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Interviews

Exclusive Undead Blocks Interview: New Details on Survival Mode, Teaser on Future Zombies, and More

We sat down with Grant Haseley, Executive Director of Wagyu Games & Undead Blocks, and got new information on the Survival mode, sneak peek on the new zombies coming, and tons of teasers.

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Mostafa Salem

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There is no denying Undead Blocks is a Polkastarter Gaming favorite at this point. The first-person shooter zombies title developed by Wagyu Games has taken the web3 gaming space by storm, with non-stop tournaments and major announcements.

Just a few days after announcing their Immutable X’s layer 2 integration to power their in-game skins economy, the team announced IMX's MP5 Massacre. The third consecutive free-to-play weekend tournament following Genblock Capital’s AKM Assault and our very own MP5 Massacre, both with $10K prize pools. The latest tournament cracked over 3K players as well, cementing the undeniable growth of Undead Blocks.

We got the opportunity to sit down for an in-depth interview with Grant Haseley, Executive Director of Wagyu Games & Undead Blocks, and he didn't hold back. We managed to get new information on the uncapped Survival mode for the true Call of Duty Zombies grinders, the upcoming new zombie types, how will the Prestige ranking work, a potential battle pass, and much more new details on the future of Undead Blocks. Let's dive straight into it.

We will start off simple for everyone to get to know Undead Blocks first. If you can please introduce yourself, Undead Blocks, and the Wagyu Games studio behind it

I would say that I took one of the most unconventional routes to Web3 gaming that could possibly exist. I was a hardcore gamer up through college, majored in Mathematics, went to work for large financial institutions, Goldman Sachs being the largest. What I realized was that I was tired of sitting in a corner office and making rich people richer.

I have always been into cryptography and had observed Axie closely and figured that I could build a bulletproof tokenomics structure but also provide a fun gameplay loop to bring Web2 gamers en masse.

I founded Wagyu in July of 2021 and launched Undead Blocks as our proof of concept. Undead Blocks gameplay is straightforward: kill zombies, clear waves, earn crypto. We have lots of ways to iterate on top of the gameplay loop, but our community is having a blast playing the beta so far.

The Call of Duty franchise is massive, and Zombies managed to build its own cult following over the years. What sparked the concept of creating Undead Blocks and mixing play and earn with zombies gameplay?

Activision has abandoned their zombies franchise. Millions of gamers who grew up bingeing COD Zombies for hours on end in WoW have been tossed to the wayside as Call of Duty looks to monetize their products in other ways. Call of Duty is also not releasing a title in 2023. Call of Duty pulled their zombie product off of the app stores because they couldn’t monetize it. Just look at the amount of views that are garnered on OG COD Zombies content daily. 

This provides us with a unique opportunity to steal market share as we scale and allow those gamers to play with their friends and follow a unique storyline, with our own special twists on the gameplay loop. The players are out there, it’s our job to bring them in.

Everyone knows at this point you need one to be able to earn on the daily rewards. However, something that was teased briefly is the ability to actually upgrade the weapons inside those packs. Can you elaborate on how players will be able to do that exactly and how does it affect their earning potential?

We’re still calibrating how those weapon upgrades will look in game, perhaps they will be more cosmetic in nature. We do not want a gamer to download Undead Blocks, enjoy the game, acquire a Weapon NFT, and then immediately get *rekt* by someone with upgraded weapons. I believe that leads to a negative gameplay experience. It’s something we are still tweaking behind the scenes.

A major factor in Undead Blocks popularity so far is its regular sponsored weekend tournaments. How did you arrive at this structure and how long do you plan on doing them?

We’ve heard the critics of P2E loud and clear. A play to earn game that establishes a secondary reward currency out of thin air and gives it to their player base as a reward will go to zero. There are dozens of examples of this exact situation playing out.

We need to drive revenue. Outside liquidity is the name of the game for P2E. Create a fun game with zero barrier to entry, scale up the player base, and use the value of that player base to advertise to potential Web3 sponsors that know that your players either own crypto, own an NFT, or aren’t completely opposed to the idea.

Our sponsored tournaments are the poster child for this model. Free to play and earn, no barrier to entry, let players earn small amounts of USD equivalents and try our game. Very similar to Coinbase Learn & Earn, but wayyyyy more fun.

A question that came up a few times is what the Prestige symbol represents within the tournament leaderboard. Can you give us a sneak peek on what that means exactly and how players rank up?

Players will be able to prestige with playtime. As players clock hours and earn ZBUX, they will also gain prestige - unlocking access to special challenges and quests as well as in-game entertainment.

