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Balthazar Research Report: The Chronicles of SkyArk

Written by Nicholas Korsgård, Chief Gaming Officer, Kim Bjerkeli and Sigurd Thomassen, Game Strategists, Balthazar Alpha Team, and Heidi Anette Laugsand Johansen

Introduction

If your favorite animation studio were to embark on a gaming adventure, SkyArk Chronicles might just be the result they would end up with. In the following research report, the Alpha team will be looking into the Free-to-play and Play-To-Earn Japanese Role-Playing-Game, SkyArk Chronicles. Based on the roadmap, full launch is expected to be in Q3 2022, with NFT sales starting in Q2 2022.

The SkyArk Chronicles is not a single project but a Trilogy of metaverses – 2 GameFi (“House of Heroes” and “Legends Arise”) and 1 SocialFi (“Mirrorverse”). To be frank, this is an extreme undertaking, and by looking at their available information, we’re afraid that the epic chronicles  we long for might be further in the future. 

In our report, we will be looking at the backstory, lore, and characters of this game. We will be diving into the NFT assets, the official website, blockchain, investors, and more. If you are on the hunt to find the next fantasy anime-style RPG game, get comfortable, and we’ll tell you the story of the SkyArk Chronicles through our research report.

Background


SkyArk Chronicles is a fantasy Japanese Role-Playing Game (JRPG) with NFT implementation developed by SkyArk Studio. SkyArkStudio is Singapore-based and the first blockchain studio incubated by Binance in Singapore.

The game comes in three parts of a trilogy, where two of them are focused on GameFi, and one on SocialFi. The chapters of GameFi are called “House of Heroes” and “Legends Arise.” Whereas the SocialFi module is called “Mirrorverse.”

Using a proprietary NFT game engine, SkyArk will ensure the NFTs in the game(s) are interoperable and can be edited and evolved across the chapters.

Sourced from https://www.skyarkchronicles.com/

House of Heroes

The story behind the first chapter of this chronicle is House of Heroes. The god of creation, Satoshi Nakamoto, created the SkyArkVerse. SkyArkVerse is a safe haven for all sentient life in the Metaverse. Most intelligent life has found refuge there when their homelands have been under siege by the Dark Forces invading the Metaverse’s non-corrupted areas. 

Alongside the king Satoshi Nakamoto, you, as a member of the House of Heroes, are responsible for repelling all threats invading SkyLands, a part of the SkyArkVerse.

Legends Arise

The second chapter of the chronicle is Legends Arise. This tale is set in a time when Satoshi Nakamoto mysteriously disappeared from the SkyArkVerse. Unfortunately, nobody was prepared for his absence, and nobody knows why he vanished without notice after fighting alongside the House of Heroes for the past decade. 

Within Legends Arise, you are one of many unique born into this time. Your purpose is to save the world from hordes of hellish creatures under the command of the Dark Commander. You, as a legend, are sworn to fight anything thrown at your homeworld.

Mirrorverse

Following the chapter of Legends Arise, we get the finale of the chronicle, the Mirrorverse. Having beaten the dark forces of Legends Arise and once again brought peace to the SkyArkVerse, you now enter the Mirroverse. 

Here the Heroes and Legends of the old will have to rebuild their lands following the aftermath of the war. As a community, and with the blessings of Satoshi Nakamoto, the citizens of SkyArkVerse will build back better than what once was.

Photo borrowed from https://scontent.fosl3-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t39.30808-6/277673630_149002577602641_1345170602569179379_n.jpg?_nc_cat=102&ccb=1-5&_nc_sid=730e14&_nc_ohc=cei1WtNxOzwAX-9gv-c&_nc_ht=scontent.fosl3-1.fna&oh=00_AT9kpSI67iWGat8JKANyGNU9dTbeciG8eppene4Cytdfhw&oe=626EEE2E

Sky Heroes

Within the game(s), you can play as five different classes initially.

