like a circus where you do the drop, and then the server's dead. We want to build a long-lasting community of people who really love what we're doing.

How is the Visual Wallet different from other NFT and Blockchain wallets?

We thought big game developers were gonna need some sort of a tool that will allow them to make characters very quickly, because basically, we saw a lot of industries coming into real-time, like Nike or a lot of companies that were going to have to need like some sort of real-time experiences for their users.

And then, it was already hard for game developers to find good gaming studios. So that's what we did. We started working on a tool two years ago to basically like, imagine you go, okay, let's populate GTA in just a couple of months with a small team; how would you do that?

So that's the kind of that tool we set out to build. So it's basically building a lot of photo-real content and then building a tool that can combine all of this, and it will allow you to create characters very quickly.

The visual wall is basically a launchpad for games or experiences, and it's also going to be a marketplace. So it's a place where you're going to be able to visualize your avatar.

And it's also going to be a place where you can interchange assets like helmets and gears and weapons. And then it also serves as a launchpad into our games, but not only our game.

Since it's being built on the Unreal Engine, the idea is to build this visual wallet as a launchpad for other experiences.

So let's say somebody wants to make a virtual concert or wants to make a music video or wants to make some sort of a game, some sort of experience, we'll be able to make it and plug it into the visual wallet.

And then that will allow users to jump in. And then you can do all sorts of super fun things.

Let's say somebody makes a horror game, and you go, oh, you can only jump into these horror games if you're a holder of the horror collection. So there could be a lot of fun things which will also give the assets a lot of utilities. So there's going to be a lot of, a lot of cool opportunities.

Check out a detailed video on the visual wallet here.

You can also head here for more details on the Visual Wallet.

Can we get an idea about any release targets? Can we get a sneak peek at the game?

We're going to be announcing the supply. We're going to be announcing the mint date and the mint price once the project is complete. So we're going to have like, progress bars for each one of these things. So like modeling the material and texturing integration and metadata, like all the big chunks of production so you can actually see how far along we are in each one of these.

As soon as you see everything complete, then that's when we’re gonna announce the date. And the reason we're doing this is that we want to actually really see the whole collection before announcing how large it's going to be, which we think is the responsible way of doing it.

The important thing is not the supply, the importance is on the quality of the collection, and that's going to be our main focus.

Head here for the gameplay demo.

There has been a lot of bad press regarding NFTs in the gaming space and a lot of backlash from gamers. What is your perspective on that, and how is Collider Craftworks aiming to endear itself to a primarily gaming audience?

I think they're completely different kinds of value propositions. On the one hand, you have a AAA title that will cost you, you know, $60 or $70.

On the other hand, you have an NFT that will cost you 0.2 ETH or 0.5 ETH or whatever it is, or if you're going to buy it off of the floor, maybe 3-5 ETH. They're just completely different kinds of mechanisms and appreciation of value.

I think that's going to be really interesting for gamers to get their head around, especially because a lot of developers have really abused these relationships that they have with their games with loot boxes and the like, and I think gamers are just really concerned about NFTs to really just turn into more abuse from the developer side.

There are companies that have a damaged reputation, so, you know, it's not surprising that gamers would distrust them.

I also think another aspect is that once games introduce NFTs, it's not going to be a real NFT. It's going to be something that's going to still live inside the server of the developer.

Like, I have a hard time believing developers are going to give you access to your character or your guns, or your weapons outside of their interface, and you can’t just do whatever you want with them. Some might, I think, a lot won't, so what you're gonna end up happening is you're gonna end up having like this fake NFT.

And I think that's what gamers are really concerned about. So that's a problem for the big established developers who have abused their relationship with users. And that's their problem.

I think on our side, what we need to do is really focus on what we do best, which is create amazing characters, make sure they live outside of our ecosystem so you can grab them, pull them from the server and just put them into a game that’s connected to your wallet, and you can do whatever you want with it.

So if we're blown off the face of the earth, you'll be able to use your character regardless. You could use it for whatever you want, and you can make games with it. I think that the first step is already going to be great.

And then as we build out experiences and as we actually create a really immersive and exciting and rich ecosystem, I think it's going to be attractive for gamers to know that they can go play games, collect content, even if it's more expensive than what they're used to, but it's actually theirs, and they own it.

So I would rather pay more, but it's mine. It doesn't just live on a server. And then, all of a sudden, the developer, for whatever reason, confiscates it. I think that the balance needs to be well done, and we need to build our community from the ground up.

