I remain intrigued by the development of Project Moon, the game made by Midnight Society, streamer Dr. Disrespect, which includes industry giants like Call of Duty’s Robert Bowling.
Now there’s a new blog post detailing what this game actually is, along with some first, very early screenshots. There’s also a lot of new information about how the development will work alongside its “founders”, which raises a whole new set of questions.
We previously heard that Project Moon would be a “AAA Competitive PvPvE FPS,” which is repeated here. But now the Midnight Society is defining the genre, which they call a “vertical extraction shooter”.
“Our high-level gameplay goals are to capture the essence of arena shooter level design with the size and scale of battle royale player counts and session-to-session gameplay mechanics of extraction-based shooters.”
So as many players as a Battle Royale, so probably 60-100, with PvE opponents and a central extraction mechanic. The most famous “extraction” shooter these days is Tarkov, and arguably the “vertical” idea here is that this is some sort of raid/dredd-like tower to escape from. Maybe you need to fight your way to the top and fight other players and AI enemies?
On paper, that actually sounds… kinda cool? I actually like this concept. But it’s the rest of the new blog posts that continue to make me have questions about the feasibility of this project.
In what they call a “transparent” development, the Midnight Society is giving its first 10,000 Founder’s Pass holders an unusual role in the game. The post describes a schedule in which the Midnight Society will create a vertical portion of the game every six weeks that will focus on one element or another for the founders to play, and they will “create specific tasks and iteration goals that flow from resulting from these meetings”, in order to steer development. Founders Pass holders can vote on game features.
I asked the game developers who follow me on Twitter if that sounds doable or not. Responses ranged from “probably not” to “no way” to “lol,” and there was a good dose of skepticism. Doc himself didn’t seem to care much about the actual game developers’ opinions:
One of the more thoughtful responses comes from Destiny 2 game director Joe Blackburn, who says something interesting could come of this, but it seems… ambitious:
“Innovation comes from trying things that others think won’t work, so maybe they discover something cool. My 2 cents are the cycles appearing too fast for meaningful new changes. Games have been bad for a long time, I would worry that most features will be postponed before they get a chance to iterate.”
There is also the additional factor that this is a Web3 project. The holders of the Founder’s Pass are not only people who have registered by email. They are fans who have claimed and “activated” NFTs for $50 to be part of this select group. So essentially, the game is being tested by superfans who are paying for the privilege. A large portion of the blog post talks about the upcoming meeting the Midnight Society has planned in LA, and in a way it feels like putting the cart before the horse. The idea is that they’re primarily focused on creating a “community,” but it’s one based on paying NFT holders at the moment, and it’s unclear when a public, playable product will emerge from this.
As always, I will be monitoring this project very closely.
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