  • Warrior: Uses strong armor and weapons to protect allies from hostile forces.
  • Magician: Uses powerful offensive magic spell affecting large areas of effect.
  • Acolyte: Supports allies with healing and buffs in their selfless devotion to helping others.
  • Thief: Uses stealth and the opportunity to strike enemies with deadly blades while dodging enemy attacks.
  • Archer: Uses bow and arrows for long-range attacks.

These are the tier 1 classes. However, new tiers will be released as the game development progresses. We can expect to see tiers up to level 5. From what we can find, the next tier within the class tree will be:

  • Knight
  • Wizard
  • Priest
  • Rogue
  • Hunter

What these classes will entail remains to be seen, but there will be progression within the class hierarchy.

Classes

All pictures from https://www.skyarkchronicles.com/

Story Adventure

Within the chronicle chapters, you will be able to play the story adventure. This is the PvE part of the game, where you follow the story in a classical battle adventure like we’ve come to know from old school titles such as Adventure Quest.

Through the storyline, you will discover the original story of Satoshi Nakamoto in the World of Fantasyverse and the reason behind his plan.

NFT Game Assets


As hinted earlier in our article, the NFTs in SkyArk Chronicles will be interoperable and subject to evolution across the different chapters or games in the chronicle. With having every story built on the same proprietary game engine, the team in SkyArk Studio would be able to adapt each game to the NFTs.

The first NFT sale will happen on Binance and is set to go live sometime in Q2 2022.

To play the game, you don’t need to buy any NFTs, as there is a free-to-play aspect to the game. In addition, when starting the game, all players will be granted a hero, which players can use to progress through the story. However, by opting in on buying an NFT hero, you access more of the play and earn features of the game.

There will also be land NFTs called SkyLand. These are floating islands on which players can build their unique fantasy castle worlds. Each of these land plots comes in different sizes, with limitations on which type of buildings a player can make there. Players might also stumble upon special rewards on their land plots.

Picture borrowed from https://scontent.fosl3-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t39.30808-6/275085038_141001761736056_4416817908671524192_n.png?_nc_cat=101&ccb=1-5&_nc_sid=730e14&_nc_ohc=Ih2qE3enZ-IAX8ybZfG&_nc_ht=scontent.fosl3-2.fna&oh=00_AT-rC9gts_dWdc7e70aVBKMnTmI7IIFNuyGbOLL3UQqOGg&oe=626E2625

Finally, the Guild “Airship” NFT is for those planning to start a guild within the ecosystem. With the “Airship,” guild leaders can recruit members to the guild, contributing to the alliance as members complete missions and participate in events.

For now, the currency needed to get hold of any of these NFTs whenever they drop is Binance’s BNB. Eventually, SkyArk will launch its tokens SAR and REO, but those aren’t launched yet.

SkyArk Chronicles Website


We compared SkyArk Chronicles’ desktop version of its website to its mobile site to see how it measures up and if there were any changes that SkyArk could make to the site to improve it. Follow along to see our verdict. In this testing, we used a Samsung Galaxy S10+.

Screenshot borrowed from https://www.skyarkchronicles.com/

Desktop

We were exposed to a colorful landscape view when opening the website, including the SkyHeroes. We did notice that the loading of this specific website was somewhat slow. However, the website seemed clear and well structured, with prominent sections. 

There was a menu at the top. The homepage shows news, videos, and article links first. There is a trailers section and a SkyArk Chronicles Section. The chronicle section covers information on each project. As you scroll down, you see an introduction to the SkyHeroes. Then you have game features with buttons that you can click on, such as adventure, storyline, guild system, and land system. Each of those sheds some light on the features. Further below, you find the roadmap, team and advisors’ list, and lastly, the list of investors and partners.

All in all, the website would leave the user somewhat informed after having a look and deep-diving into the different sections. To be honest, we would expect more information and at least some information about the whitepaper launch. 

In previous testings, we have often been blown away by the fancy effects, only to discover later that the result had a negative outcome on the mobile site or that it made the scrolling time-consuming because of videos or other added effects. SkyArk Chronicles has kept the effects on the down low and focused on displaying links, trailers, and some information instead, although we would be happy to see more of the info part. 

