Life Beyond is a Metaverse that takes place in a game world.
Life Beyond is a sci-fi metaverse powered by Unreal Engine, NFTs, and ERC-20 tokens, where players will have the freedom to build, and own together a new virtual society on Dolos, a mysterious alien planet.
At DappRadar, we track thousands of dapps to bring data-driven information to our users. For example, they can find the most popular and fastest-growing games at DappRadar’s Games Ranking.
Over the last few weeks, Life Beyond, a metaverse game developed by Darewise, has gained much traction. The game saw unique wallets shooting up over 134% within 30 days. Currently, there are nearly 20,000 monthly unique wallets participating in Life Beyond. Powered by Polygon, this game boasts breathtaking visuals and heart-pounding gameplay.
In today’s interview, we will have Benjamin Charbit, the CEO, and co-founder of Darewise, share his thoughts regarding Web3 and the latest news in Life Beyond.
Tell us about you
Hello DappRadar! I’m Ben, and I’m the CEO and co-founder of Darewise. I’m 38, French, and a father of 2 great kids. I’ve worked in the games industry for over ten years, mainly on AAA Games but with a strong focus on multiplayer and social experience. I’ve had the chance to work on amazing projects such as Ghost Recon Online, TheDivision, and Assassin’s Creed Blackflag (where I was Game Director).
Being an MMO-native, I became obsessed with the Metaverse quite early. It all started in 2014 when I read Reamde from Neil Stephenson, the famous creator of the “metaverse” word in Snow Crash. This led me to start Darewise with my buddy Samuel Kahn (Lead Engineer on TheDivision).
Since late 2017, we’ve had the insane ambition to build the first metaverse that would take place in a game world. A world where you could be anyone. But all of the interactions are gameplay, whether you play as a hero or a farmer.
And to answer your question, working with the team and seeing the community grow day after day is what gets me out of bed. It’s been a long ride, but I’ve loved every minute of it.
When I look back and see how far we’ve come, the incredible people who have joined this endeavor (including a bunch of former colleagues), the acquisition by Animoca Brands this year, and all these great milestones that bring more and more people to lay their stone to the universe we started imagining a little over four years ago; I can’t help but ask for more.
I really believe that what we are building is revolutionary: an alternate reality that will expand our own existence, providing us with opportunities to live another life, more fun but with real stakes.
What has been your first interaction with a blockchain?
I started buying a bit of Bitcoin in 2017 just to get a flavor of the experience but became quite obsessed when I discovered smart contracts and composability.
Then I bought a few NFTs to join the communities I was attracted to. I own a Bored Ape, a Torque Squad, a Phantom Galaxies planet, Doodle wearables, and more.
Today, I am heavily active in crypto and attend numerous specialized events (as a listener or speaker). So I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I am an NFT enthusiast for sure.
What are the dapps – besides your own – that you use most?
Mostly marketplaces, Rarible, OpenSea, Magic Eden, and games (if you haven’t, you should try Phantom Galaxies!)
Out of all your NFTs, what’s your favorite one? Why, and can you link it?
Franck, our Bored Ape, is probably my favorite.
He is now a Darewise family member and will soon have his place in our fiction, as well as a specific role and purpose in the game, but I can’t say more without triggering the wrath of our Head of Marketing (Hellooooo Diane).
What’s the dapp you’re working on? Can you describe it as if we don’t understand blockchain?
Life Beyond is a Metaverse that takes place in a game world.
One hundred years from now, your character travels to Dolos, a planet newly discovered, with many others to build a new society.
There is no need to understand much about blockchain or web3. Life Beyond is a virtual world where you can be whoever you want.
In this player-owned economy, you pick a profession (because of its associated gameplays and/or opportunities) and collaborate with others to turn this risky endeavor into a sophisticated society. But because it’s in a game world, fun is everywhere, in physics, visual design, and mechanics.
That’s how we picture a successful metaverse. Who wants to be a virtual farmer if the farming activity is only grindy and tedious?
Also, the experience is platform agnostic and will be accessible across all devices.
What significant challenges did or do you face when developing your dapp? Can you share, and how can your advice help others.
Like a former colleague used to say, developing a project like Life Beyond is more challenging than launching a space program.
