Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds, a cute mobile JRPG, is finally out in North America today, and subtly harbors strong connections to NFTs and the blockchain.
In a blog post from last month co-developer Netmarble detailed its plans to put Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds and all of its upcoming games in a “blockchain ecosystem,” which includes selling NFTs for popular IPs (including Game of Thrones, The Seven Deadly Sins, and Tower of God) and other digital assets and tying money to “MBX,” which is Netmarble’s blockchain currency.
In the section discussing Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds, the company says “In line with A3: STILL ALIVE, Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds users will be able to acquire in-game currencies by hunting in a particular field or dungeon and exchanging them for individual game tokens and MBX. How will blockchain technology be linked to various contents of ‘Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds’? We are very curious!” Even with the above statement, the actual blockchain implementation is not clear. If the rest of their roadmap is any indicator, you can expect to see Ni No Kuni themed NFTs and other predatory crypto practices on the way soon. In the words of Hannibal Burres, “Hahahaha. This sucks man.”
What’s even more concerning, is that there is only a tiny mention of blockchain on their North America site, hidden behind multiple tabs. They are mostly showcasing that Level 5 is co-developing, assets and inspiration from Studio Ghibli, and that composer Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle) is also working on Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds. The language used around Cross World‘s connection to the blockchain is vague, buried, and unhelpful, and has fans questioning Netmarble’s motives behind using the Ni No Kuni IP.
It’s quite disappointing to see such a cherished series fall for NFTs, and it looks like Netmarble is in a dollar-shaped daze, naively walking Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds down that yellow block road.