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Metaverse Noir – How Short Stories Could Inform NFT Projects

Ryan Cowdrey
2 min read
Metaverse Noir – How Short Stories Could Inform NFT Projects

Storytelling is a major part of creating buy-in for new NFT projects, whether you’re dropping a 10,000 character PFP project, a play-to-earn game, or a collection of 1/1 art pieces. Great storytellers are an essential element of the current NFT explosion. However, we haven’t necessarily seen writing-focused NFT projects take off.

What is Metaverse Noir?

Kathryn Yu is a rising star in creating immersive experiences. And one of her recent projects called Metaverse Noir really caught my attention.

Metaverse Noir is a branching narrative short story released through a series of choose-your-own-adventure Twitter threads. It follows a detective (you) in a place called New Mesh City, decades in the future, and it’s your job to solve the murder of the mayor by choosing what detective leads to take.

That’s all I can tell you because to try and describe the experience any further would ruin the nature of it.

But I will tell you that the format is really engaging. We’re so accustomed to reading Twitter threads, in lieu of turning pages on a book. And even though Kathryn released it for a school project, I could see the style she’s created catching on for other short storytellers (and eventually as an on-ramp for NFT projects).

It’s become quite common for NFT projects to hype people up for their future via great storytelling.

For instance, Parallel created this entire fictional universe for their card game – using their wordplay to create interest in a game that won’t exist for months.

Loot (For Adventurers) released the building blocks of Dungeons-And-Dragons-esque NFT game – giving NFT buyers the liberty to create their own adventures.

But can this process work in reverse, where short stories or writing contests are the starting point – and the most engaging stories attract other creators to build an NFT project that brings the story to life?

Short-Stories Manifesting NFTs

Clearly there is some interest around Kathryn’s fictional New Mesh City universe. Let’s say that she continues to write and build out her universe of characters. As she builds an audience for this work, she will create a connection between reader and the story’s characters. People will buy into the detectives, the recurring side characters, etc…

Why not mint the characters as NFTs, releasing the “rights” to their likeness, and essentially open-source all the future chapters of New Mesh City to other writers?

In a sense, it would be a mix between a PFP project and a writing DAO.

Now, this is all in theory. But I think it’s an interesting path for storytellers to take. Especially when you look at existing writing communities – such as r/WritingPrompts – where there are dozens, sometimes hundreds, of writers who respond to a given writing prompt.

The idea of the metaverse – a shared virtual space with social and economic opportunities – which everyone seems to be name-dropping and building toward needs stories. It’s the basis of creating engaging environments and games. The metaverse needs storytellers. And NFTs are the on-ramp to building communities that will one day convene in the metaverse.

P.S. For further reading, Melinda Crow has an interesting perspective on Writers-meets-NFTs. So does Walker Caplan.