CCP Games, the developer of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) EVE Online, has announced that it has raised $40 million in financing to expand the EVE universe with a new Web3 game. The funding round was led by Andreessen Horowitz and included participation from BITKRAFT, Nexon, Kingsway Capital, HASHED, and other investors. The initiative, named “Project Awakening,” will see the development of a new AAA title utilizing blockchain technology, set within the EVE universe.

According to CCP, the new game will feature on-chain systems, with a focus on “persistence, composability, and truly open third-party development to create a new relationship between virtual worlds and players.” The game aims to create virtual worlds that are more meaningful than real life, empowering players to engage in new ways.

EVE Online, celebrating its 20th year of existence this year, has a dedicated audience of players who have formed factions within its sci-fi world. The game has yielded an annual convention in Iceland, an array of spinoff games, and even books documenting historical in-game battles between rival crews.

While CCP’s move into Web3 gaming is its first, CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson has long been interested in the potential for blockchain to revolutionize concepts like user ownership and open economies in the gaming world. In 2020, Pétursson noted the complexities around handling crypto, but also saw the potential for a true “killer app” in the future.

CCP Games is not the only major traditional game maker to enter the Web3 world. Companies like Assassin’s Creed publisher Ubisoft and Final Fantasy creator Square Enix have also been experimenting and investing in the space for years.