Half-baked battle royale with NFTs to launch on the Epic Games Store, pleasing nobody

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It looks like the Epic Games Store is getting its first NFT game. Um… yee haw? Grit was announced in 2021 as a cowboy battle royale coming to Steam, but after missing a few early access launch windows it went quiet, then resurfaced earlier this year as a blockchain game. While there’s still no launch date, Grit now has a page on the Epic Games Store and is listed as “coming soon.”

A few of us gave Grit a try during a technical test last year—at that stage it was just another battle royale with no mention of NFTs—and while none of us were blown away it did show a bit of promise. An Old West battle royale with six-shooters, steam engines, horses, and a poker-based loot system had a lot of appeal, even in an alpha state. But it definitely had a long way to go.

Since then we haven’t heard much about Grit, as it quickly hit some snags. First, a September 2021 early access launch date got shuffled to January 2022, and then a second delay pushed it later into the year. In February the game announced a partnership with Gala Games, a blockchain gaming company. In addition to a battle royale, Grit is now an NFT game.

“Play as an entirely unique character and customize their look. Generative Hero NFTs allow you to own your gunslinger and access cosmetic loadout slots, increased earning potential, and more,” reads the official site. A link takes you to a Gala Games site where you can purchase a “Gunslinger Box” where you can “receive your 1 of 10,000 Generative Characters,” basically, a cowboy avatar you use in-game. 

This isn’t news to anyone paying attention, but NFTs haven’t received a warm welcome in gaming. Stalker 2 announced NFT plans and then immediately cancelled them after fan backlash, Team17 did the exact same thing, CCP rejected the idea for Eve Online, and Ubisoft is struggling to sell the idea to its own employees. Even Troy Baker got ratioed.

Gamers, largely, don’t want NFTs in games, and they also roll their eyes every time yet another battle royale comes along, plus many are still resistant to the Epic Games Store in general. So it’s pretty hard to conceive of Grit being much of a success, and easy to understand why people on twitter have already started calling it “Grift.” It doesn’t help that one of Grit’s horse NFTs appears to be just a $30 asset from Unreal Engine 5’s library. Somehow, Oblivion’s Horse Armor DLC is no longer the worst.

It’s also hard to say how much the game has come along since we tested it back in 2021. A brief glimpse of some “gameplay” (a streamer shooting at some walls while waiting for other players to join) doesn’t look all that hot, let alone “insane in the membrane” as they describe it.

Meanwhile, Grit still has a page on the Steam store, which is odd because Valve banned games with NFTs or cryptocurrency back in October of 2021 so it’s safe to say Grit won’t be launching there at all. In response to Valve’s statement, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in 2021 that Epic would “welcome” blockchain games provided they follow “the relevant laws, disclose their terms, and are age-rated,” despite a month earlier describing blockchain games as being “tangled up with an intractable mix of scams.”

Somewhat ironically, Sweeney has been on Twitter today trying to let people know that a Fortnite NFT is a scam. Welcome to the blockchain! 

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