May 15, 2024

Guild of Guardians Game Director Chris Clay joins "First Mover" to discuss the launch of their squad-based RPG game.

Video transcript

Web three games are creeping back into the spotlight. Now, many of the market watchers and analysts, I interview on Markets Daily have said that recently they're keeping a close eye on developments in the web three gaming space builders have been quietly creating gaming experiences that they hope gamers in Web three and eventually Web Two will enjoy. And in the conversations I've had, it's become clear that it hasn't been an easy feat. One of the games that Web Three gaming Twitter has been patiently waiting for is Guild of Guardians, a mobile RPG full of fantasy adventure and magic. Here on the global launch day is Guild of Guardians game director Clay. Congratulations, you're here. Thank you so much. I'm here. I'm still alive. Yeah, it's launched. The baby is birthed. Yeah, very excited to be here. Also a little loopy, a little punch drunk. Uh It's been a long day but a good one. I bet it's been a long day. Now, let let's talk about Guild of Guardians. There's been a lot of excitement about the launch of this game, especially on web three gaming Twitter, like I just mentioned, is this the game that we've all been waiting for uh, in web three gaming. Talk me a little bit through the gaming experience and what you hope to achieve in terms of user adoption. Yeah, I, I think at some level, I would say it's a little bit like a phd, like each game in the web, web three gaming space. Like, ideally we're breaking that edge of knowledge, pushing it out just a little bit further, taking everything in the space further. And I do think Guild of Guardians is really doing that. Uh It's something that I joined the project 17 months ago. Um It's been in development for longer than that, but we rebooted the game 15 months ago and it's kind of been built from the ground up to win in the current sort of like web two mobile space in an area that is not quite consolidated, uh that sort of squad based RPG uh gotcha game space. Um And on the web three side, it's taking everything that we've learned at immutable through Gaza unchained through uh you know, Stark XM mutable X uh over into immutable Z TB M on like how do we get games to the point where the Web three just makes the game better? And, you know, guilded Guardians is a huge step forward on that front because you can get into the game with your passport. That's really the friction points like using uh Google to sign into your passport. And then you're into the game and like as a gamer from that point on, you really don't need to know a ton about Web three. You said it's built, um for a web two mobile audience, it's built with that audience in mind. Why even say it's a Web three game if we're trying to win over these people who have previously been skeptical of Web three games at the moment, uh You know, it's still a challenge and, you know, everyone wants to do it. I think we're learning more and more about how we do it. And I think Gilded Guardians is taking a step forward there. And there's really kind of a two main paths that I'm seeing at the moment. One is just going full DJ and heavy and like that's fine, but it's kind of just glorified gambling at the point and you really boil it all down and is it gaming? Yes, that's actually gaming. Like it's, but when it comes to having like a gamified, like game game that people are playing, you know, we're still trying to find that balance of that really engaging experience that you would play web two only that happens to have these web three elements and like how you bring that massive gamers into the mix. You know, the Gilded Guardians approach where we're really trying to get, you know, not just thousands of people, but hundreds of thousands up to, you know, potentially if we manage to just hit that sweet spot. That is really, really hard. The millions of people like it's a much harder road to hoe at the moment. But I think it's really worthwhile uh because the learnings that you get there lead you to where crypto needs to be to really go mainstream. Let's take, let's take a little step uh backwards. Talk to me a little bit about your background. How did you end up building this game? How did you end up with this dream to onboard millions into this new way of gaming? Oh, they didn't start there. Um But like the TLDR for Clay is I've been in gaming for 24 years now and I've done just about every job there is to do in gaming. A lot of my games uh from my early days are still alive, Lord of the Rings Online Heating Sweet 16, um which is, which is a long time for a game still be running. Um translated all of that into my first job as a game director, which was Magic, the Gathering Arena, definitely my most successful game to date, you know, billions in revenue, millions of players. And from there uh actually changed tech a little bit. Um Some of it was seeing how much value I was trapping in this ecosystem that felt bad, particularly with card games coming from cardboard that you could own to digital, that you couldn't before you know, it you're in, you know, uh Sydney. And you're like, hey, family, we've got to move to Sydney and they're like, what? And I'm like, yeah, we're moving to Sydney. We're gonna go to Australia and I'm gonna do this crypto thing. Uh because, and some of it for me is even from uh mmorpgs to free to play to now crypto. I always tried to be at the bleeding edge of where we're exploring, you name some pretty big games there. Talk to me about how you go from um working on the development of, of some of the more well known games in the gaming space to picking up your entire family and moving to Sydney to work on something that many think is very niche that no one has really cracked the net on yet. Um What took you down that journey? What makes you a believer? Um Some of it was a conversation I had with Alex Conley the CTO. Um And the way he broke down crypto tech to me, I'm like, OK, I get it like you get how to translate this pretty obscure thing into a language that, that humans can speak. Uh And the other side of it was like building immutable. Uh I was really aligned with the vision, you know, one of the things I was looking for was essentially, I want to prove that you can build a company where you can succeed without really. Uh and you know, it sounds like, oh, that's easy. Just don't, like, just don't, don't, don't deal with the, it's like, no, everywhere I've worked in, uh, every company in the United States. Uh, it's been a real challenge and they can make life miserable. And I'm like, no, let's do it better. Let's go for diversity. Let's, you know, have people deal with really difficult problems and not worry about the person next to them. And, uh, I think that's laid the foundations for, you know, why immutable has been able to acquire so many people from across the industry that they probably shouldn't have necessarily. Um And it's created an environment where we can really focus on solving hard problems um and working together, you know, through really just challenging and often scary times um to go do cool things and that's what align in a vision of like the company that we're going to build that