At the moment, the solo mode in the Open Beta is limited to 5 rounds. Once it is unlocked, what is the cap on the highest round players can achieve? Will the solo modes for players who want to break records be separate from those logging in their playtime for the daily earnings?

There will be no cap on waves, no cap.

Survival, wave based Multiplayer is the game mode that everyone wants to grind. We know this. It’s coming. We are making final adjustments to our first map and tweaking the zombie AI, and once we receive green flags for our multiplayer experience, all hell will break loose.

The solo modes and SpeedRunning competitions are a unique way for players to put their FPS skills to the test. We will also have Duos, where players will compete in pairs to survive as long as possible. NFT holders will also have their own game mode to grind.

Undead Blocks will always be challenging. Frankly, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Daily earnings once implemented will be the main driver for player retention. Can you elaborate further on how exactly the leaderboards work and what metric will the ranking be based on? 

I believe that daily earnings should be a mixture of skill and randomness. We want to curate a culture where the average gamer can join our ecosystem and have the chance to earn as much as someone who has been grinding FPS for years. There will be random earning mechanisms in our game to keep players on their toes and coming back.

We also are leaning heavily into our esports model, allowing the top players in the world access to compete against each other in a unique setting.

We never want to get to a point where players say “I don’t care what I am playing, just let me push buttons and earn.”

What is the most unique feature in your eyes that will keep players coming back daily beyond ranking on the leaderboard for earnings?

In-game easter eggs. A full built out storyline. The crypto esports approach.

Also, the ability to earn randomly and play with friends. We will keep our free to play and NFT holder players on their toes.

A major recent announcement was powering the in-game Undead Blocks skins economy using Immutable X. Can you give us a sneak peek on what exactly that means and how will it affect gameplay?

For us , it was a no brainer. After discussions with other L2 platforms, it was apparent that IMX prioritized gameplay above all else. This was crucial for us. Joining the ranks of Illuvium, Guild of Guardians, and Gods Unchained, Wagyu Games looks forward to expanding our relationship with IMX and other games within their ecosystem to form a strategic alliance of gamer empowerment.

Additionally, the IMX wallet UX is built for gamers, with integrated credit card payment and a carbon neutral solution built to scale.

Having access to the IMX global order book instantly propels our Weapon and Skin NFTs to every marketplace in their network.

Expect millions of Skin NFTs to be minted over the next decade using IMX’s ZK rollup technology.

At the moment, there are 3 types of enemies but we have seen the American football zombie teased on several occasions. How many enemy types do you plan on having in total and how diverse will they be?

They will be pretty diverse. We also have police officers and businessman zombies ready to roll out upon full release.

Expect more zombies, zombie bosses, and power ups and power downs to be released in future updates to the gameplay.

You have mentioned before the possibility of a season pass implemented within Undead Blocks, what content will that get to offer players exactly? Will players be able to buy their way to the end of it if they want to?

It’s still too early to unleash the $UNDEAD battle pass. As we surpass six figure daily players, it will make more sense to offer the battle pass to our player base. Providing $UNDEAD utility via the battle pass and through loot coffin purchases is a high priority for us.

We anticipate the $UNDEAD battle pass to be a fluid battle pass, by holding $UNDEAD, players will have access to the BP, whether that’s through minting an actual pass through IMX or just holding $UNDEAD in your wallet, we are still configuring the structure behind the scenes. But is is coming.

What are you personally most excited about for Undead Blocks and Wagyu Games that no one knows yet?

Our earning mechanism in-game is just clucking ridiculous. It’s the coolest shit ever. Undead Blocks will be a zombie killing crypto casino, where no one can lose. As we drive revenue through all of our titles, expect more creative ways to earn through challenges, contests, memes, and content creation.

Feel free to share any final thoughts or upcoming announcements players need to keep an eye out for.

Expect more sponsored tournaments as we march towards the full game launch in Q4. There has been considerable demand for these tournaments which will only get stronger as we continue to grow our player base. We will offer more ways to earn, more ways to collect skins, and most importantly, more ways to have fun with your friends.

We hope you enjoyed our interview with Grant from the Wagyu Games and Undead Blocks team, and managed to walk away as excited for the first-person shooter's future as much as us. We personally can't wait to see all of these future developments become a reality for us to play.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below and keep an eye out for more upcoming exclusive interviews from across the web3 gaming space. If you haven't already, make sure to check out our earlier interview with Brent Liang, Founding Team Member at Fractal.

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updated:

November 10th 2022

posted:

August 31st 2022