Who could have predicted that an open-world cops-and-robbers action RPG would make Roblox history? It was none other than the creators themselves, Badcc and Asimo3089. The moment that they and their friends began work on Jailbreak, 18-year-old Badcc and 22-year-old Asimo3089 were certain they had found something special.
“I kind of knew it would be super popular,” Badcc reflects. “I personally don’t really play games at all—both inside and outside of Roblox—but this game I was creating was so incredibly fun and I couldn’t stop playing it.”
“We had a blast playing other prison games but quickly found the ‘end game’ for them after playing too often,” said Asimo3089. “We realized we could make something more modern, with more to do. This is what we capitalized on and quickly found success even in early testing. I knew this could end up being something huge when our early testers (other developers) ended up spending 25+ minutes in the game just messing around and having a great time.”
They were right to go with their gut. In the three months since its release, Jailbreak has shattered Roblox records for growth and concurrent players over its entire ten-year history. Do you wonder why this game is so popular? We spoke with Badcc and Asimo3089 to discuss some of the many reasons behind Jailbreak’s success.
What is Jailbreak?
Jailbreak is a roleplaying game where inmates escape from a prison and run from the police. Once an inmate escapes, they can explore the city, go for a drive in the desert, rob a bank, or invent a whole new way to play! Badcc was first inspired when he played the game Redwood Prison by RoyStanford.
“The game was simple, but there was something about it that I found really fun… At this time, I had never played Prison Life,” Badcc admits. “Some time passed and I thought, ‘Hey, this Prison Life game has been pretty huge on the front page but I’ve never bothered to check it out.’ And I did. I played it a lot. But I wanted to do more. After you escaped the prison there wasn’t much to do at all. At the time we were working on a competitive mining game and we had a pretty complete gameplay demo ready to show everyone, but I knew if we made a cops-and-robbers prison-breakout game it would be wildly more successful. I also saw a void in the market. The two games that were popular weren’t that advanced, and I knew I could really bring it to the next level… Four months later, we released Jailbreak.”
Badcc and Asimo3089 leapt into action to create their new game. Badcc never grew tired of building or playing Jailbreak; in fact, he only enjoyed it more and more.
“It was so fun to just get a bunch of people on and play test it, and that was in the very early days when there wasn’t much to do yet. When I was making Volt, our previous game, it was fun at first, but that slowly died down over time as I was testing it. Jailbreak just kept getting more fun to make and play.”
Asimo3089 shared a similar sentiment: “I felt like we were both on the same page throughout this entire project, with very similar ideas and goals. We had both played other prison games so we knew exactly what we wanted out of it. This is so important for any project with more than one person, and I don’t think I’d rather do another game like Jailbreak without Badcc.”
Jailbreak came together quickly and smoothly, and it was released just four months and 16,000 lines of code later on April 21, 2017. In just 3 days, it reached 75,000 concurrent players, the highest ever in a Roblox game. Within just 3 weeks of launching, the game reached 44 million place visits, making Jailbreak the fastest-growing Roblox game ever in the company’s 10+ years of history. When he isn’t working on Jailbreak, Badcc gives back by helping other developers with their own projects, and he hopes to inspire them the way that the Roblox community inspired him. We hope that discussing all of the great qualities of Jailbreak will motivate future developers.
All games have certain aspects that set them apart from their competitors and counterparts. One of the major features that set this game apart from others is the user interface. It has its own well-designed custom control menu for everything, from crawling to driving. This makes it easy to hop into the game and quickly learn how to play. Still, as Badcc points out, gameplay goes a lot further than fancy UI.
“With Volt, Asimo3089 and I spent a lot of time polishing the UI with tons of animations,” he tells us. “Volt was pretty, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as Jailbreak.”
Gameplay also plays a huge factor in a successful Roblox game. The best games have clear mechanics and goals that engage the player, whether you’re in a social game or a first-person shooter. In Jailbreak, the way you play the game changes the experience. The gameplay can range from slow-paced, yet exciting (for example, organizing a game of hide and seek) to fast-paced and exhilarating (like robbing banks and hijacking helicopters). But there’s never a moment of fatigue. Badcc says that this is a defining feature of the game: “Jailbreak is a combination of two major genres that are popular on Roblox: action and role-play. You can choose to do both, or either. This opens up the game to a big audience,” he said.