culture and this problem we're gonna solve of like, how do we fix trapped value for gamers? Like there's all this money, billions and billions and billions of dollars every year that's getting trapped inside of these online games. It's like, let's free that up. And originally it was like, oh, we're just gonna like free it up and everyone would be like, that's better, let's go do that. And it ended up being a little bit more challenging than that. There's some resistance there. Um But uh I think we're, we're getting closer. Uh you know, honestly, every day. Um Just getting a little bit easier, a little bit better to realizing that that point where I think crypto needs to be where you just don't care about the tech, it just does what you need it to do. Um One of the things I, I, I've said a lot is like a decade ago when you're, you're seeing ads on TV, when we used to watch TV, on ads and not streaming. Like, are you in the cloud came up all the time? No, nobody cares about the cloud because we're all in the cloud. And I think that's where crypto needs to get, get to. Ultimately, it's, it's just solving our problems and we just don't need to care about what's going on underneath. Um That's not, we're at today. It's gonna take a little, a little bit of doing to get there. It makes a lot of sense to me. Everyone who watches this show knows that I am bullish on Web three gaming. Although I don't know how we're going to solve some of the challenges that are in front of people like you who are really forging the path forward. I have to ask you about the immutable ecosystem main quest. This is another that kind of took over uh web three gaming and Twitter, $50 million in rewards for questing across games that include uh Guild of the Guardians. Is, is this how we get people in? We offer a bunch of a bunch of money. Is this like, what do you think? I, I think right now it's how you get crypto people in. Um, and that the DS you like? Yeah, it's how you get the D gens in. And, um, you know, I think there really is a war for the space. Uh, I've heard a number recently at this point there's like 100 and 40 you know, gaming chains between L ones and L Twos. And everyone's like, we're gonna be the home of gaming and clearly not like that math doesn't work out but like a lot of what it is right now is like, we are fighting for the heart of where crypto gaming is gonna live. Like who's gonna be the Steam, who's gonna be the Epic Games and who are gonna be, you know, the, the, the, the other like lesser like also rans in the mix. And I think, you know, the main quest is one of those ways where you get the core and the core is really important to setting the foundations to go make it more accessible for everyone else. And yeah, I'm excited with what it does. Just some of what we've seen uh initially with um you know, like immutable uh gems and you know, the excitement it brought to uh even guild of guardians with uh our cracked hearts in the altar. Um If we got time, like the altar is also something I can wax poetic about and I'm gonna try to do it really, really fast. But uh one of the, the storylines for a long time has been interoperability. It's like you, you own an FT you can play in any game. And I'm like, as a game maker, I can tell you that's nuts. That's so hard. We're so far away from like making that easy. That's the, that's the dream. That's what everyone talks about You take. That's a nightmare. I don't know what you're talking about. Dream. That's the dream that I'm being sold here. Nightmare as a developer. It's a nightmare. But, but the thing that I've been trying to pitch for some time now is not interoperability of like, I can play this one thing in every game in existence, but economic interoperability where you can use the power of Blockchain to take your assets and make them valuable all over. And the altar is, what does that mean when you say valuable all over? What do you mean? OK. OK. So um with NFTS, you know, one of the big things is like, why would you do it over just like a big old database? And it's because you don't have to ask for permission, like you can just, you can move them, you can do with what whatever you want with them. And um that's one of those pieces of power. And what that also means is like with the system that we've built in the altar, you can take a combination of NFTS, you can do what you want with them. In our case, in the altar, we're burning them and you can transform them into something else. And that creates economic interoperability where I can. Now, if I'm friendly with a product like Alluvium, I can be like, hey, let's do some co marketing. Uh let's set a recipe. We're gonna burn some Alluvial's, we're gonna burn, you know, some of whatever resource that you you've got in your game and you can start taking different communities and engaging them together. One to like, I need to go over and check out this Alluvium store to buy resources to forge the recipe for the game that I want to play. Guild of Guardians or vice versa. But you can start moving things around uh the ecosystem. It's great for cross promotion. It's great for getting rid of assets that haven't quite worked. It's great for vampire attacking of like, hey, that game is popular, but guess what we're gonna do, we're gonna take it and you can burn some of those things over in uh the altar and we're gonna turn it into something that's great in, you know, guilt of guardians. And it's not something I've seen much of that all, but I think there's a lot of possibility space there just before we wrap up this conversation. I want to know what's the next big catalyst you think um is coming to help, I guess the adoption of web two gamers. What's that thing you're waiting for? What can we all look forward to when this happens? We know that we've hit another milestone towards mainstream adoption. We're making headway with web three games in terms of being able to be on the app stores and you know, I OS on Android, you know, Epic uh is hosting web three games, but you still have some of the big places particularly for PC like Steam where you can kind of skirt your way around it and they'll kind of let you for a time, but some of it is being able to be in all of those main distribution points. And I think some of it is gonna come down to consolidation. Um Right now, the gamers are spread all over, you know, web three and there is an economy of scale to having a lot of eyeballs and a lot of people in one place. And, you know, that's not centralization isn't necessarily the ethos of crypto. But I think we're going to need to see some of that um to solve problems just a couple of times instead of like we're trying to solve the same problem right now, you know, hundreds of times across all of these different chains from all of the basic stuff like purchasing to minting, getting some of that consolidation, consolidation of learning I think is gonna lead to that sort of like Domino effect. And it's actually one of the things I'm really excited about, you know, working at immutable between just, you know, our close studio partner games, uh like Chard Bun and Metal Corp um to like the wider ecosystems, you know, your alluviums and beyond.

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