In a seed-funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, blockchain gaming startup Azra Games has raised $15 million to develop its flagship play-and-earn RPG title, “Project Arcanas.”
NFX, Coinbase Ventures, Play Ventures, and Franklin Templeton also participated in the round.
“Project Arcanas” will be an RPG with plenty of NFTs, which are unique blockchain tokens that signify ownership. In the case of Arcanas, its NFTs will serve as deeds of ownership to specific characters or in-game items.
Arcanas’ Genesis Collection will be the game’s first NFTs. These will be characters that can be staked—or locked up for a period of time to earn interest—and will play important parts in the game’s lore. Azra calls these non-fungible tokens "PFPs" (short for "Play Forever Passes").
Making major moves. @AzraGames has secure funding from some of the TOP VCs out there. Congrats to both @markotero & @SonnyMayugba. This is just the start though. I am personally excited to watch them build out the game & can’t wait for the Genesis NFT collection to drop! https://t.co/lQT7jsROaN
— S◎L Big Brain (33.3%) (@SOLBigBrain) May 19, 2022
NFTs have been controversial in the gaming space—with a few NFT gaming projects being canceled due to backlash from gamers, who cite environmental concerns and a general resentment toward anything crypto-related. But studios like Ubisoft and Square Enix are still pushing forward with NFT-based games, with the belief that NFTs will allow gamers to be able to truly own and trade their in-game assets.
While Azra’s team appears ready to take on the blockchain gaming world, there’s just one catch—the company still doesn’t know which chain it will be working on.
We have not settled on a blockchain yet, we understand that it is an important decision so we are making sure we are not rushing in picking the right one for our game! ⚡️⚡️⚡️
— Azra Games ⚡️ (@AzraGames) May 19, 2022
“We have not settled on a blockchain yet,” the company wrote on social media today following news of the funding announcement, explaining that it did not want to rush into making the decision.
Although it’s unclear which blockchain “Project Arcanas” will land on, an Azra Games job posting provides a few possible hints. The company says it’s looking for a Web3 engineer with experience using Solidity (Ethereum’s programming language), Rust (Solana’s programming language), “or another modern smart contract framework.”
While the Azra team might be new to Web3, it's full of video game industry veterans and Electronic Arts alumni. Its CEO Mark Otero comes from the powerhouse gaming company, where he was the general manager of EA subsidiary Capital Games. Otero oversaw more than half a dozen different mobile and free-to-play titles such as “Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes,” which, according to Azra’s website, made EA over $1 billion in revenue.
Azra's game director, Michael Noriega, also comes from EA, where he spent nearly a decade as a software developer and technical artist. That's not all—senior 3D artist Hoover Abejero worked there as a senior character artist on a “Mass Effect” mobile game, while creative writer Cathleen Rootsaert previously worked on EA’s “Battlefield 2042” as its supervising writer.
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