A key question I tangle with in my upcoming book is what I call the Metaverse Age Cliff. It’s very impressive that a metaverse platform like Roblox has 250 million+ active users, but will those users go away when they’re no longer impressionable pre-teens and teens, in search of platforms with better graphics and functionality?
Frontlines, a new game experience on Roblox, is a pretty impressive answer to that question. Watch:
Yes, this is on Roblox. I played it last night. It’s on par in terms of graphics quality and gameplay with just about any FPS on Steam. And it was made on Roblox. Play here.
“Took millions of iterations and over 4-5 years of work to get it to where it is right now,” lead developer Clarence Maximillian tells me. But he and his team did so through a “combination of perseverance, focus, and obsession.”
But why do this on Roblox, when a game like this is usually published to Steam?
“It’s mainly about reach. You can get your game in the hands of millions of people with 0 marketing. This especially great for developers who may not have the largest resources and need a place to start. And for those who have resources, it’s also a cost effective way to get your game out there.”
Maximillian tells me he created Frontlines with a 5 person team, none of who have a background in professional game development.
“We have one guy doing maps, one guy doing audio, one guy programming, one guy making all 3D content and renders, and one guy making the whole vision come to life.” (That would be him.)
And, Maximillian tells me, it’s only the beginning for he and his team:
“Frontlines as a whole is a stepping-stone game for us,” as he puts it. “We have a much larger vision for our next projects that are not limited to FPS games, and our goal is to band together the best developers in the world to make lasting experiences that will help push gaming into the same respectable merits as the rest of the entertainment industry. We want video games and interactive entertainment to be as accessible, respectable, and culturally impactful just like the best movies and music.”
As with the creator of Tunneler, he says creating something for the Roblox community to enjoy is their main goal:
“[We] want to give people the best possible experience of their lives, hoping that they can take notes from what we did and make even better experiences of their own for the world.”
None of this is to say Frontlines is perfect. First game, my character wandered the battlefield without a gun (but still making all the pew pew animations); a few matches later, my sound completely clipped out. But only a few weeks after launch, Frontlines is already a competing on an equal level with FPS games created for far larger budgets by major companies.
And the Metaverse keeps evolving.