And once gamers see that there's a community that trusts a brand and they have a rich and immersive ecosystem, I think that's going to be very attractive.

Check out this video on the drop structure.

What is your take on the metaverse as envisioned by Meta (formerly Facebook), The Sandbox, and Decentraland?

Yeah, it's interesting. I think I think companies like Meta have a very specific kind of view of the world, especially when observing it as one of the largest kinds of corporations in the world.

I think they have a very specific view on basically commercializing your data, and that's, I think, their view of the metaverse is just a better way to harvest and collect data.

I think game developers are also kind of leaning into that, unfortunately. So, for example, companies like Google, I think that was a big concern.

I think a lot of people had, as they were coming in, which is basically a data harvesting company, that they were just going to be able to use more data points from your gaming experiences just basically to sell you more stuff.

So I think these kinds of companies have a very specific worldview and they're gonna build content around that worldview.

I think game developers have a different kind of worldview in a lot of ways. And I think you're going to see consolidation from a lot of these big publishers, like Sony and Microsoft.

And they're just going to basically try to carve out for themselves the biggest piece of the market available, and then you'll have somewhat of a metaverse in their ecosystem.

I'm curious to see how they're going to allow that to integrate with other ecosystems. Like, I think it would be good for both of them to figure out a way for, you know Sony and Microsoft users to be able to jump back and forth.

I think that would be good for both companies, but I doubt they're going to do it. So I think you're going to have very robust and immersive experiences within those ecosystems.

I think companies like Epic have a really good chance of really building this metaverse. They're kind of one of, I think, the pioneers in this concept of the metaverse, and they've been working on it for a long, long time, really building a strong community of developers, engineers, and people from animation, tech, and film.

So I think if I had to look at the landscape, I think Epic really has a great shot at actually building what we believe a metaverse could possibly be or be an essential part of that world.

What does the future look like for your studio?

So as we see success in this space, we're going to go moving more of our company, progressively in this direction of creating our own content, our own products, and moving away from services.

But right now, we do have a majority of our team working on or for games.

Do you think there is a space for NFTs in the AAA gaming space, and do you see other large developers jumping on the bandwagon?

I have a hard time imagining a world where, you know, the Sonys and the Microsofts of the world will allow their developers to, to allow people like us to integrate our characters into their game. I think some might, but I'm not banking on it.

What I think is exciting is to think about the next generation of developers. So kids that are 15 years old right now, and they have access to AAA quality content, and they can build games with it, and they can be extremely successful and do very well for themselves and bring that next generation of games that are very successful and they're NFT native.

I think it's going to be hard for traditional games to incorporate NFTs. I think what we're probably most likely going to see is NFT native games become very successful, that are from people in this space who become developers, and the games would also be embraced by people from this space. I think if you try to cram NFTs down gamers’ throats, it's not going to be very successful.

Any final words for the Cypher community? What can we expect from you next? and where can your fans find you?

Right now, the big focus for us is this drop, making sure that it's delivered as soon as possible and basically to make it as successful as possible and also really build a strong community around what we're doing, which is not simple. Managing discord servers etc., there's a lot of, a lot that goes into building a really strong community where it's not just people that are just aping in and freaking out trying to get in grinding and trying to get whitelists.

If you look at Apes, that was a successful project, but for us, that kind of success wouldn't really be a success. A much more successful thing for us would be to have maybe less success on the drop but be much more successful in building a strong community where people really believe in the project.

That's what the big challenge we have is educating people about our project while we're still actually trying to develop it. So those are the big challenges we have and we're focusing our efforts on right now.

Once we have an established brand and established community, our next focus is to start reaching out to creators and IP holders people with recognizable brands, anywhere from musical artists, athletes, IPs in games and film and literature that want to come into web3 and don't really know how to do it; they have a great brand, they have a great product, but they don't know how to transition this into the digital world and we want to kind of be that gateway for them.

For creators, people who want to make content for kind of this, this web3 future, they can work directly with a trusted brand that has the tokenomics system figured out, has the technology, has the content, the distribution, and the community. So that's kind of the future we envision and where we're going to be focusing next year.

Check Out Collider’s Game Factory. They show you how to start building amazing stuff with Unreal Engine and their Crash Dummy: free for everyone to use and play with!! The tech behind the scenes, metahumans, utility, you name it.

Download the Crash Dummy here.

Currently, Collider Craftworks’ Discord server is closed. The only way to get into the community is via invite. So, head over to their Twitter for more opportunities to join.