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GTA 6? Not quite. But this artist's NFT could be the next best thing

Character illustrations by GTA artist Stephen Bliss
(Image credit: Stephen Bliss)

While Rockstar drags its heels on GTA 6, Stephen Bliss, the illustrator behind Grand Theft Auto's iconic art style, is back with an NFT project that promises more of his gritty character designs and a new video game. Welcome to Fear City.

What are NFTS? Non-fungible tokens are the way of registering digital files on a blockchain to create rarity. An NFT crash has led some to discuss what the future of this tech is, with many beginning to prioritise projects such as Fear City that have use. In my interview with Tina Ziegler, she discusses just this.

Over the last 20 years Bliss' art style has become synonymous with GTA, one of the most successful video games ever released. Fear City (opens in new tab) is the artist celebrating two decades of his art and New York, the city he loves. The vision for Bliss' NFT goes beyond his fantastic art, consisting of 9,999 unique avatars, and will include a dedicated soundtrack, an iconic streetwear fashion line and a planned video game.

An illustration of a punk woman holding a record

Gamers and art lovers will recognise Stephen Bliss' illustrations, and you can now own one (Image credit: Stephen Bliss)

Facets of Bliss' Fear City will live virtually on the blockchain and in the metaverse in a planned video game. Owners of this NFT will also be invited to exclusive in real life events and have the opportunity to purchase collectible clothing, both digital and physical.

It's this broader use of the Fear City NFT that catches the eye. You're not just buying into a jpeg of a funny monkey, instead Bliss is planning a whole ecosystem of uses for this non-fungible token, and front-loading the plans. Below you can discover some of the advantages of owning a Fear City NFT.

Fear City NFT: the road map

  • The 9,999 avatars in Fear City are inspired by six key characters; a comic will be offered to owners to flesh out the cast's background.
  • With 250+ traits that Bliss has created over the past 20 years, there's a GTA meets New York underbelly vibe to this art collection.
  • Iconic Streetwear Fashion Line: sneakerhead aka Jeff Staple, the acclaimed designer and behind Staple Pigeon & Stapleverese has curated a physical and digital streetwear.
  • A dedicated music album from Capitol Records’ Solomon Sounds. Artists have curated a soundtrack inspired by the characters and the wider world of Fear City.
  • New York City Mural: Bliss and INSA designed a mural incorporating elements of Fear City on Mott St. in SoHo, New York City. The mural animates in Augmented Reality through the lens of smartphones, revealing a surprise message.

An illustration of a women against the American flag

Just like GTA, the Fear City NFT looks to be exploring themes of the American Dream (Image credit: Stephen Bliss)

Usually we'd raise a curious eyebrow over something as ambitious as the Fear City NFT project but Bliss has been around long enough to understand the pressure of this process. Bliss considers Fear City to be "the pinnacle of his career," according to a statement. Quite a boast considering GTA, and Bliss's art style, has had an impact on everything.

As GTA 6 remains vapourware and Rockstar's remasters of the classic Grand Theft Auto trilogy was criticised last year (opens in new tab), it looks like the sardonic themes and illustration style of this video game series could be alive and well in Bliss' Fear City. 

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Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & Design at Creative Bloq. Ian is the former editor of many leading magazines, including digital art focused ImagineFX and 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. Ian launched the magazine X360 in 2005 and has relaunched many others. In his early career Ian wrote for music and film magazines, including Uncut, SFX, and assisted on The Idler. With over 25 years' experience in both print and online journalism, Ian has worked on many leading video game and digital art brands. With a passion for video games and art, Ian combines his loves to bring the latest news on NFTs, video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq. In his spare time he doodles in Corel Painter, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5.