We would also like to include the ‘…..’ option in the menu, where the user could have a listen to the soundtrack of the game. Honestly, it’s a nice tune! The music takes us back to games like Final Fantasy, Zelda, Trials of mana, and huge open-world RPGs in general. Music is a key factor in making players return and motivating them to keep playing the game. The tune feels adventurous and fun, and we definitely think that it would make a player want to come back for more.

When we scrolled the website and clicked through the different options, it gave a good impression initially. However, digging deeper, we still feel we’re missing a lot of information about what the game is about and how they’re building it out. As there is no whitepaper (as we’ve come to expect from GameFi projects) or informational document detailing the game publicly available, we have to use the website as the primary source of information. In these regards, it does a lousy job. 

We would love to read more about the different games in this chronicle and get some deeper knowledge about what they’ll be about and what we can expect. Currently, the information on the website is incoherent and feels rushed. Are there really three different projects? If so, what differentiates them from others, except for the storyline?

Looking at the promo videos, we get a slight image of what we can expect from the gameplay itself.t’s something that brought us back to Adventure Quest from our childhood. The art style was also very likable, and we enjoyed the landscape design. Browsing the different classes, we see the chibi version of the heroes, which seems to be used as the in-game avatars for players.

The SkyArk Studio team has a clear roadmap on the website with a nifty little sliding function to browse horizontally. We’re also happy to see that SkyArk Chronicles promoted their social media platforms in the menu, which would be easy to discover by visitors.

Screenshot borrowed from https://www.skyarkchronicles.com/

Phone Usability

The mobile site loaded slowly, just as it did for the desktop. The website’s menu could be opened by clicking, which differs from the desktop version. Besides this difference, the menu is user-friendly and includes the game’s social media platforms, NFTs, marketplace, news, FAQs, and contacts, just like the desktop version. 

However, the background display is cropped, making the background less appealing as mobile users can’t see the complete background visuals. When looking into the news, videos, and article links, the user would have to slide to see more. We were happy to see that this had been made evident because of the three option bars below the sections. 

Option bars were a common theme throughout the website, which we appreciate and add to the usability factor. The effects added to the desktop version had been added nicely to the mobile site as well. For instance, the floating mountains, auto-scroll on the game features, and the gradient effects that were used to introduce the user to the team, advisors, and backers. 

The overall view while exploring the mobile site was decent. We would have liked to see the cropped artwork edited to fit better for the mobile version so that the layout feels more natural.

Verdict

We would rate the user-friendliness on this website high, and again this website proves that a simple website is often better than a blinged one covered with special effects, gifs, and film clips. The information was easily presented to the user, although its content is questionable. We would be happy to see more information about this game displayed on their website. 

Their social media platforms were also easy to find. The artwork is likable, and even though the website is quite simple, the creators still added some effects which caught our attention. The floating mountains and auto-scroll felt like the natural aspects of this website and worked great on both desktop and mobile. Whenever the user had to continue to see more, the website’s creators always managed to get the point across. 

However, we still have some critiques for the SkyArk Chronicles website. The website’s loading was slow when using both a desktop and mobile device, and the main picture had been badly cropped when testing on the mobile site.

Overall, we appreciate the balanced website, but we can’t help but feel like something is missing. For instance, some more information about these three chronicles, the whitepaper, and what we can expect for this game-to-be.

Blockchain


What Chain Does The Game Run On?

SkyArk Chronicles will be launched on Binance Smart Chain (BSC). However, the SkyArk team also says there are plans to accommodate a multi-chain solution down the line.

BSC runs in parallel with Binance Chain (BC), which, unlike BSC, doesn’t have smart contracts and other nifty features. BC was purposely built for fast decentralized trading and had to sacrifice features like smart contracts to avoid possible congestion.

On the other hand, BSC was constructed to deal with more varied tasks and is better suited to handle smart contracts and what we see in NFTs today. BSC is also EVM compatible, which means many of the dApps built for the Ethereum blockchain are easily ported to BSC.

