The co-founders of Yuga Labs and its flagship NFT project Bored Ape Yacht Club, Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano, shared their vision for the Otherside Metaverse game.
The co-founders of Yuga Labs, who also happen to be the brains behind the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection, recently shared their vision for Yuga’s Otherside Metaverse. Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano want the Otherside to be different from other Metaverses that have fallen into the “walled garden” category.
Aronow and Solano, widely known by their Internet aliases Gordon Goner and Garga, understand and acknowledge that the future of NFTs is in gaming. They are putting their money into video games with NFT assets, like the Otherside, but they are hard at work building its development team to make it more than just a Metaverse and MMORPG.
Doing Things Different with Otherside
The Otherside Metaverse game has a broad storyline, an 11-part storyline, to be exact. When the game’s “first trip” was launched in July, a litepaper was released explaining that the maiden trip was only a “taste” of what’s in store for players of the game.
Everyone who experienced the first trip agrees that early access footage of the Otherside is reminiscent of “World of Warcraft.” Still, with Yuga Labs’ acquisition of a $450 million first funding round, which brought the company’s valuation to a massive $4 billion, things can only get much better for the Web3-centric Metaverse game.
“We’re building a team of creative technologists,” Aronow said. “I’ve been calling them the Yuganeers, but they’re like the Imagineers—they’re our creative ninjas.”
Aronow admits to being extremely busy with Otherside’s development, so much so that it’s difficult for him to focus on any one thing.
“I don’t prioritize. We do everything all the time,” said Aronow.
Solano says their priority is maintaining BAYC’s original spirit, but with a $4 billion cache, they want to show the world what they can do with the war chest they have at their disposal.
“I want to impress and show off technical prowess that we can do now with a bigger team, but also just remind people, ‘Hey, this is a pretty ridiculous club here.’ And we’re just here to have fun,” Solano said.
They want to be different from traditional game publishers because they are bringing in NFT holders as the go-to testers for Otherside.
“I think we’re doing things in contrast to the way a lot of gaming companies would do things, starting with the iterative development of the game itself,” Aronow said. “Typically, what you would see is you’d maybe get a teaser, a few months later you get a trailer, three years later, you get a game.”
Yuga intends to reveal a bit of the Otherside through various trips where carefully selected individuals can begin exploring parts of the upcoming virtual world. Moreover, unlike typical game developers, Yuga isn’t focused on the largest possible demographic as it develops its game products.
“We are always building out everything for the person who bought an Ape for $200,” Aronow said, obviously referring to those who were first to mint or purchase a BAYC NFT when they launched on Ethereum in April 2021.
Also, it is no surprise that Yuga Labs did not design Otherside for kids or no-coiners.
“I think one way of thinking about it is as a semi-decentralized, but absolutely Web3 native, Roblox,” Aronow said. “But obviously much better looking and geared for a slightly more adult audience.”
The MMORPG feels of Otherside is also not surprising since Solano co-authored a book about “World of Warcraft” in 2019.
“We want to tell an amazing story,” Solano said of Otherside’s creative core. “You know, about what the [****] these Koda things are and a strange world that we found ourselves teleported into. And we also want to give the space for people’s creativity to build on top of and enjoy.”
NFTs in Gaming
If Aronow and Solano’s vision for Yuga Labs is any indication, the company may be veering toward becoming a gaming company.
“While we’re this tech company, in a way, this blockchain company, what we really are is more like a lifestyle brand or a storytelling company,” Solano said.
“We’re very much a creative-first company,” Aronow added.
Moreover, the two are optimistic that despite all the controversy and criticism that NFTs in video games are getting, haters and gamers will eventually change their minds. Aronow is also convinced that “every AAA gaming studio” has its core of people committed to developing blockchain games.
“Every time there’s a new technology, it gets [****] on,” Aronow said. “The next big wave, or the next major wave, in NFTs will center around gaming,” he added.
Nevertheless, Aronow isn’t looking at things through rose-colored glasses when it comes to the Metaverse. He believes those working on this novel technology will not always get it right.
“The idea of a Metaverse that’s like a walled garden that’s just built for you, and you’re just gonna get the features that we give you over time—that’s just like another Web2 MMORPG,” he said.
“It didn’t seem all that innovative to me,” he added. “I like the idea of bringing the community along for the ride.”
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