How Space Nation is building a long-lasting web3 MMORPG using linear media

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One of the intriguing web3 projects to emerge in the space genre in 2023 is Space Nation. More than just its MMORPG Space Nation Online, the developer is looking to build a long-lasting deep sci-fi lore and IP through linear media.

Following a series of recent alpha tests, we got in touch with Space Nation chief marketing officer Barry Hoffman to find out what sets this ambitious sci-fi experience apart, how blockchain will enhance Space Nation Online, and what to expect from its upcoming playtests. Can you give us some background on the team behind Space Nation Online and how the project started?

Barry Hoffman: Certainly, Space Nation is the result of a visionary team that brings together diverse talents and decades of experience in the entertainment and gaming industries to shape a next-generation transmedia franchise. 

At the heart of the vision is Space Nation Online, a space opera web3 MMORPG. Our vision arose from a fundamental need for a stable, long-lasting web3 MMORPG. Unlike many P2E games in the web3 scene, our goal is to create a game that thrives regardless of market conditions for example and goes also on linear media. We prioritize enjoyable gameplay, where earning is a valuable addition, rather than relying on token bundling for short-term gains. 

The founding team comprises:

  • Jerome Wu, our CEO, has a remarkable 20-year career that includes serving as the very first Product Manager of World of Warcraft in China. His experience in launching and managing the game for over 100 million users in China fueled his passion for creating an MMORPG that incorporated innovative changes and features. 
  • Tony Tang, the game director, and co-creator of Space Nation, boasts 16 years of experience and has been a devoted sci-fi enthusiast for more than three decades. He has worked on various projects, including Warframe, Transformer MMO, Battleship Empire, and many others. His creative vision and expertise contribute significantly to the project.
  • Roland Emmerich, a veteran with a 42-year professional career, renowned for directing iconic films such as Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012. His extensive experience in the entertainment industry shapes the creative vision of Space Nation.
  • Marco Weber, a serial media entrepreneur, carries with him a legacy of success in the industry. He has contributed to the production of numerous internationally recognized films, such as Brooklyn’s Finest, The Thirteenth Floor, Unthinkable, and Igby Goes Down, among others.

Why is it important for the project to be more than a game and include linear media?

Space Nation introduces a space opera MMORPG at its core, accompanied by a collection of media including spin off games, animated shorts, and a TV series, all working in tandem to expand the vibrant universe and IP of Space Nation.

The integration of linear media into Space Nation is not just important; it’s vital for a groundbreaking project like ours. This integration holds tremendous significance for several key reasons:

  • Enriching the narrative: By expanding into linear media like TV shows, the project can delve deeper into this narrative, offering fans a more immersive experience. 
  • Broader audience reach: Linear media has the potential to reach a broader audience beyond traditional gamers. It can draw in viewers who may not have engaged with the game but are captivated by the story and characters presented in a show.
  • Long-term engagement: By continuously evolving the universe through different media forms, Space Nation can keep its audience engaged over the long term. The addition of new content and storylines maintains excitement and ensures that the project remains relevant and vibrant for years to come.
  • Building a transmedia universe: This approach aims to create a dynamic and living universe where fans can immerse themselves in various forms of media, making it a truly unique and evolving experience.

Can you tell us more about the game and in what ways the game experience will be enhanced by blockchain integration?

Unlike open-world games where players can do whatever they want, Space Nation Online offers a captivating space opera narrative that guides your journey. The game revolves around a compelling story that not only immerses you in its rich lore but also shapes the universe you explore.

At its core, Space Nation Online provides a storyline that propels your adventure forward, giving purpose to your actions. However, what sets it apart is the seamless transition between the main narrative and an expansive open world.

Once you venture beyond the main story, a universe of opportunities awaits. Side missions, activities, and intriguing challenges are scattered throughout the cosmos. 

What sets Space Nation Online apart is its integration of play-for-fun and play-to-earn mechanics. By leveraging web3 technologies and tools, the game empowers players to forge stronger economic and social relationships. 

Web3 should be an enabler, not a distraction.

Catering to both traditional web2 gamers and web3 enthusiasts, Space Nation Online ensures that all players can pursue their unique goals and aspirations within the game. Traditional gamers can immerse themselves in captivating gameplay and enjoy high-quality content, while P2E users have the exciting opportunity to earn real value through in-game activities. 

The symbiotic relationship between these two groups becomes a driving force behind the development of the virtual world, supporting the game team in building a complex, in-depth, and sustainable game ecosystem that can endure for decades.

