Developer Pixelmatic has released a trailer for upcoming sci-fi MMO Infinite Fleet, scored by longtime Hollywood composer Vince Dicola. Infinite Fleet is honestly a bit of an odd one. It has development pedigree, is ambitious enough to be entering the MMO space with a retro anime art style—and it's all built on crypto.
The developer's been rather coy about what exactly differentiates Infinite Fleet from its most obvious inspirations such as EVE. Players work co-operatively with their fleets to fight an AI alien threat, "leaving their legacy in the game's lore via its unique directed narrative feature," and there's also "open combat" which is presumably some sort of equivalent to EVE's nullsec PvP zones. The press release cites Homeworld and EVE as big inspirations, before dropping the bomb about how it is "integrating a crypto asset to power its in-game peer-to-peer economy."
Yay. Players earn a cryptocurrency called INF by playing which, as with EVE's PLEX system, is of limited supply and, unlike the PLEX system, is built on "a secondary layer of the Bitcoin blockchain" called the Liquid Network. The game's business model is essentially built on the hope that it will get big enough for a secondary market to develop around this, as has been the case to some extent with PLEX. This will give players "true ownership of the asset" (except, of course, the chances of anyone outside of Infinite Fleet ever wanting that asset are unlikely).
The game itself looks alright. DiCola's soaring score certainly helps, the battles seem to be an interesting mix of realtime firing and wider strategy. I can see this scratching a Homeworld itch for players who miss that game's glorious galactic vistas. But these games are notoriously hard to sell in a trailer, given their nature as life-swallowing hobbies: Only when it's in the hands will players get a sense for whether Infinite Fleet has the strategic and structural depth to command attention.
If you want more detail on what Infinite Fleet is going for, or to start buying $40 spaceships for a game that isn't out yet (wonder where they got that idea), here's the game's homepage.
Obviously EVE isn't the only competitor Infinite Fleet has: Should you be inclined to spaff money up the wall on space opera promises, Star Citizen is still on the way. Elite grows more impressive with every update, while No Man's Sky has evolved into the ultimate cosmic chillout. Judging by this trailer Infinite Fleet has its work cut out: Virtual space is a more cut-throat battleground than any Hollywood movie could imagine.
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Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."