Peter Molyneux's new studio, 22 Cans are creating a massively multiplayer game that includes £50,000 DLC. Curiosity will be the first in 22 experiments designed to explore our interactions with social media. And our bank accounts, by the sounds of it.
Players start in a 2001-inspired white room which holds a single black cube. And you've got a chisel. By tapping away at the cube you'll cause it to fracture, revealing hidden layers underneath. It's a bit like eating one of those impractical giant gobstoppers. Only there's one gobstopper, countless amounts of lickers, and one very expensive tongue-mod on offer.
“It's so intriguing that the first thing you do is to touch the cube, and as you do, you'll move towards it," Molyneux told Edge . "As you do so, words will fade in: “Curiosity” and that will fade away. Second: “What is inside the black cube?” As you get closer, you realise that as you tap, this almost imperceptible crack will appear, a hairline crack so tiny in this huge cube."
The really interesting part? After a certain amount of tapping the second stage of the experiment will begin. The DLC stage.
Players will be able to upgrade their chisels with real-money cash. And iron chisel will set you back 59p, but will tap 10 times harder than your starting tool. The range of chisels runs right up to a single Diamond model which costs a staggering £50,000 but is 100,000 times more powerful. "It's an insane amount of money," admits Peter, but the aim is to see whether pure curiosity will drive one player, or a syndicate of players assembled through social media, to buy the chisel. "This is not a money-making exercise; it is a test about the psychology of monetisation," Molyneux told New Scientist .
After a certain number of taps, the cube will open, revealing something "truly amazing, absolutely unique" to the player who performed the final hit. And that's the key - the more expensive your chisel, the more likely you are to see the money shot.
"There's only one black cube in the whole world, and everybody who's tapping and chipping and sculpting away at this cube is trying to find out what is in the middle. I'm not going to tell anyone," Peter promised Edge .
Peter is most looking forward to discovering how/when/if that player divulges the secret. "We will rely entirely on social media," he explains. "How will this person prove it? That in itself becomes a fascinating aspect of this experiment."
Another 21 experiments will follow Curiosity. Peter will learn a little bit from each one which, helping him realise a game he's planning on releasing in two years.
Curiosity will be launch on PC and mobile in six weeks.