First, building an MMORPG is probably the most challenging type of game to create. But it’s more than that. In an MMORPG, everybody is a hero. So you don’t get that Metaverse experience. What about the farmer, the musician, the architect, the engineer, the politician, and so on?
This means that we are building multiple games in one.
On top of that, we’ve had to catch up on everything web3-related: choosing a chain, building smart contracts, designing tokenomics, understanding Web3 marketing, product management, etc.
But I’ve had the chance to work with some of the best professionals in the industry, and our advisors, from Serena Capital/Lakestar to Animoca Brands, have greatly helped us to get there.
In your opinion, what are the most critical success factors for a dapp/Network?
Your community is what you should be obsessed with because it’s the presence (or absence) of its members that makes your Dapp successful or not.
Of course, this translates into multiple things: designing the right utility in collaboration with the community, delivering continuously, and adequately communicating the end game and how to get there.
On all of this, we’re constantly working on getting better. However, we still have a long way to go.
What is more critical for a dapp project, true decentralization or ease of use and simple user onboarding, or something else? Please explain why.
I don’t think there’s a black-and-white answer here. It really depends on where you are at on the project.
First, streamlining the onboarding is a priority. Removing as much friction as possible is key to growing your user base to start benefiting from the network effect.
But eventually, decentralization becomes essential because it actually entertains this network effect and transfers the authority to the users.
At the end of the day, our job is to serve our community, and true decentralization guarantees that it becomes the case.
What significant opportunities do you see on the horizon, and how can you see this complimenting your project?
I’m getting very excited lately. When we started the project in early 2018, we were wondering if one day we would be able to have a second existence. A truly meaningful one.
Lately, I’ve been thinking that we are getting closer to that fantasy. We know that people want to have a chance to enrich their lives with a second or third layer where they might be the same, somewhat similar, or absolutely different.
Think of the Manhattan equity trader who dreams of owning his farming lot in the virtual world.
Tell us about your tech stack and why you set it up this way.
We are developing in Unreal Engine 5 and running on Polygon.
Unreal Engine was a straightforward decision. It’s the industry standard to build high-end “AAA” game content.
It’s also a technology that most experienced developers are or get comfortable with quickly.
We picked Polygon for multiple reasons. First, we wanted an EVM-compatible chain and a Layer-2 of Ethereum to benefit from the high liquidity.
The fit with the teams was also crucial, and we got along with the Polygon folks. So far, it’s been a fantastic partnership.
What are the features that your dapp’s ecosystem offers, not seen in Web2 and similar products from ‘the old ways’?
The first thing that comes to my mind is the content’s true ownership.
In Life Beyond, finally, you truly own your assets. This opens the door to so many opportunities. But the first one is entrepreneurship, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what comes out of it.
The second thing, which will come a bit later, will be the decentralized governance and decision-making for the project. We still have a bit of work to get there, but this is a key milestone for us.
What is the value proposition that makes your project unique
What differentiates Life Beyond from other games is that it’s the first MMORPG where you can be whoever you want. While in this game world, you’re no longer limited to being the hero. You can finally incarnate these non-playing characters you saw in World of Warcraft, for instance.
And this, combined with blockchain technologies and their tokens, NFTs, and ERC-20 powers Life Beyond to become the alternate reality that will matter for millions of digital citizens tomorrow.
What is next on your roadmap?
We’re finishing the Open Alpha that focused a lot on the cooperating action gameplay. Now we want to tackle the settling gameplay and situations and build more agnostic chunks of the experience.
Follow our socials as we’ll reveal more stuff soon.
How can people get involved and find out more about your project?
Discord is our main platform for core information sharing, consultation on our next steps (because we heavily involve our community), and direct communication with the developers.
Twitter to be instantly aware of our news. In addition, you can read articles about our Lore, new features, or the studio’s statements on Medium. Also, Instagram brings you snippets of our artistic direction.
You can read our Lightpaper to have more details regarding our vision, gameplay, and direction.
Last but not least, go to the Life Beyond website to download our launcher (our Open Alpha is coming to an end soon, but if you look at our communications, you’ll notice that we have a surprise for our NFT owners) and to buy our NFTs.
And if you are interested to know more about Darewise, the studio behind Life Beyond (which is currently hiring), you’ll find everything about us on Darewise, our team website.