What if we could live our dreams of summoning beasts from trading cards and watching them fight, Yu-Gi-Oh! Style? Well, it turns out this just might become something you see very, very soon.
A couple of dudes just fresh out of high school decided to take that dream and take it a step further, and created Genesis: the world’s first augmented reality trading card game.
From the ashes of eternal chaos, a Great Harmony of light began, formed of the three Celestial beings – Orios (the Hands of Creation), Kromora (the Eyes of Fate) and Gaia (the Blood of Life). These great beings sacrificed themselves, creating the flow of time, the expanse of space, the very core of creation; life was born. Genesis was created. — Genesis lore
Long Roos and Ryan Neale managed to raise their goal of $22,725 in just 6 days on Kickstarter (click to check it out) via an aggressive social media campaign and sheer initial interest in this project. To be honest, with the success of Pokémon Go in it’s first month of release, it seems a no-brainer to utilize Augmented Reality in newer, better ways. These two young devs both believe that AR is the key to next-gen mobile gaming, and they might be on to something…
Not Your Daddy’s TCG
If you’ve ever played TCGs like Yu-Gi-Oh! as a kid (or even last week, we aren’t here to judge), then you probably at some point found yourself imagining battling with giant holograms, watching your card art avatars duking it out in real-time–just like in the anime. While you don’t get giant holograms with Genesis, you DO get the avatars in real-time… sorta.
Genesis turns your tabletop into an AR arena. It almost doesn’t seem accurate to call it a TCG because in reality it’s more of a fighting game using trading cards as “anchors” for characters you control. That’s right; you control the characters manually. This isn’t actually like YGO in the sense that monsters pop out and do crap for you in a turn-based fashion. Think more Mortal Kombat. You manually move your avatars and then choose from a small handful of abilities that they can use on opponents. It isn’t which character you use that determines if you win, but more how well you can use them against your opponent’s.
So far, the game only has two game modes and five characters. It promises more of both, however, as the backers flock to the campaign and the game reaches social media milestones. Some of the characters range from Osirus, a futuristic sheriff, to Tyran, a volcanic T-Rex. Characters have very unique abilities that only they can do, such as Osirus having a shotgun like attack and the ability to dodge roll, and Tyran having a flame breath attack and a charge attack. They all feel really varied, and use different styles to fight.
Right now, backers don’t actually have physical cards to use for the game. Instead, the startup has opted to have their customers print-out cards which they can then activate once they pledge to the campaign. Actual trading cards are planned to be released when the company hits the 200k mark, which is not an unrealistic goal it would seem. The game has gone viral on various social media and has broken their initial goal for a month in less than a week.
What Could It Mean For AR in Gaming?
Now that you have the skinny on what the hell Genesis is, the real question becomes whether or not this is the next step for the Augmented Reality trend. We all have been seeing the massive scale deflation in interest in regards to Pokémon GO. It could be, however, because that game really doesn’t offer much in terms of gameplay and doesn’t do enough to hold interest in the fanbase.
However, Genesis seems to have more visceral idea for how to apply AR to a game. The idea of using a TCG–something that changes often and offers a variety of game “types” to partake in– is a genius one. It offers a solution to the problem with current AR gaming where the novelty of seeing sprites in your bedroom grows stale in light of there really being nothing to do with them.
I think the idea of taking sprites and making them interactive (you control them in a fight) is miles beyond what Niantic is doing with Go, and Genesis is probably heading in a better direction. If they can continue their momentum and really launch the game as a physical TCG, while adding more and more game types for multiplayer (one of them proposed is a 8-man battle royale!), I think this might be the real way AR can blossom in the gaming culture.
All this, of course, should probably be swallowed with a good deal of salt. Let’s not forget this is a Kickstarter campaign, which we all know can crash and burn (looking at you, Mighty No. 9). It’s also a tiny, tiny team led by two teenagers. They have a lot of ambition and this idea is fantastic, but in the end, it might just be another great idea that doesn’t quite take off.
Regardless of whether or not Genesis is the one to do it, AR seems to be extremely applicable to some physical competitive medium like a trading card game. Even if we don’t actually see characters like “Tyran, Bastiosaurus Rex” or “Erebus, Devourer of Light” on tabletops and phone screens in a few months, I really think it’s inevitable we will see something similar blow the concept of AR far past what Pokémon GO has done so far.
It’s just a matter of time.