ZED RUN founder envisions user narrative-driven Metaverse

Chris Laurent, the founder of the popular-digital horse racing game ZED RUN, envisions a future where people will spend their free time developing their own unique narratives within the Metaverse. 

This virtual world will contain a mix of gaming, entertainment, and social experiences underneath an overarching storyline, he believes.

“My perception of the metaverse isn’t just a meeting [of people], it’s coming home after work and not turning on Netflix, but seeing what happens to yourself and your friends in some type of storyline that is flexible.”

The ZED RUN founder spoke to Cointelegraph following the launch of its first Metaverse platform, Human Park, on June 13. It features fully-customizable user avatars and an aesthetically pleasing 3D world built using the Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, the same platform used in top gaming titles such as Fortnite and Borderlands.

In an interview on launch day, Laurent and his team at Virtually Human Studio (VHS Labs), including Human Park executive producer Steven Na and Rick Pearce of Spectre Studios, stressed that Human Park was different from other Metaverse projects as it focuses on story-telling rather than just plopping users into a 3D world to roam around aimlessly.

“We are storytellers at heart, so we’re here to empower players to tell their own stories. In this way, we believe we will be transforming the way people engage with and express themselves in this new internet we are all building,” said Pearce, co-founder and creative director of Spectre Studios.

Steven Na told Cointelegraph that they didn’t want to create a platform that white-boxed users into particular gaming experiences.

“We really want to empower users to tell their own story within the metaverse, so we don’t want to be heavy-handed and say like, hey, you’re going to play RPG, and that’s the metaverse, or you’re going to play a sandbox game, and that’s the metaverse.”

Laurent added that the Metaverse will offer “many different types of game experiences, entertainment, and social environments.”

Related: US trademark filing hints at Arizona State University planning classes in the Metaverse

“Much like you would see if you look at something like Roblox or Minecraft or even Fortnite where they’re almost like a social platform,” he added.

When asked whether the vision companies such as Meta and Microsoft have laid out for the Metaverse, such as virtual-reality powered work meetings, or entire businesses run out of the virtual world, will come true, Laurent said he believes anything is possible at this stage.

“[In regards to] the experimentation some of these bigger entities are making, obviously, they’re doing it for a reason, and we can’t ignore that, so our theory is that weird stuff is going to happen in the space.”

The launch of Human Park on June 13 has been accompanied by the drop of its first themed release. Season Zero, a retro-cyberpunk world, will come with limited-time-themed NFT drops. The game is free-to-access, with optional gameplay modes that can be accessed by user-owned NFT avatars and wearables.

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