Ubisoft wants to sell you Ezio's 'digital soul' and yes, it's an NFT

A plastic figure of Ezio in one of Integrated Reality Lab's 'Smart Collectible' acrylic cubes.
(Image credit: Integrated Reality Labs)

Back in September last year, Ubisoft promised that it would only start making moves with NFTs when it had "something that gives you a real benefit". Well, I guess it thinks it's found it. The company has teamed up with a firm called Integrated Reality Labs (IRL, get it?) to produce a range of Assassin's Creed-themed "Smart Collectibles," little acrylic cubes with Assassin's Creed guys in them that are tied to NFTs. Are you excited? I'm excited.

Spotted by VGC, the NFTs attached to the cubes will be stored on the Polygon blockchain (no relation to our esteemed competitor Polygon.com, which is probably less-than-thrilled by the shared branding), and you'll be able to play with them using a downloadable app. 

It works like this: At some point in the (presumably near) future, IRL will push a limited set of AC-themed "digital souls" of varying rarities to market, letting you pick one up for reasons that are between you, your bank, your conscience, and your god.

Once you've purchased your non-fungible Ezio (or whoever else), you'll be able to rouse him from his slumber on your mobile device and customise him using IRL's "Soul Customizer,"  a theologically enterprising name for what is, in essence, a wardrobe. In there, you'll be able to "Customize your outfit, weapon, and pose" and "forge your digital soul into a unique Smart Collectible".

What's a smart collectible, I hear you ask? Why, it's your personally-customised digital soul, trapped forever in an undecaying acrylic prison. IRL will use its "proprietary 3D printing technology" to produce a dinky version of your digital guy, "embedded with a chip allowing it to be scanned and authenticated along with interactivity with the IRL companion app". You know, in case you show it off to a visiting house guest and they accuse you of trafficking in illegitimate plastic Ezios.

And then, well, you own those things forever. Congratulations. The collectibles don't appear to have any effect inside Ubisoft's games, but if you ever feel the urge, you can fire up that companion app again and compel your digital pal into a variety of "unique interactions". You'll be able to "Complete achievements and level up your account to earn and unlock items, recipes, and loot boxes". In fact, you'll even be able to unlock the stuff you need to forge more smart collectibles, should you feel the need to add to your plastic menagerie of videogame men.

Much like those Yu Suzuki Virtua Fighter NFTs from a couple of months back, it seems like Ubisoft isn't really involved in, well, whatever you'd call this beyond licensing out the Assassin's Creed brand to IRL. Nevertheless, it is—by my estimation—still quite risible, especially in the wake of the company's own comments about only trying to flog you NFTs when they'd actually be useful.

IRL hasn't said when the first digital soul drop will be, or even how much each rarity tier will cost when they're available. So, you know, just keep that tab open and keep refreshing if you're as excited as I am.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.