DFZ Labs—the creative studio behind the Deadfellaz NFT collection on Ethereum and the upcoming RIP TCG digital card game—is entering the Bitcoin Ordinals ecosystem with a collaborative gaming project that it incubated and will help support.
Bits is a collection of 10,000 Bitcoin Ordinals inscriptions resembling the greenish pixel look of Nintendo’s original Game Boy. Ownership of each unique character profile picture (PFP) will provide access to what DFZ Labs calls a “supercharged game development incubator.”
The launch will take place on Magic Eden’s Bitcoin marketplace on February 13. Infrastructure startup OrdinalsBot will assist DFZ Labs with the inscription process for the 10,000 Ordinals assets, while Xverse will be its preferred Bitcoin wallet partner.
Bits is not billed as an internal DFZ initiative spearheaded by the pseudonymous married co-founders. Betty and Psych. Instead, they’re calling it an “independent brand” that DFZ Labs has incubated, which will be led by members of the Deadfellaz community and run as “its own flagship Bitcoin IP.” Betty and Psych will serve as mentors and advisors.
In a press release, DFZ Labs CEO Betty said that some people “might have expected us to just make some new Deadfellaz on BTC to sell” but that they “didn’t see any valid reason to do that.”
Instead, they’re supporting an effort to create something on Bitcoin that’s intended to bring together Ordinals holders, creators, and players into a collaborative framework.
“Building a gaming ecosystem on Bitcoin around Ordinals offers the potential to leverage Bitcoin’s security, stability, and decentralization,” Betty told Decrypt’s GG, “providing indie developers with the financial incentives and opportunities of the Bitcoin ecosystem to create products that gamers actually want to play.”
“This approach fosters innovation, community engagement, and cross-pollination of audiences between independent gaming and Bitcoin communities,” she continued, “flipping the play-to-earn model on its head to instead embrace a system that rewards contributors and lets players play.”
The Bits team will work with contributors to develop a “roguelite” game, a riff on the “roguelike” genre of tough-as-nails role-playing games. Roguelites tend to be less punishing and may mash in elements of various other genres, all while keeping a compelling balance of risk and reward.
The goal is to design a game that Bits owners can help shape and contribute to, and then ultimately release a game that potentially anyone can play on PC and consoles.
Betty described the framework as a “modular” system that lets Bits holders create actual game content that can easily slot in, all while being rewarded for their efforts. After an alpha test version of the game ships, the core Bits team will work to “flesh out” the experience with “fierce enemies, great combat, minigames, bosses, NPCs, rich storytelling, and interesting upgrade systems.”
“It’s within this modular system that there’s magic,” Betty claimed. “It allows the community to participate with the creation of individual small pieces, which, when slotted into the game, enrich the game world and make those contributors part of the game and its success—which is rewarded with a variety of prizes, opportunities, and BTC.”
Ahead of the February 13 launch, DFZ Labs says that a community snapshot has already been taken and that 500 of the Bits inscriptions will be airdropped to “top Deadfellaz collectors and community contributors.”
Betty said that the “speed at which the space moves” is what excites her about the opportunity to enter the Ordinals ecosystem, following a whirlwind year of growth and innovation around Bitcoin’s equivalent of NFTs.
“The innovation and enthusiasm we have seen in just the last year of Ordinals has been nothing short of inspiring,” she explained to Decrypt’s GG. “It’s the concept of taking something and creating something new from it—what else is possible?”
“The talented futurists that continuously build out the infrastructure on BTC inspire us endlessly,” she added, “and we are thrilled to be able to build Bits alongside them, to bring that same innovation to the indie gaming community.”