Yu Suzuki, the legendary ex-Sega game designer who has yet to be apprehended for his role in creating the Shenmue series, has gotten a new gig. VGC reports that Suzuki has partnered up with Oasyx, “an NFT project developed on the Oasys gaming blockchain,” to produce a series of covetable JPEGs based around the Virtua Fighter series, which he created.
The partnership means that “fans can acquire limited-edition ‘VF MAYU’ NFTs” of “special Virtua Fighter characters,” which will be, uh, “incubated and revealed” next month. That faintly gross-sounding process will produce 1,000 Virtua Fighter NFTs—featuring “11 characters from the first three Virtua Fighter games”—for someone, somewhere to spend too much money on. They’ll also “serve as a base for future Metaverse avatars,” because of course they will.
It’s not entirely clear what Suzuki’s role in the project actually is. In a statement, he said that he is “supervising the development of OASYX’s unique worldview,” which I’m not gonna pretend is a statement overburdened with meaning from where I’m sitting, and that he’s “delighted to combine innovative technology in the form of blockchain-based NFTs, with three titles from the Virtua Fighter series”. It sounds to me like Yu Suzuki’s role in this endeavour was telling Oasyx it could Yu Suzuki’s name in this endeavour. It looks like Sega hasn’t done much beyond licensing out Virtua Fighter, either.
If there’s a silver lining to all this, it’s that Oasyx is a proof-of-stake, not proof-of-work, blockchain system. That means it doesn’t require the same energy-guzzling, environment-wrecking computation power that a network like Bitcoin does. While the Virtua Fighter NFTs are eyeroll-worthy, they’re at least not eating the planet. So, take comfort in that, I suppose.
Last year we said that NFTs had been successfully bullied out of mainstream games, and I still think that’s true. But it’s always a little dispiriting to see the swamp bubble up and spit something out like this or Square Enix’s terrible-looking NFT game, even if it’s not the same NFT goldrush that seemed to briefly take hold of videogame company C-suites around the world for a while. And while I understand that Suzuki has, it seems, signed a deal that rewards him for doing barely anything at all, it’s sad to see once-great creators put their names to this nonsense.