Bored Apes Take Center Stage in Exclusive ‘Otherside’ Game Test
Discreetly tucked into the CBS backlot in Los Angeles, Yuga Labs—the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT project on Ethereum—showcased a totally new part of the upcoming metaverse world known as Otherside.
“We’ve done a couple of these very big, theatrical trips with thousands of people, and they’re really cool and really exciting—but they’re a lot of work to put together,” Yuga Labs Chief Creative Officer Michael Figge told Decrypt at the exclusive event.
As Figge explained, there are immense technical and player support challenges to building a game world populated by thousands. But at Thursday’s event, Yuga hosted just about 40 NFT owners and superfans to test out a fresh chunk of the Otherside experience, specifically focused on recreating the Bored Ape vibe in the 3D space.
“We wind up testing almost too many things at once,” Figge said of the massive online playtests. “Whereas the feedback we get in one of these sessions, we can cover much more ground. That gets us to the thing that people resonate with faster.”
The darkened soundstage was lit by soft light and a massive “Yuga Labs” backdrop. Smoke filled the room, giving the space even more ambiance, an air of mystery, and a club vibe, complete with food and drinks provided by Ape Water and Bored & Hungry—both brands that utilize the NFT project’s decentralized commercial rights feature.
“We want grand reveals, in one sense, to surprise and delight,” Figge said. “But we also want to ensure that this feels on track with what the community expects.”
Otherside is a metaverse game based on Yuga Labs’ popular Bored Ape profile pictures (PFPs), with NFT-based land plots that will eventually let owners build and co-create in the persistent online world.
In July, the “First Trip” playtest for the Otherside included over 4,000 NFT holders in one shared space. This March, Otherside supported over 7,000 NFT holders in the “Second Trip” experience.
“When we saw Second Trip, we didn’t have the avatars in yet—but we did have a big, theatrical experience with a lot of game loops in it,” Figge said. “Now you’re seeing a lot more features today than we had in Second Trip. You’re seeing more fidelity, and a lot of the stuff that people are familiar with,” he said, calling it an “acceleration since Second Trip.”
Beyond getting a chance to play the game and visit the familiar Bored Ape clubhouse previously shown in artwork and the initial Otherside teaser, what stood out at the event was the pure excitement that many Ape holders showed at seeing a virtual rendering of their NFT avatar.
“It’s my Ape!” one of the guests exclaimed.
That’s a big shift from the previous online playtests, in which the thousands of players all used fairly generic and mostly identical avatars. Those were tech demos, effectively, but now the real essence of the Bored Ape Yacht Club world is starting to show through in Otherside.
“The avatars have always been on our roadmap, but it just makes sense that you would want to build it for the world that we’re going to really pour a lot of our time in,” Figge said. “I think what it does is say: It’s not just a JPEG. It’s a bigger idea that manifests in different ways.”
Yuga Labs plans to roll out playable Otherside avatars of the entire 10,000-character Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, giving holders the option to control their own Ape in the world.
“We’re really pushing our IP, and I’m hoping that the release of the avatars is another leg to push that IP forward,” Figge said.
During the gameplay walkthrough, guests took a guided tour of the Otherside island, and could run, dance, and fly around the virtual playground. Players visited several spots with callbacks to previous Yuga Labs content, including a race car, outhouse, and puzzles throughout the surprisingly expansive landscape.
Many are playing with a 3D version of their BAYC avatar.
This is the first test of the avatars ahead of the official release. pic.twitter.com/yUGqM526BX
— Othersidemeta (@OthersideMeta) July 28, 2023
Ultimately, the demo showed a select group of Bored Ape die-hards that Otherside, as it gradually grows through development and occasionally shows its face in moments like this, is being built to turn the concepts and ideas around the valuable NFT property into an immersive world.
The Apes themselves appear to be the lead characters within it, expectedly—but Figge said that while the Bored Apes took the spotlight at the event, the demo also points to the potential for other projects and creators to concoct their own custom experiences in Otherside.
“This is a place that a lot of people have wanted to go to for a while at the Bored Ape Yacht Club clubhouse,” Figge said. “Being able to manifest that on the platform that we are building is a testament that any community is going to be able to build the worlds that they want.”