For a game to build up popularity, it needs to have great replay value. Jailbreak has taken that aspect of game design and taken it to heart with many unlockable features and prizes such as safes, vehicle skins, and in-game credits. These features create an “investment” in the game and provides a reason to come back and play. Even Badcc admits that he is always finding new ways to play the game. The discovery is a part of the fun.
“You don’t have to know that you can rob banks/jewelry stores when you join the game, but as soon as you figure it out it’s an entirely new game. Or the fact that you can pickpocket police, customize cars, hijack helicopters, have parties in apartments, and so much more,” he said.
Creating your own type of style in Roblox can sometimes be a challenge for some developers, but Jailbreak is an exception. With its desert scenery and high-quality cityscape, the game is visually appealing and fun to explore. Badcc is proud of the many details the team has incorporated into their game, from car suspension, to the unique ragdoll physics after getting tased, to a system that rotates your avatar’s head the same direction as your camera.
Jailbreak has also added just the right amount of difficulty into their game where all types of players can be challenged, yet have fun at the same time. The game offers a great balance of power between prisoners and police, which makes the game’s difficulty fit the style of gameplay. It’s up to you if you want to get help from other players, or challenge yourself to go it alone. This is key for Badcc: “You can cooperate with your friends to rob buildings, fight crime together with different people having different roles, etc. You can also play solo and have a lot of fun.”
When we asked Badcc and Asimo3089 if they had any advice for aspiring developers given some of the lessons he learned while creating Jailbreak, they had this to say:
“Test as much as possible with as many people as possible so you can get feedback about everything you’re working on and make sure you aren’t spending too much time on something that isn’t worth all the time. If people aren’t having fun playing your game, you need to correct this,” said Badcc. “And of course it helps get all the weird bugs out that come up when there are millions of people pushing every boundary of your game to the limits. Focus on a single project, and make sure you don’t spend too much time away from it at once. I made Jailbreak while I was in school and spent at least a couple hours on it each day during the weekdays.”
“Listening to feedback is huge,” said Asimo3089. “If a majority of your feedback givers are telling you they want something, there may be an even larger portion of players who aren’t willing to speak up. This past update that’s pushed us past 80,000 concurrents involved a bunch of gameplay changes and updates that players have wanted for a long time. We also run Twitter polls on recent changes to figure out where the players want the game to go. Addressing popular feedback seems to do the trick!”
Hitting 100,000+ Concurrent Players
Today, almost seven months after Badcc, Asimo3089, and their friends started work on Jailbreak, the game is out of beta and officially released! The game is now 25,000 lines of code, with weekly updates such as:
- map improvements;
- new skins;
- store robbing;
- cop bribing;
- advanced handcuff features;
- and cool new badges!
“I continue to learn how important efficiency is. Every update I’m always looking for ways to make the game run better. Every feature addition involves trying the same thing multiple ways, to make sure it can run as well as possible for as many people as possible. We want everybody to enjoy Jailbreak!” said Asimo3089. “From the start we’ve had an awesome community and they’ve all been super supportive and helpful. The game wouldn’t be where it is now without the constant waves of feedback, testing, and motivating messages. It’s hard to find a community like that, and we’re so happy to have one of this quality!”
Jailbreak’s success is only growing too. On Sunday, August 13, Jailbreak beat its own record with over 100,000 concurrent players! It’s always best to learn from great games and leverage them into your own success story. The success of Jailbreak is one example of how developers and creators on Roblox can entertain and inspire millions. Their accomplishments came from more than good luck. It took a well-thought-out idea, a strong game design, an organized team, and a lot of imagination.
We’re really interested in what the community has to say about Jailbreak! Let us know what you think by tweeting us at @Roblox and using the #Jailbreak hashtag.