BSC runs a Proof of Staked Authority (PoSA) consensus algorithm, a form of Proof of Stake. To participate in the BSC consensus, you have to stake BNB, the token in the ecosystem, to become a validator. Then, if the validator proposes a valid block, they are rewarded with the transaction fees from the transactions within.

Cross-chain compatibility is also enabled on BSC through the BEP-20 token standard, which is a counterpart to ERC-20 on Ethereum. BSC can then swap tokens with BCs BEP-2 and BEP-8 tokens.

Finally, BSC has a suite of DeFi products allowing assets from several different chains to be used through BSC’s growing DeFi suite.

Having Binance as one of the main backers, the choice of BSC is an obvious one. Binance also provides an NFT marketplace and launchpad for gaming NFTs.

Team


Who is on the team?

  • Jonathan Zhang – Co-Founder/CEO
  • Kelvin Chua – Co-Founder/COO (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelvin-chua-8b751a8b/)
    • Co-Founder (Jan 2018 – present) at Dakota Ventures.
  • Jay Too – Co-Founder/CSO (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jay-too-481599132/)
  • JJ – CTO
  • West Lin – Game Director
  • Ting Lin Yeh – Technical Director
  • Teo Sing Nee – Senior Producer
  • Daniel Fu – Game Producer
  • Ryan Tong – Producer
  • Lee Chee Min – Creative Director
  • Tan Hu Thye – Art Director
  • Benson Leong – Art Director
  • Dodo Yang – Art Director
  • Walter Wang – Sr Blockchain Engineer
  • Cheng Lei Chou – Blockchain Web Developer (https://www.linkedin.com/in/cheng-lei/)
  • Hikaha Shen – Client Engineer
  • Jack Chou – Server Engineer
  • Yoyo Fung – Game Designer
  • Leosun Liu – Game Designer
  • Max Chan – 3D Supervisor
  • Tan Wey Zhen – 3D Supervisor
  • Aaron Seto – UI Artist
  • Jiunn Tan – 2D Artist
  • Red Joystick – 2D Artist
  • Ecien Chen – 2D Artist
  • Tzu Po Chao – 2D Animator
  • Antilous Chao – Environment Artist
  • Ryan Teo – Community/Marketing
  • Peter Choon – Business Development
  • Danny Xu – Strategic Finance
  • Eugene Chew – Activations

Team Assessment

We have to start by prefacing this part with the fact that finding information on the members of Skyark Studios was hard.

Their website lists 30 team members with a clear definition of their roles. LinkedIn states that the team consists of 201-500 employees, whereas only three are available on LinkedIn, which we find hard to believe. We also couldn’t find any articles, Twitter associations, or other sources that could’ve helped us find anything specific about their team members and experience.

We also haven’t found any job announcements listed anywhere either.

Given how little information there was for us to find, we cannot go any further in detail on their team and will have to see what they can achieve going forwards.

Who Are Their Backers?

Roadmap


Game Developers Roadmap

Guild Facilitation


Some facilitation is made for guilds through the “Airship” NFT. However, there is little information about any of this for now.

Whitepaper


SkyArk Chronicles does not currently have a publicly available whitepaper, as far as we know. We have often seen that games without whitepaper have set a date in the roadmap for a release, but as far as we can see, this isn’t the case for the game SkyArk Chronicles.

Socialnomics


Social Media Followers Count

PlatformFollower Count
Discord7,403
Twitter39,000
Telegram23,145
Facebook60,000

As for the socialnomics of the game, SkyArk Chronicles’ Facebook page has, within only a few hours, gained over 1,000 new followers, which almost seems to be too good to be true.

Although we notice that they have had a giveaway on Twitter, it doesn’t explain the sudden following on Facebook. 

Twitter, Telegram, and Discord have grown by 30-300, which seems more realistic. The creators seem to be giving weekly to daily updates on Twitter and retweeting them on their Discord server, which is expected. In addition, they have a “sneak-peak” channel, where they showcase updates on the SkyHero eye series. The Discord server seems to be active, considering that there are 7,400 members.

