Shrapnel releases early access gameplay demo on Epic Games Store

Shrapnel, a high-profile Web3 extraction shooter game, is launching a demo for early access on the PC on the Epic Games Store today.

Seattle-based Neon Machine (known as Shrapnel) has unveiled its early demo of its first-person extraction shooter. The demo is called Shrapnel Training Exercises One (STX1), marking a departure from traditional game development approaches.

Breaking away from the norm, Shrapnel has opted for a community-first strategy, allowing players to engage and shape the game at every stage until its full release in 2025.

Shrapnel environment

STX1 is now available to players globally through the Epic Games Store, which has more than 230 million PC gamers. This early version launch stands in stark contrast to conventional triple-A game release schedules.

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Unlike traditional studios, which keep gameplay and design details under wraps until the finalization of the game, Shrapnel has embraced a transparent approach. The pre-launch community, boasting over 100,000 Discord members and 350,000 followers, has actively shaped the game through continuous feedback and votes on crucial design and story decisions. Players even had their artwork featured in the award-winning cinematic trailer. About 3,000 players have purchased Extraction Packs.

STX1 and future versions aim to foster engagement, testing, and feedback from the Shrapnel community. This collaborative effort will provide valuable insights into player preferences, map popularity, preferred weapons, and playstyles. The data collected will aid in refining and enhancing the game, utilizing the input of the dedicated pre-launch player base.

The release of STX1 introduces playable characters at the maximum progression level, along with three guns, a grenade, and the first special Sigma ability, “Sigma Wave.” Sigma, a mysterious resource in the Shrapnel universe, powers up gear and abilities. As the game progresses through early access stages, players can expect an expansion of characters, weapons, and Sigma abilities.

Shrapnel wants creators to be able to customize every aspect of the game, from characters to weapons and in-game maps. The online leaderboards will track the most skilled players based on the amount of Sigma extracted, offering rewards from Shrapnel’s community rewards pool. Creators can market and trade their creations, fostering a powerful creator ecosystem and providing players with potential income opportunities.

Mark Long, CEO of Shrapnel, said in a statement, “Feedback from our passionate community has been invaluable, shaping the game into what it is today. Our execution of early access gameplay puts players right in the driver’s seat, helping us steer towards a blockbuster-quality triple-A first-person shooter game.”

Set in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world, Shrapnel’s universe extends beyond gaming into comic books and a live-action short film, showcasing its rich lore. Developed by a team of industry veterans with experience in transmedia, virtual production, and blockchain production, Shrapnel’s recent $20 million funding round brings its total funding to $37.5 million.

The company had a highly publicized dispute with one of its venture investors who tried to take over the company. Shrapnel confirms that Long is still CEO and the lawsuit is ongoing.

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