Neon Machine raises $20M Series A for blockchain-based Call of Duty competitor ‘Shrapnel’


Web3 gaming developer Neon Machine raised $20 million in series A funding toward the development of its highly-anticipated extraction shooter “Shrapnel.” 

This round follows a $10.5 million seed round completed in June of 2021. It was led by Polychain Capital and included funding from Griffin Gaming Partners, Brevan Howard Digital, Franklin Templeton, IOSG Ventures, and Tess Ventures.

Shrapnel is an ambitious gaming project touted by Neon Machine as a “AAA game” — a non-standard designation used to indicate a video game with top-tier production value, budgeting, and marketing.

According to gameplay footage shown on Neon Machine’s YouTube page and documentation on the game’s website, Shrapnel is a first-person perspective shooter (FPS) featuring multiplayer components. Competition in the game — which currently has yet to enter pre-alpha testing — will purportedly come in the form of “extraction” mechanics requiring the player to escape with any loot they find in game in order to retain those items.

Early gameplay videos show what appears to be a gameplay loop consistent with Call of Duty: Warzone, a popular free-to-play extraction shooter developed by Microsoft’s Activision-Blizzard-King studios.

What separates Shrapnel from similar AAA competition is its reliance on Web3 and blockchain. While other games, such as The Division 2 have mechanics in place where players can “extract” valuable items in order to apply them to their character and profiles, the assets in Shrapnel are connected to the blockchain.

According to the studio, this allows the players full ownership over the assets.

Related: Shrapnel Web3 shooter won’t let US users cash out, thanks to Gensler

Shrapnel will also feature a modding toolset that, theoretically, could allow players or developers to insert other blockchain assets into the game world for players to interact with. This could, hypothetically, create an intriguing scenario for both seasonal competition and tournament play.

The game is slated for early-access testing for paid subscribers in December, according to a press release from Neon Machine. Once the initial evaluation period ends the company intends to launch the game as a free-to-play title “sometime” in 2024.

Beyond the development and launch of Shrapnel, Neon Machine has also said that it intends to eventually license its Web3 developer’s API platform, GameBridge, after the launch.