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Meet the Team: Chris Clay





Greetings Mortals, it’s been a while but we’re back with another instalment of Meet the Team! We present to you a virtual fireside chat with Game Director Chris Clay, talking about how he got into web3 gaming, what he’s most excited about on the new Gods Unchained Roadmap, and what his long-term vision is for the game.

We hope you enjoy it.

Hi Clay, thanks for taking the time. Let’s start off with this question: Which game changed your life?

Oh man… The game that changed my life would be the original Quake. I had a rowing accident in college that left me unable to do much except sit at the computer. During that time I played a ton of a mod called Quake Thunderwalker and I was absolutely dominant on servers and in competitive matches at the time. I also started building levels and working with the modding team for Quake.

This eventually led to my first job offer in the gaming industry, and made me realize that I could actually make a career out of making games. So, I dropped out of my microbiology course and pursued a path towards a gaming career. So that injury, and Quake definitely led me down a completely different path in life.

Wow, Quake literally did change the whole trajectory of your career then! So, how did you get into web3 gaming?

I had been working as a game director at Magic: The Gathering Arena. After a couple years there I was open to the next challenge. Robbie (Ferguson, Immutable president) reached out to me, mentioning they were working on a new game called Gods Unchained. Web3 gaming intrigued me, but I was initially unfamiliar with it.

After speaking with Robbie and James (Ferguson, Immutable CEO), who balanced each other's strengths well, I saw so much potential. That's when I flew to Australia to spend time with the small team, which was only 15 people at the time. After that I flew back to the States to convince my family that “we're gonna go do this crazy thing in Australia, trust me on this one” and the rest is history. 

It’s been almost four years since then, and the combination of my gaming knowledge and their web3 knowledge has made it a great collaboration.

When did web3 gaming “click” for you?

The moment when web3 gaming really clicked for me was when I had a conversation with Immutable CTO Alex Connolly during my first visit to Australia to meet the team. By then, I had created a wallet, bought my first ETH and Gods Unchained cards. 

But talking to Alex helped me fully grasp the true potential of web3 in building complex ecosystems beyond what traditional, centralized gaming could achieve. It resonated with my background in modding and the work done outside of game companies to expand gaming experiences. The concept of creating an ecosystem where people can directly benefit from their contributions and creativity, alongside the growth of the game itself, was incredibly appealing to me. 

That insight really clicked when I found out that the site GU Decks was made by the community, but I actually thought it was made by the Gods Unchained team. When they told me that I was like “What??” The branding was spot-on, with deep analyses on game meta, decks and card data. Seeing the community build amazing websites like that and GU Stakes and sharing in our growth through our referral program really excited me about the possibilities of web3 gaming. 

What’s the biggest challenge of building a web3 game compared to web2 games?

One of the differences is the lack of a rollback option. In web2, if something went wrong, you always have the rollback as fallback. At Magic the Gathering: Arena, we’d rollback the systems even after 48 hours in some cases. That’s just not possible in web3 game development. 

My background in traditional trading card games really helps guide our approach in terms of building a card games possibility space and the systems around it, but we also have to adapt and navigate the unique aspects of the web3 space and its rapid pace of evolution.

And with GU we have a pretty extensive roadmap of things we’re building and going to build. The trick is executing on it, which in some ways has turned out to be harder than in the web2 space. But we’ve come a long way and we’re confident that we can deliver and are excited about what’s to come. 

What excites you most on the roadmap for Gods Unchained?

Oh, the Sealed Game Mode! This game mode brings a different dynamic to the card game ecosystem and is great for onboarding new players. Right now, if you want to build out your collection, the way to do that is to buy packs or buy cards off of the marketplace. 

With Sealed game mode you can take that collection building aspect and make it into an experience itself. Building your collection through limited events is a time-honored methodology in the card game space, as you open packs of cards to build your limited pool of cards, build the best deck you can, and pilot it to maximize rewards.

This adds a fun experience, especially for players who may not have all the resources to build a perfectly constructed deck. It’s an enjoyable way to build your collection, and I believe it will be a valuable addition to Gods Unchained.

What games do you play in your free time?

Everything. I play everything. When I'm playing with my kids, I play a lot of survival games, such as 7 Days to Die, Valheim, Stardew Valley. I tend to focus these days more on cooperative building games. And back in the day I played a lot of first person shooters, but as you age your reaction time slows down, so I can’t keep up with the kids anymore.

What is your favorite Gods Unchained card?

Oof, how do you pick your favorite kid? But if I had to, it would be Thaeriel, the Fallen. It was a really interesting experience to craft the art, the lore, and the mechanics of the card itself. It’s one of the most memorable card development experiences for me.

What is your favorite Band of the Wolf character?

That has to be Eiko!

Players really loved the lore from the Band of the Wolf set, can you go into how the lore ties into the game?

During the Genesis and Core set development the lore was loosely based on Greco-Roman mythology with little bits of other pantheons included. And what we've been doing since then is adding more cohesion to the overall world-building and narrative. Particularly since Light’s Verdict, we've really been doubling down on the rules of world-building. 

Crafting lore with care allows players to see it in all the little elements. It allows us to tease things and turns it into a more engaging experience, like we did with the Raneko village channel in Discord. And while we still see untapped potential in this area, we have already glimpsed how lore can enhance the value and significance of certain cards, like with Thaeriel, the Fallen, for example.

Where do you see Gods Unchained going over the next few years?

Gods Unchained has been through many eras over the last four years and the vision for this next stretch is executing on some things that we've been aiming to execute on for quite a while. This era isn't defined by trying things that have never been done before, but it will deliver on a lot of the core fundamentals that make a card game really shine. We want to deliver a top-notch pack opening experience, introduce Sealed and other exciting game modes, launch mobile, and provide tools that allow us to mutate the meta and explore new possibilities. 

The world of Gods Unchained is going to continue to grow and enrich. That's a journey that I'm really excited to take the players on. Narrative and lore alone don't make a game. But when it really works, it's something that can connect you to the greater world beyond just the cards that you're playing. That emotional attachment changes a game from something that you just enjoy, to something that you love, and that sticks with you through the ages.