In addition, the game aims to incorporate blockchain technology in several key ways, including asset ownership, economic stability, interoperable ecosystem, social interaction and governance.

Do you feel like you’re competing with other games such as EVE and Star Atlas?

While Space Nation Online has elements of exploration and interstellar adventure, we’re more focused on the combination of both storytelling and open-world gameplay. Our emphasis on driving player engagement through a rich narrative that extends seamlessly into a vast, open universe filled with opportunities sets us apart.

Each game has its own distinctive features and appeal. By offering a dynamic blend of storytelling and gameplay, Space Nation Online provides a distinctive experience that complements the broader gaming ecosystem.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?

One of the first challenges was assembling a cohesive team that could effectively bridge the worlds of web2 and web3. This was a pivotal step in our project’s development.

Another challenge we faced was during our first alpha test, which was exclusively for our Alpha Gate NFT. Our community of players played a crucial role in helping us identify and address any challenge. Their feedback allowed us to overcome these hurdles and improve the overall experience.

You recently completed your first alpha playtest, how has the game been received so far?

In this round of alpha testing, we had the privilege of welcoming 380 dedicated players into our world. Together, they defeated over 10,000 pirates, collected more than 3,000 items, and collectively journeyed a staggering 6.5 million kilometers within the vast expanse of Oikos. In total, our players contributed an impressive 780 hours of playtime. This level of engagement speaks volumes about the enthusiasm and commitment of our player base, and we are immensely grateful for their participation in shaping the future of our game.

Throughout this testing phase, we encountered unexpected bugs that required immediate attention. Yet, it is often said that “in adversity, true strength is revealed,” and this sentiment rings especially true for us. 

The incredible welcoming and helpful atmosphere during the testing made us decide to have more tests going forward with expecting the next test mid-October. 

Going forward, what is expected to change from this alpha version and the full game launch?

We have internally agreed on a series of tests between the alpha and the closed beta, designed to actively engage with our community and gather their feedback. 

As we move towards the full game launch, you can expect a series of exciting developments and optimizations based on the feedback we receive. We’re committed to refining and enhancing every aspect of the game. 

How did you choose on which blockchain to deploy Space Nation Online?

We are collaborating with Immutable and Polygon to launch Space Nation Online on the zkEVM chain, a next-gen Ethereum Layer-2 scaling solution based on zero-knowledge (ZK) cryptography. Immutable zkEVM combines Ethereum security with EVM compatibility, scalability and cost-efficiency while also prioritizing ease of use for players who wish to fully embrace the in-game economy. 

Our vision for Space Nation Online is to achieve significant scale and high liquidity in the long run, which necessitates a stable and secure solution to empower in-game prosperity for our players. By leveraging Immutable zkEVM, we can seamlessly integrate the play-for-fun and play-to-earn experiences.

How do you view the division between web2 and web3 gamers, who’s your target audience, and how do you plan to onboard them?

Our target audience encompasses both web2 and web3 gamers. Our approach to onboarding these gamers is rooted in our commitment to building a robust foundation for web3 gaming. This foundation includes a strong IP, actively engaged communities, and grassroots marketing efforts. Rather than relying solely on traditional marketing methods, we prioritize fostering a groundswell of support within our community.

A key facet of our strategy is improving the user experience to make the transition from web2 to web3 as seamless as possible. Strategic partnerships with industry leaders like Immutable X and Magic Eden are instrumental in enhancing this experience. 

While Web3 tools can enhance the gaming experience, they should never overshadow the core goal of any game – to be enjoyable and sustainable. Web3 should be an enabler, not a distraction. 

Our primary aim is to provide a secure and scalable platform where gamers can earn rewards within a stable and consistent environment. User choice should not be about web2 or web3; it should revolve around fulfilling gamer demands, be it for satisfaction or earnings.

Finally, what can we expect from Space Nation in the long term?

Space Nation transcends the boundaries of a traditional game; it is a visionary transmedia franchise, a universe we are dedicated to crafting. Combining the best of what gaming and linear media has to offer alongside other media is the real opportunity which we believe will make Space Nation work as a whole.

When it comes to Space Nation Online, our vision is to create a pioneering Web3 Space Opera MMORPG, which caters not only to Web2 gamers but also to the diverse spectrum of Web3 users.

In the long term, you can expect Space Nation to evolve into a dynamic and ever-expanding universe where players from both Web2 and Web3 backgrounds come together to explore, engage, and thrive. 

Find out more about Space Nation Online via its website.

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