Talking with Andy S., Head of Development and Interim Head of Studio at Meta, it's immediately clear that he's deeply passionate about the future of gaming. A founding member of Unit 2 Games, which sits within the Metaverse organization, Andy and the team have dedicated the last five years to working on Crayta, a free-to-play platform that makes game creation accessible to everyone.
“We’re on the cusp of the next game-changing transformation,” beams Andy. “When the web first emerged, everyone was excited to make a webpage. Over the next five years, people will be building immersive games and experiences for global players.”
His teammate, Hannah W., Head of Production and Live Content at Meta and Unit 2 Games founding member, shares Andy's drive to make a meaningful impact. For them, this means not only considering the future of games, but creating opportunities for those who want to help build it. Reflecting on their journeys, Andy and Hannah share how their vision to empower creators grew Unit 2 Games from a small UK-based studio to part of the metaverse.
Built to push the boundaries of creation
Unit 2 Games’ founding members were united by a vision: democratizing games. “We saw that players were hungry to innovate on user-generated platforms, and we wanted to give them the freedom to do it,” shares Andy.
As the team set out to excite the gaming community, they found new ways to put the power in players’ hands. "Empowering creators has always been in our DNA," Andy continues. "We’re enabling creators to build the future in the metaverse—where they can create, showcase their work and grow their communities. Until now, interactive entertainment has been dominated by a few voices, but we’re changing that.”
“Empowering creators starts with our team, which is built on trust. When people have full license to bring passion to their projects, the sky's the limit. ”
Since joining Meta in 2021—which Hannah still describes as surreal—the Unit 2 team has grown five-fold. Hannah is passionate about maintaining the close-knit studio culture, while exploring all the possibilities within Meta. “Now that Unit 2 is part of Meta, we have more time and better reach to recruit diverse candidates,” they share. “Building an inclusive team is very important to us, and now we have the resources to make it happen.”
Embracing “impossible” challenges
The Unit 2 team has embraced technical challenges since the start and worked together to navigate new obstacles while releasing Crayta during the pandemic. “When COVID hit, we moved to remote work because it was the right thing to do,” explains Andy. “But it was terrifying. None of us had worked remotely on a video game project before, but we figured out how to set up the streaming technology and debug and test new features. We were so proud to release the game on an accessible streaming platform that enables more people to play without needing high-powered hardware!”
“We have an appetite for solving problems and consistently bite off more than we can chew. Tackling new challenges together drives all of us every day. ”
While still fully remote, the team also created a real-time game environment that eliminated wait time for players and helped them iterate more quickly. Since then, the Crayta community continues to surprise the team. “I get excited every time I see the community build something we thought was impossible, like a spider out of pneumatic parts,” Andy smiles. “It inspires us to equip them to build better and faster.”
To Hannah, doing the impossible feels like everyday life at Meta. “I’m constantly inspired by seeing what other people are working on, from our cross-functional partners at Reality Labs, to the robust research teams at Meta, to the community of players around the world,” they say. “We’re collaborating to make gaming accessible to more players across Facebook Gaming and the metaverse.”
Bringing the magic of Crayta to the metaverse
The team recently celebrated another major milestone: releasing Crayta on Facebook Gaming. This update made it possible for players to launch user-generated games directly from Facebook and access to even more games. "It's an incredible opportunity to work on technology that makes it possible for people to promote their games and grow an audience,” shares Andy. “It's just one way we can give back to the community."
Andy and his team knew this release would bring Crayta to a much larger audience, and they wanted to get it right. “We paid close attention to every aspect of players’ experiences, especially on mobile phones,” says Andy. “No matter what device creators are using, we want to bring the unique magic of Crayta to build the vision for a metaverse that’s creative and collaborative for everyone.”
Looking ahead, Hannah says they’re most excited about finding new ways to drive impact. “We’re building innovative technology that will bring people together in the future,” they say. “Our team helped open the door to the future of games, and now we get to walk through it, tackling even more fun projects with our partners at Meta.”
“The metaverse organization here is building the future of game creation, VR and interconnectivity—and we’re at the center of it all. It’s a thrilling time to be on this team. ”