Antler on building its AI-enhanced RPG Cloudborn

Announced at GDC 2024, Sweden-based web3 game studio Antler Interactive unveiled Cloudborn. An AI-powered PC-based fantasy RPG with a tactical element of turn-based combat, the title is the second game from Antler.

As well as rolling out its debut My Neighbor Alice‘s beta season 1, it’s been building and maintaining the games’ underlying Chromia infrastructure, so it’s a good opportunity to talk about lessons learnt from the making of Alice and her Lummelunda universe, the broader vision for Cloudborn, and the team’s outlook for the rest of 2024. Why is Antler focused on making blockchain games?

Since the studio’s inception, we´ve been on a mission to harness technology for the sake of the players. We see blockchain as well as AI and other technologies as key to enhance player experiences.

What lessons have you learned from My Neighbor Alice?

My Neighbor Alice was our leap into web3 game development. We had worked with NFTs and blockchain in games before, but MNA was our first fully decentralized game.

We learned to design for the blockchain, have the game logic on-chain, and make everything into NFTs.

Why have you decided to start working on another game?

We started on this game a bit over two years ago. For us as a studio it’s important to have games in different stages of development. Apart from Cloudborn we have many other game ideas and prototypes that may or may not be made into full games in the future.

What’s the vision for Cloudborn?

We have a strong vision that Cloudborn will over time build a strong community of gamers that discuss at length the ever-changing tactics of the unique turn-based combat that we are building. Such as what team setup is best for the challenges ahead and what optimizations can I do to my characters to increase my rewards.

One of Cloudborn’s game pillars is self expression. We want players to find depth in customizing their characters, their strategy and their progression. But also to express their skill in combat and the fortune of rewards they have acquired from their journey.

Do you think it will appeal to the My Neighbor Alice community?

It is hard to say. The games are very different and in different styles, so the target groups may be different. With that said, one aspect they do share is their focus on empowering players self expression. And Cloudborn is a great game, so we hope it is appealing to all, including the My Neighbor Alice community.

Can you tell us more about what players can expect from Cloudborn both in short and long-term?

As the game lends itself to strategy and theorycrafting, players can expect a game that is easy-to-learn but hard-to-master. An ever-evolving world opens up for endless possibilities, such as customization, character development, progression, team setup, an ever changing meta and much more.

How will the game be enhanced by blockchain?

The first and obvious answer is ownership, we are allowing gamers to own their assets and their experience completely, and share it with others. One other part we’d like to emphasize is how we utilize blockchain and AI to create impactful choices in the game. Impactful choices are key for autonomy which is one of the main motivational drivers for playing a game.

All playable characters in Cloudborn are NFTs and will be powered by AI to create deeper and more relationships with your characters. Now if those relationship statuses or metadata is stored in an immutable state on the chain, then it really matters what you do because it’s sort of irreparable, it can’t just be wiped away, which gives even more impact on your choices in the game.

What platforms and blockchain will the game be available on?

Cloudborn is a PC game and built on the Chromia blockchain. We´re still in development but we are in discussions with several platforms.

What was your biggest challenge as a team during 2023’s bear market?

We were focusing on building during the 2023´s bear market so it didn’t affect us that much as it might have affected new entrants to the market. Instead I believe that it gave us more focus on keeping building a great product.

With the current bull sentiment, what’s your broader outlook on web3 gaming for the rest of 2024?

We have a positive outlook on web3 gaming for the rest of 2024, not least because there will be a number of great web3 titles released this year that have a clear focus on quality gameplay which we believe will be positive for the market as a whole. With that being said, more bullish sentiment might also lead to more opportunism over focus on quality games and products.

Stay up-to-date via Cloudborn’s website.

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