Pixelmon, a Web3 game project that raised $70 million from primary NFT sales, has announced new leadership and development plans.
The project was widely panned after its February artwork reveal, but the original creature artwork has since been replaced.
Perhaps no project was a greater sign of the NFT world’s excess and speculative frenzy earlier this year than Pixelmon, a project that raised $70 million by selling NFTs that promised to deliver a Pokémon-esque experience—and then unveiled ragged artwork that was widely panned and yielded memes aplenty.
A Pixelmon founder even called the art reveal a “horrible mistake.”
Several months later, the Ethereum-based game project is staging a comeback. Today, Pixelmon announced a new leadership team and an overhauled roadmap following the recent release of upgraded artwork, which turned the blocky, Minecraft-inspired models into more polished, smoothed-out 3D creatures.
Now, Pixelmon’s developers plan to turn the collectible NFT monsters—which sold for as much as 3 ETH (about $8,100) apiece in the initial sale—into interoperable 3D characters that can be used within the forthcoming Pixelmon online game, as well as in other metaverse games.
Pixelmon’s development was taken over earlier this year by LiquidX, a Web3 VC studio that helps build NFT-based projects. According to a press release, LiquidX acquired a 60% stake in the project, and LiquidX co-founder Giulio Xiloyannis will serve as CEO of Pixelmon.
Originally, Pixelmon planned to launch a playable alpha test version of the game by the end of 2022. Under the new roadmap, alpha testing for the game will begin in Q1 2023 instead, and the roadmap for the game includes the future launch of virtual land NFTs, as well as separate utility and governance tokens to fuel Pixelmon’s economy. The full game is due in late 2023.
Furthermore, Pixelmon will offer a free-to-play mode that anyone can play without owning one of the monster NFTs, which currently start at a price of 0.36 ETH ($475) on top secondary market OpenSea. Axie Infinity, another Pokémon-inspired NFT game, launched its own free-to-play mode after initially requiring NFTs to play.
Pixelmon might be trying to move past its widely mocked launch in many ways, but the project is also embracing the memes that turned it into an inglorious icon of the NFT space.
Once the artwork was revealed in February, one particular monster—called Kevin—captured the imagination (and mockery) of NFT collectors, and quickly became one of the most-valuable Pixelmon NFTs. While the rest of the Pixelmon creature artwork has been upgraded and overhauled, Kevin’s blocky, ogre-like form has barely been touched.
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