BAYC, Yuga founders design Otherside metaverse for adults

In an interview with Decrypt, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Yuga Labs co-founders Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano said that they designed their metaverse game, Otherside, with adult audiences in mind.

Solano previously co-authored a book about “World of Warcraft” in 2019, and his style surfaced in Otherside, which he described as a game that looked like a true MMORPRG, with an emphasis on storytelling.

“I think one way of thinking about it is as a semi-decentralized, but absolutely Web3 native, Roblox,” Aronow said. “But obviously much better looking and geared for a slightly more adult audience.”

“We want to tell an amazing story,” Solano said. “You know, about what the fuck these Koda things are, and a strange world that we found ourselves teleported into. And we also want to give the space for people’s creativity to build on top of and enjoy.”

Since Otherside was announced, Yuga’s founders have been busy building their development team. They plan to continue revealing Otherside through multiple “trips,” where certain players can explore sections of the upcoming virtual world. Aronow, known as Gordon Goner on Twitter, said this development process could be considered a game teaser.

“I think we’re doing things in contrast to the way a lot of gaming companies would do things, starting with the iterative development of the game itself,” Aronow said.

“Typically, what you would see is you’d maybe get a teaser, a few months later you get a trailer, three years later, you get a game.”

Developing Otherside

Yuga Labs earned $450 million in its funding round early this year, bringing the startup company to a $4 billion value. The company’s team has started moving quickly with their game development process and recruiting NFT holders as Otherside testers.

Otherside was built through a collaboration between Improbable and Animoca Brands. Andre Beganski from Decrypt wrote that Otherside focused on digital communities and ownership opportunities afforded by blockchain technology, along with its digital plot of land and native currency, ApeCoin, which can be traded like any other cryptocurrency.

While Aronow said that “every AAA gaming studio” had a group of dedicated people who develop blockchain games, he didn’t think everyone who worked in the virtual world could develop it properly.

Although Otherside uses NFT assets in their metaverse game, Aronow said they didn’t intend to make it a “walled garden” and promised that Otherside would be different. In addition to creativity, Aronow also said the team cared about the community and everyone would be included.

“The idea of a metaverse that’s like a walled garden that’s just built for you and you’re just gonna get the features that we give you over time—that’s just like another Web2 MMORPG,” Aronow said.

Solano said he kept the original spirit of the BAYC and wanted to demonstrate that Yuga could do so much with its Web3 funding. When asked if Yuga Labs had started becoming a gaming company, Aronow said they prioritized creativity first, while Solano considered Yuga to be more like a tech company focused on storytelling.

“While we’re this tech company, in a way, this blockchain company, what we really are is more like a lifestyle brand, or a storytelling company,” Solano said.