‘Mystery Society’ Puts an NFT Twist on Casual Party Games Like ‘Among Us’
A screenshot from The Mystery Society. Image: Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
Social deduction game Among Us is a certified smash, with millions upon millions of people embracing the online party game as a way to stay connected and entertained with remote pals. Can an NFT game recreate that kind of success?
It’s what upstart game studio Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow aims to find out with Friday’s beta launch of The Mystery Society, a casual-friendly web game that similarly tasks players with trying to unmask a killer in their midst.
While the general approach of Among Us remains intact in The Mystery Society, including its easily understood rules and hand-drawn look, the vibe is more akin to Clue. Players can dress up their avatars with apparel, accessories, and other customizations offered as tradeable NFTs (minted on the Ethereum scaling network Polygon) throughout the game.
Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow was started by CEO Chris Heatherly, who has a long history in the gaming industry—including managing Disney’s popular kid gaming playground, Club Penguin, and later overseeing the gaming division at Universal. He then worked on NFT projects before deciding to launch his own studio.
“What I felt was missing was that there just wasn't enough focus in the Web3 space on casual social games that you can play with your friends,” Heatherly told Decrypt’s GG. “It has enormous potential for scale that we can use to introduce normies to some of these Web3 ideas like ownership and trading and tokens and things like that.”
He’s betting that one of the key reasons that blockchain games haven’t caught on with a broader audience is that they’re often too complex and targeted at hardcore players, and that the hurdle of navigating crypto tech only makes them even less understandable.
Several investors are likewise betting on Heatherly and Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, which announced the completion of a $3 million seed round Friday alongside the beta launch. Shima Capital led the round, with Sfermion, 32-Bit Ventures, Arca, GSR Markets, Lyrik Ventures, Press Start Capital, and Flying Falcon also participating. Polygon Labs also provided a grant to the studio.
The Mystery Society aims to keep things approachable. Once launched, it will be a fully free-to-play game with optional NFTs. Simple custodial wallets will be provided to hold assets for players who don’t want to deal with self-custody wallets, though those are supported, too.
Over time, the team plans to explore user-generated content, implement a token, and launch something akin to a “battle pass” seen in games like Fortnite—a paid upgrade that lets players unlock additional content. The studio will also release native mobile versions of the game in an attempt to reach sizable audiences on iOS and Android.
Beta players will receive a free NFT mint for participating, and Heatherly said they’ll also be granted five access codes each—to bring pals along for the cartoonish murder mystery.
“Every other Web3 game is trying to acquire users, like a user at a time, right?” he said. “We're really trying to acquire friend groups.”
Edited by Ryan Ozawa.