Speculation And Connecting The Dots


SkyArk Chronicles doesn’t give us much information in general, so that leaves almost everything to speculation. Instead, we got a superficial description of the narrative to work with, and because the lore and storytelling are core to JRPG games, we would love to know a bit more about this universe and its characters. 

What we expect as essential information for a game looking to enter the GameFi space is details about the actual economics of the game and how the NFTs play a role in this. If the plan is to release two separate tokens, one for governance, we assume, and the other for in-game currency, we need to know the plans for distribution and mechanisms to control the economy like burn mechanics and recycling. Will it be uncapped and prone to inflation, etc.?

How will the team make this a multiplayer thing? We got the guild aspect and contribution of guild members in missions and events, but are these single-player happenings set in a multiplayer metaverse? 

Looking into this game, we’re left with more questions than answers, and although SkyArk is early in its development (like most other P2E games), they’re set to launch alpha testing this quarter. However, the team hasn’t kept a lid on this project either. And for a project to have gone “public,” we expect more information alongside it. The least they could do is publish a whitepaper with the essential details, like almost every GameFi project.

With a team of over 30 people and from a game studio claiming to be of AAA quality, we expected a lot more than what we can currently see. To break into the JRPG scene and be able to compete, the story has to be kick-ass, and it might be. However, we don’t know. And for this kind of game, why go for NFTs? 

We understand that the novelty of the web3 space, and the allure of implementing NFTs and doing pre-sales is an excellent way for developers to de-risk by attracting outside capital for development. Still, to us, this whole economy doesn’t seem like a thoroughly thought system. NFTs aside, why will they release two tokens while still using BNB as the marketplace currency? Is this some transitional compromise while going towards a DAO structure? If they’re already an established AAA game studio, do they even need a governance token? What keeps traditional game studios from creating NFT games? Every project doesn’t have to go the DAO route, and frankly, barely any GameFi project out there currently works as a DAO.

We do hope there’s more to this game than what the platform currently shows. And for this game to be able to succeed, they have to step up their information game. In the JRPG genre, they’ll have to compete against the titles such as Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and the likes.

Hopefully, this critique isn’t taken too personally, as we don’t mean to be harsh for the sake of it. However, this project has caught our attention, which means that other people are looking into it, both investors and gamers. 

Unfortunately, in our opinion, SkyArk Chronicle’s publicly available information is severely lacking in many aspects, as we’ve already covered. And we hope this critique finds the SkyArk team and will inspire some more openness and details regarding what could be a good, worthwhile project.

Graphical Praise

We thoroughly enjoy the level of detail given to this project and want to give credit where it’s due. The artwork and graphics we’ve seen are high-quality compared to AAA titles or anime studios.

We can only hope that this artwork is seen throughout the game itself. Great work to Skyark Studios here!

Conclusion


The SkyArk studio claims to be of AAA quality, but for a game studio of a rank like that, we would expect a lot more information, especially considering that this game has gone public. They even appear to have a Facebook page of over 37,500 followers, 24,600 Twitter followers, and 20,700 telegram followers.

Although the art and music are of a top-level Anime Studio, we aren’t convinced about this one yet. There is simply too little information and too many questions. How will this game work precisely? How are they planning to release their tokens? Why are they choosing NFTs for their project? 

In addition, the storyline is somewhat vague and confusing. As we mentioned in our introduction, the epic chronicles which we long for are just not here yet. For our confidence to increase we would need at least a proper whitepaper and information about how the game’s economy will be distributed, handled, and made safe for inflation for the players involved.

The founders seem to have relevant experience, but it only dates back to 2014/2016. Although these founders seem to be young and inspired creators, we hope they have what it takes to create the SkyArk Chronicles that future gamers will enjoy and play.

As for the ending, with the amount of information and no whitepaper, it is difficult to judge whether or not this game will be a hit like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. We suppose time will tell for this game. Our final verdict of the game will have to await further information and specifics, which we are eager to go through, but based on the current state, SkyArk Chronicles does not have our vote of confidence.

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