Fueled by the success of Axie Infinity, NFT gaming is experiencing explosive growth. More releases and, above all, exponential growth in the number of players. And the whole space isn't sitting still. The new generation of games is moving away from collectibles; edging closer to traditional games in both visuals and gameplay.
Let’s take a look into the future. Here are 10 upcoming NFT games to watch out for, arranged in no specific order.
1. Ember Sword
Ethereum • MMORPG • 2022 (Alpha)
Our list opens with this free-to-play MMORPG. Ember Sword has been on our radar since its announcement two years ago. It’s built on the promise of steering clear of “pay-to-win” mechanics that plague both MMOs and blockchain games. It starts like any MMORPG. You create a character and start exploring the world. Raid dungeons, kill monsters and bosses, gather loots, and more. Blockchain integration comes in various forms. You can own a piece of land that you’re free to develop, build, and earn from. Then there are NFT collectibles such as avatars, skins, and other cosmetic items. Ember Sword will be playable on a browser or as a stand-alone client, with plans for mobile support. Testing of the game's tech is scheduled for later this year. Alpha version will be available in early 2022.
2. The Sandbox
Ethereum • Open World • 2021
We can consider this the sequel to two popular mobile games - The Sandbox, released in 2011, and The Sandbox Evolution, released in 2016. This is a whole new gaming ecosystem built on the Ethereum. The goal? “To disrupt game makers like Minecraft and Roblox by providing creators true ownership of their creations as non-fungible tokens….” Most of the assets on the Sandbox metaverse will be NFTs that can be sold, traded, or rented out. The lands, avatars, monsters, weapons, and even the mini-games in it. Everyone can build and mint them into the game. If you’re interested, two free tools are now available.
- First is VoxEdit, a 3D voxel editor for creating in-game assets.
- Second is Game Maker, a visual scripting tool that simplifies the development of 3D games.
We don’t know the exact date the game will launch. But looking at its roadmap, The Sandbox should be available before the year ends.
3. Big Time
Ethereum (Off-chain scaling) • ARPG • TBA
This is, currently, one of the most hyped games in the space. It’s an online co-op Action-RPG being developed by industry veterans who worked on triple-A games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Fortnite. Big Time is an adventure across history. Your mission is to uncover the menace that’s ripping time apart. Three playable classes have been revealed: The Shadowblade, “part ninja, part hacker”; The Chronomancer, a spellcaster; and the Time Warrior, the melee hero. Details are sparse. What we know is that dungeons will be procedurally generated; some loot will be non-fungible tokens. Players will also own their own space called “Time Machine”. It will serve as a personal hub to showcase your NFTs and hang out with friends. Collectible cards and VIP passes were sold to the community a few weeks ago. The passes grant owners early access to the game. It’s sold out but you can buy them on the secondary market… if you’re willing to pay the markup. No release date has been announced yet.
4. Age of Rust
Ethereum (Enjin) • Action, Adventure • 2021
You wake up centuries into a future where the AI that you helped design has gone rogue. This is a story-driven, puzzle-adventure where mechs wage war against humanity. And your mission is to uncover the reason behind this AI uprising. It stands out from the other titles in this list because it promises a rich story on top of the engaging puzzles and worthwhile combat. It’s a traditional game with sprinkles of blockchain here and there. Yes, NFTs still play a role in it. Some in-game drops are stored on the Enjin. You can trade them for other items that you need… Or melt them to gain Enjin tokens. Age of Rust is set to release on Steam sometime this year.
5. Star Atlas
Solana • 4X Strategy • TBA
This is a grand strategy game to challenge EVE Online. Set 600 years into the future, three galactic factions compete for influence, territories, and resources. Players take part in this war for power. But it’s not all conflict. Space exploration will sit at the core of Star Atlas. Pilot ships into unknown sectors to discover assets that can be mined, refined, and traded. They can also take the role of the many professions the game offers…from bounty hunter to CEO. It will be a whole new metaverse complete with its own economics, politics, and, of course, wars. All these are built using Unreal Engine 5. And it will run on top of Solana, a blockchain protocol capable of 50,000 transactions per second. It’s an ambitious project, for sure, and it will take some time before we get to play it. To the impatient, the team will release a browser-based mini-game in the coming months. Stay tuned.
