Maximilian Studios on the success of Frontlines: “You don't need a $3,000 rig or a $500 console, you can boot it up on your mobile device.”

Part one of our exploration of studios building for Roblox and their route to success

Maximilian Studios on the success of Frontlines: “You don't need a $3,000 rig or a $500 console, you can boot it up on your mobile device.”

Roblox has exploded in the past decade from a fairly niche block-building, game-creation multiplayer platform to arguably the closest thing we have to a metaverse that’s living and breathing today.

So what’s it like to develop for the platform? We chatted to some of the biggest studios working on Roblox today about the highs and lows of working on the platform, what sort of experience they’ve had and most importantly, how they found success.

The first of these groups is Maximilian Studios, creator of Frontlines, a CoD-like game that captured the attention of many observers with its high-fidelity graphics and smooth gameplay, a far-cry from what most people think when they think of Roblox. We put our questions to them about Frontlines and their development process.

We spoke to executive producer and namesake of the studio, Clarence Maximilian. How did you approach building your game on Roblox?

Clarence Maximilian: My approach is the same as anyone behind the best products by putting together the most talented group of people together with a unified vision.

Did you have any development experience beforehand, and if so how did that inform your game?

I didn't have any professional experience beforehand, but I've been building video games since I was nine years old. Roblox allowed me to start early. The skills I've learned over the course of 15 years on Roblox helped me build Frontlines.

What has your experience been like working in Roblox. How does it differ from other platforms?

It's my home turf, so I have all the resources, network, and understanding of tools ready in my kit. The beauty of Roblox is that I can iterate an idea quickly and test what I've built out really fast. I get a constant feedback loop from the community, which is something that is a lot harder to get from other platforms.
In short, Roblox is more communal and is built like a giant town. Whereas on other platforms, it feels like you're a lone wolf in the forest.

Your work is frequently compared to Call of Duty, and the visual fidelity is definitely impressive. But do the more demanding graphics shut out players on lower-end PC’s or on mobile platforms?

Everyday people can enjoy Frontlines with the average and updated device they own. You don't need a $3,000 rig or a $500 console, you can boot it up on your mobile device. Of course, there's definitely improvements to performance that could be made, and we're making sure to make the game accessible to more people on a daily basis.

We have edge cases where players with 10 to 15 year old devices are having issues running the game, but my hope in the near future is that people wouldn't have to think twice whether they have the right device to play the game. They would just be able to boot it up and have the same experience as everyone else.

Where do you take the inspiration for your game from?

The current state of Frontlines was inspired by the first video game I ever bought for myself, 2009's Modern Warfare 2.

We're currently going through an entire art rehaul that takes inspiration from outside the game industry, music albums like Birds in the Trap and Whole Lotta Red, and fashion designers like Martin Margiela and Junya Watanabe.

What developer tools do you use and how did their use impact your success?

We use a lot of industry standard tools like Substance, Adobe, Octane, etc. to create our stuff. It's how we get the high fidelity look onto Roblox.

What do you want to do in future with Frontlines, do you want to turn it into its own solo title?

I'm in the process of reworking the art direction to be more unique and seen as its own thing. I'd love to do celebrity collaborations where we'd turn artists and stars into characters in the game. I'm also looking into getting partnerships with the high fashion world, and see if there's any integration we can do with them.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.