Amara Dumlao is the Associate Producer on a brand new game called Shrapnel, which will be coming to PC Gamers in the not-to-distant future. Shrapnel is a new first-person shooter, which will be Free to play and is looking to create a brand new world of possibilities for its players. Its a game that is going to be on the Blockchain as it will allow players to earn currency while in the game. Scifipulse recently caught up with Dumlao to discuss the game and what it has to offer to its players.
ScifipPulse: I have read that your team came together via HBO. Would you mind talking a little about that and how that led you all to come up with Shrapnel?
Amara Dumlao: Definitely! Most of our founders spun-out from HBO Interactive. While there, they bonded creatively through technical experimentation, releasing projects like Westworld VR (which won an Emmy), building an AR prototype with Game of Thrones gameplay, proving game streaming works in a VOD service environment, and more.
Ours is a unique team of BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning game designers, producers, artists and programmers working at the nexus of games, television, movies, and graphic novels. We have collective experience on some of the biggest franchises in entertainment — Halo, Call of Duty, Star Wars, Bioshock, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, and many more. There was also a legacy Shrapnel project featuring visual designs by Syd Mead.
These experiences and our passion for the future of entertainment has led us to Shrapnel, the world’s first blockchain-enabled customizable AAA first-person shooter game, which combines thrilling competitive and tactical gameplay and a rich set of community creator tools.
SFP: Shrapnel is a game with a difference in that you are making it so that it is on the blockchain. Could you explain what that means and what the advantages are of that to both you guys as the creators as well as how it will empower the player base?
Amara Dumlao: First and foremost, Shrapnel is being created as a fun high-stakes extraction first-person shooter. Video game players have always sought out opportunities to alter, create, and customise aspects of a game and within Shrapnel we are purposefully empowering creators to make maps, skins, weapons etc. By creating, housing, and exchanging their items on blockchain, players are able to truly own and get rewarded for what they make. They can both play-to-own and ‘create-to-own’! This introduces a significant change from previous gaming models where the creator economy is a closed loop that ultimately stays within the game environment, flowing back into studios’ pockets.
The production and development cycle for Shrapnel also stands out due to our focus on community engagement as a major part of the game’s development process. Through engaged community channels, we are turning the traditional AAA roadmap on its head by empowering our community to define a number of different game elements including storylines, weapons, environments and much more.
SFP: I’m not really too knowledgeable on crypto. Would you mind educating me as to how it has been used in games thus far to date and how Shrapnel is going to do things differently to the current games that use crypto?
Amara Dumlao: Until now, crypto games have predominantly focussed on the economic benefits that digital assets can bring to games. This has meant some games have rushed to market, and we’ve seen highs and lows in player experience and outcomes – and that has led to some understandably polarised opinions about blockchain gaming. We’re here to change that. Our seasoned team of AAA game designers, seeks first and foremost to build a high-quality game that players will find fun to play! Really, the blockchain elements should operate in the background, enhancing what players already know and love about games.
SFP: Could you talk a little about the story setup for the game?
Amara Dumlao: In the lore of Shrapnel, it’s 2038 when a massive asteroid has crashed into the moon and caused meteorites to bombard a large stretch of Earth, leaving an uninhabitable area known as the Sacrifice Zone. As many speculate about what is being uncovered there, rumours begin to spread about a mysterious and valuable material called Sigma. Soon, nations and corporations begin assembling their own extraction forces and the battle begins over who controls the Sacrifice Zone and its many secrets.
SFP: And aside from it being on the blockchain and using crypto. How do you think it will stand out from an already really crowded marketplace. From what I have heard there is comic book element to the game. Would you mind talking a bit about how that works? Also, are there any plans to have a comic book adaptation of the game?
Amara Dumlao: Players want to get closer to the action and explore stories set within a game’s world through various media formats and our team recognizes that there are benefits to entertainment products and franchises when transmedia is done right. As such, we recently released a preview of our upcoming comic book series at San Diego Comic-Con.
The comics provide a unique way to explore environments, lore, and characters by considering how Shrapnel’s lunar impact event would alter everything from governments, and mega-corporations to the lives of individuals and beyond. That’s why we’ve worked with some of the best comic book creators in the industry to produce a series of stories that we think our community will love.
Sharing these comics with our community ahead of the game release is another way of inviting them along on the journey of creating Shrapnel. And I personally hope that these emotionally rich tales will inspire our global audience to imagine Shrapnel stories of their own.
Additionally, these comics will not just live in physical form, there are also collectible digital copies that will be displayed in the game inventories of some of our earliest fans.
SFP: How do you plan to keep the storylines and character stories within the game world interesting? And how much of that creativity will the games players have a say or a hand in helping to create?
Amara Dumlao: We are taking the first steps to create the rich storyline and breadth of characters that will make Shrapnel a fascinating world for players to enjoy. But the really great thing is that our creator tools will then hand the game over to our players, to ongoingly create game elements and experiences of their own.
And as we build the game, we are engaged with our Discord community through events such as our fan-fiction contest, AMAs, and votes on various game elements. It’s really exciting because by working with our community we are uniquely able to make Shrapnel the game they really want.
SFP: Will the game be cross-platform and if so how will you negotiate having the blockchain and a crypto system in operation across all the different formats? As you well know, Gaming is always evolving and in recent years we have begun to see things like Virtual and Augmented Reality creep into the mainstream with things such as The Meta Quest and Playstation VR. Can you see Shrapnel finding its way onto those kinds of platforms? Or is it too early to be thinking about that just yet?
Amara Dumlao: Currently, we’re focused on building towards the launch of our game on PC – when we see enough success on that platform then we can start considering porting to others. Details of the various technologies we are using to build Shrapnel’s world, security features, and token economy can be found in our in-depth White Paper here.
SFP: Finally. When can we expect to see the game released and where can we learn more about it?
Amara Dumlao: We’re constantly announcing updates on our Discord and Twitter channels. For our roadmap and progress updates, as well as regular interactive team events, we invite you to join us on these platforms.
We’d like to thank Amara Dumlao for taking the time to answer our questions. And we look forward to playing some Shrapnel when the game releases on the PC.