Peter Molyneux's next game is 'play-to-earn' and all-in on NFTs

Peter Molyneux smiling at the thought of nfts.
(Image credit: 22Cans)

You either die a hero, or live long enough to become a blockchain evangelist. Peter Molyneux, once a driving force in great studios like Bullfrog and Lionhead, has announced his studio 22Cans' next project, Legacy, will incorporate blockchain technology and NFTs.

Legacy is a business sim where you build products in factories and construct a town around your chosen industry. Think Sim City on a more granular scale. Anyone who's played Godus will know it would be wise to keep expectations in check, and ignore the wilder promises that Legacy comes with: Including, thanks to the blockchain of course, the suggestion you'll be "earning real money from your gameplay."

I'm going to put that in the same bracket as the suggestion that the winner of Curiosity would become a god (spoiler alert: he did not).

So: the point of the game is essentially to scale from a small local business into a mega corporation, a wholesome dream. The blockchain integration comes in the form of buying 'Land' NFTs which allow you to start a 'blockchain business association' in the game "while earning and owning your gameplay."

To clarify, the below tweet is from a long-running Molyneux parody account, though on this occasion it does seem to have had a crystal ball.

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Urgh, earning and owning your gameplay. Once you have an NFT you get access to Legacy Keys with which you can set up non-paying players who then become your 'business partners' and pay you a percentage of their 'LegacyCoin'. This is the cryptocurrency: "LegacyCoin (LEGACY) is a new Cryptocurrency lying on the Ethereum blockchain which complies with the tried and trusted ERC-20 token standard."

If you're wondering what Gala Games is, it was founded by Eric Schiermeyer in 2019, who had previously co-founded Zynga. As with all of these companies the public-facing blurb is all about empowering players, and "an ecosystem where players can own their assets and be rewarded for their participation." It aims to make "blockchain games you want to play" (we'll be the judge of that) and here comes the new free-to-play: Yep, it's "play-to-earn" games!

"I've been working on Legacy and it was during an out of the blue call with an old friend Mike McCarthy (who was working at Gala) when there was a lightbulb," writes Molyenux in a press release. "We came to realise I had developed a game perfect for crypto gaming. Every mechanic in Legacy was tailor-made for the blockchain environment."

Dun, dun, dun: Another one bites the dust. Who knows how Legacy is going to turn out, but the combination of the most irritating digital trend of the moment and a designer infamous for over-promising and under-delivering does not inspire confidence. I suppose the most obvious thing to say about all of this is an old cliché: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Legacy is out next year.

Rich Stanton

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."