Shrapnel, a widely anticipated first-person shooter built around NFTs and a crypto token on Avalanche, announced Friday that it has launched early access to the PC game via the prominent Epic Games Store marketplace.
However, this early access version—called Shrapnel Training Exercises One, or STX1—is only available to people who have purchased one of the game’s Extraction Pack access keys. Shrapnel will offer up a series of three-day play windows lasting about eight hours per day.
Shrapnel held a session for press and influencers on Friday following the announcement, and will hold the next three-day STX1 session from Thursday, February 8 to Saturday, February 10 with $100,000 worth of SHRAP tokens available as prizes.
According to the game studio Neon, about 3,000 people have already purchased the keys, which range in price between $20 and $100 based on the included features and perks.
Ultimately, Shrapnel will launch as a fully-fledged free-to-play game in 2025. But this initial early access taste, which was previously expected to be released in December, is meant to get supporters in the mix and allow them to provide feedback along the way. Players can also earn rewards from a community pool.
“Throughout the inception and development of Shrapnel, feedback from our passionate community has always been invaluable, shaping the game into what it is today,” CEO Mark Long said in a statement. “We had a dream of breaking the mold of traditional game development, and our execution of early access gameplay puts players right in the driver’s seat, helping us steer towards a blockbuster-quality AAA first-person shooter game.”
“This is both scary and exciting,” he continued, “but with our community behind us as we progress through the different stages of the Shrapnel Training Exercises, we’ll continue to deliver on our promise to listen [to], reward, and empower players and creators.”
Neon announced a $20 million Series A funding round in October. Shrapnel’s early access launch comes following word in November that six company founders at Neon had filed suit against the studio’s majority shareholder, alleging a coup that has caused “serious harm” to the company.
Edited by Ryan Ozawa.
Editor’s note: This story was updated after publication to clarify play session dates and that the Extraction Pack keys are not NFTs.