Ethereum (Polygon) • TCG • TBA (Private)
This is a free-to-play trading-card game designed for PvP battles. It follows the formula of similar TCGs. You control a hero, summon cards into the playing field to fight other players. The first one to drain the opponent’s life wins! Where does blockchain play a role? Well, the game has three types of cards.
- First, the base cards are not NFTs. They’re tied to your account, not tradable, and you earn them by leveling.
- Second, the Silver cards. These are NFTs stored on the blockchain. You can win them in Ranked matches… and in a death-match tournament called Conquest.
- Finally, the Gold cards. These are also NFTs and can only be won in Conquest.
The team behind Skyweaver aims to develop and foster a player-owned economy… where players decide the value of the cards. There are no booster packs for sale. Skyweaver will be playable on PC, mobile, and most modern web browsers. It has been in private beta testing for a while now but no release date has been announced yet.
7. Guild of Guardians
Ethereum • ARPG • Free • 2022
A free-to-play mobile RPG set in a world inspired by Diablo and DnD. Players build a team of heroes to raid dungeons, kill monsters, and gather loot. Information on deeper gameplay mechanics is limited. What we do know is that heroes will be in familiar classes: warrior, ranger, and mage. And playing solo might not be the best strategy. Dungeons that offer the most rewards are also the hardest. The best way to clear them is to team up with other players. Guild of Guardians is being developed with play-to-earn in mind. By playing, you earn non-tradable Common Heroes. You can then merge these common heroes into a rare one that is stored on the blockchain. Thus freely tradable. You can also craft tradable blockchain items from loots. A soft launch is scheduled in early 2022, followed by beta later that same year. Full release of Guild of Guardians is slated for 2023.
8. Infinite Fleet
Liquid Network (BTC) • MMO • TBA
This is an epic sci-fi MMO strategy game. Fight under the banner of the United Sol Federation to defend humanity against alien invaders. You take the role of a fleet commander in control of large spaceships, reinforced by smaller AI-controlled fighters. Fleet customization will play a big role in the game; changing ships and load-outs to fit your play style. On the strategic side, the game is set in a procedurally-generated galaxy. This means exploration, expansion, and battles for control of star systems. What’s unique about Infinite Fleet is that it will use Bitcoin, particularly the Liquid Network sidechain. Its native token, the INF, will act as the in-game currency for buying virtual items. Infinite Fleet will be released on the PC, with plans for cross-platform play. It is still in the development stage and has no fixed release date yet.
BSC • ARPG, Open World • 2022
Here’s an open-world, action-RPG that embraces blockchain. Yes, you still get the MMO and RPG staples. Different character classes, quests, dungeon raids, pets, crafting, and PvP battles. The game uses the MIST token as its in-game currency. How this token is used sets it apart from most items on this list. Players earn MIST rewards by killing monsters, completing quests, selling NFT drops, and more. As you'd expect. Then there’s the decentralized finance or DeFi way. You can earn MIST tokens by buying and farming on lands in the game. Or, buying actual in-game businesses. These open alternative ways to play the game, that of a farmer or a businessman. Instead of just rampaging like any RPG hero. Mist is expected to launch on Steam sometime in 2022.
Ethereum (Immutable X) • RPG • Q3/Q4 2021
An auto-battler and RPG rolled into one. Illuvium is set on a planet ravaged by radiation that mutated its inhabitants into powerful creatures known as Illuvial. You play as a Hunter and your mission is to uncover the mysteries of this planet. Explore, mine, harvest, fight, and capture Illuvial. This is a freemium game. The free-to-play sections introduce you to the basics. To collect NFTs and access the game in all its promised glory, you need to pay. How much it will cost you, we don’t know. As for play-to-earn, rewards are given to players to compete (and win) in tournaments or PvE quests. There might be more ways to earn like mining, crafting, or selling Illuvials. We’ll have to wait for the official announcements. Illuvium is set to release on PC later this year, with a mobile release sometime in 2023.
The list doesn’t end here. Let’s take a quick look at other games worth looking forward to.
Gala • RPG • TBA
Ethereum • Arcade, Racing • TBA (Early access)
Customize your own race car; equip it with weapons and beat other players on the race track. It’s currently on early access.
Ethereum • RTS • TBA
Build, fight, and trade your way to victory. There’s no release date but it’s currently in private play test and will be available on PC, Linux, and Mac.
Polygon • PvP • TBA
This is the first of many games that will use the NFTs Polychain Monsters. You will earn rewards by working the land and winning battles.