Boss Key mostly gives up on Lawbreakers, moves on to ‘passion project’

Long after players had tried and moved on from the gravity-defying Lawbreakers, its studio has conceded defeat.

Boss Key Productions put out a statement today saying that the game was not able to draw and retain much of an audience, was generating no money, and was not worth the resources to switch it over to free-to-play. And while the studio said that it was moving on to other projects, it did hint that it was working on something to give Lawbreakers “the second life it deserves.”

“Between now and then, we cannot sit idle,” Boss Key said. “We will continue to support the game in its current state, but we also need to focus on other projects with fresh creative leaders. We have been working on something new and we can’t wait to share more about it! It’s a passion project that we’re in complete control of.”

Lawbreakers had an incredibly rough launch and live operation last fall, with populations diving into the double-digits, its creator picking a fight with the press, half of the team leaving the studio, and revenue proving to be an embarrassment for Nexon.

Source: Reddit. Thanks Danny!
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26 Comments on "Boss Key mostly gives up on Lawbreakers, moves on to ‘passion project’"

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rafael12104

And here we have the abject lesson of when ego and arrogance drive a development effort. It’s not the first time it has happened and it won’t be the last.

Yeah, I’m given Cliffy B shit on this one as well. But it was so obvious and clearly documented by anyone paying any attention that Cliffy was out of his depth.

When you become a meme, and you are trying to be serious, you are done. Lol.

Many below stated all of the reasons. But I’ll add one more. Cliffy B’s name alone will not sell many games anymore. The more he tried to make it so this time around, the worse it got.

It is a what have you done for me lately business and not a “bow to me noobs, I’ll tell you what you need to play” affair.

Cliffy B.jpg
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Arsin Halfmoon

Guys… guys… guys… listen, lis..are you listening?

Ok.

Guys.

What..

What if…

Are you listening?

WHAT IF.

THEY MAKE IT…

ARE YOU LISTENING?

make it into an mmo.

Reverse Overwatch

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rafael12104

Lol!

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

What could have been done to save Lawbreakers? Was the game too generic? Too much competition from other shooters?

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Loopy

If you’d like to hear the full story, this video does a great job:

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Sorenthaz

I think the problem was it had multiple issues:

1. It was directly competing with Overwatch, even used a similar model with cosmetic lootboxes and a (somewhat cheaper, but still relatively) high entry fee at $30. P

2. It was faction-based, I think like 6-9 heroes on each side? They somewhat mimicked each other but also were different to some extent IIRC.

3. It was super fast-paced and heavy on twitch reflexes. It was NOT going to appeal to a major audience because of that.

4. Maps felt kind of small and claustrophobic. Stuff like the no/low-gravity was weird to transition into and felt awkward if you didn’t know how to maneuver in it.

5. Game modes weren’t very intuitive and suffered from the meh-ish map designs.

Like, I bought into it because it felt like a fun refreshing change of pace from Overwatch/Team Fortress 2, but at the same time it was something I’d only ever play in small doses because of its pacing. It looked stylistically pretty good but it felt like they weren’t really sure who to market the game to. It’s like… there were a lot of elements from the Unreal shooters, I guess? But it was also trying to compete with Overwatch and sold itself as a AAA team shooter from Cliffy B.

It’s like it simultaneously didn’t have enough to separate it and the things that did make it unique felt off-putting for more than a niche audience.

Also didn’t help that the marketing felt schizophrenic and kind of crude/immature with frat boy humor or whatnot. Which I guess is stereotypical of a game made under Cliffy B.

Grave Knight
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Grave Knight

…? I thought LawBreakers was his “passion project”. I see he rather let it fail than try and implement the things that were suggested to him a long time ago. I mean I know I suggested an objective based game mode.

But, whateves, the guy still makes games like its the early 2000s and then blames everyone else for not like them.

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Bruno Brito

Well, really looks like he didn’t care much for the game, so it was prolly a cashcow.

We learn something new everyday, eh?

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Jack Pipsam

Heh, could see that coming the day it launched.

Sucks for the team and I hope their next game does well, but Cliffy did them no favours by being such a douche for the entire marketing campaign.

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Sray

The “second chance” thing sounds like it might be releasing server code. Some devs on Steam used to do this with their games, so they could make money off selling client apps while the players themselves ran the servers. Not a very common practice anymore, but it would keep the game alive for any dedicated player base that exists.

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Sorenthaz

They could definitely put up Steam Workshop support and custom stuff to just let people mod the hell out of it.

Xijit
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Xijit

It is UE4 … they could, in theory, just unlock the game’s code & tell people to have fun moding.

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Sorenthaz

And then potentially open it up to the Steam Workshop.

Xijit
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Xijit

focus on other projects with fresh creative leaders

Xijit
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Xijit

Does that mean Cliffy B. was asked to work from home, with no log in to the company’s intranet?

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Sray

Possibly given the gift of zero income and unlimited free time?

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Archebius

I didn’t follow the Lawbreakers saga very closely – are they implying that they didn’t have full control over that project?

Xijit
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Xijit

Nexon gave Cliffy B. the start up funds for the company, completely footed the bill for development, and then let him do whatever the hell he wanted to with game design, marketing, and sales … they even let ’em ship as a conventional retail FPS product even though Nexon is a F2P MMO publisher.

There was absolutely no point where Nexon micro managed them in the least bit.

The real issue is that it was a boring arena shooter, with a tiny gimic of low gravity (that got reduced to irrelevancy because the arena size was so small), and horrible class balance … and paired action shooter controls with CSGO style one shot kills and long respawn timers (I think it may have even been no respawn, but I can’t clearly remember).

All in all it was just a shitty, outdated game design that just wasn’t fun.

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Greaterdivinity

Yes, because Nexon was footing the bill – as any publisher generally does. That’s not to say that Nexon actively harmed it, but that I guess they can’t make a compelling enough argument to Nexon to convince them to provide the additional funding necessary for a proper F2P transition (they aren’t cheap).

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Archebius

Yeah, that makes sense. I was under the impression that Lawbreakers was already a passion project, and I hadn’t heard that there was much publisher interference, so the comment struck me as odd.

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Greaterdivinity

If we were to believe Cliffy, then yes it was. But I guess he’s MORE passionate about the next game or something : P

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Michael

Cliffy B thinks hes some kind of mastermind because he was behind the BRO SHOOTER Gears of War. He is just a developer who has completely lost his mind, but more in a angry / arrogant way then an illogical / nonsensical way. (See: Richard Garriot / Peter Molyneux) He needs to get a little bit more of a level head when it comes to marketing his games and making them.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

I don’t understand what could be so costly with making it f2p besides not wanting to pay the cost for the servers, which they should considering some people paid the box price for it.

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Greaterdivinity

Designing a full-fledged cash shop and stocking it with items that players will actually want to buy.

A potential litany of changes to the game to accommodate the transition – locking heroes out behind an in-game currency/paywall, setting up different account flagging and backend changes etc.

Making meaningful improvements to the game so that when the relaunch happens they don’t have a similar lack of interest and quick player dropoff.

F2P transitions done right are actually pretty expensive and very time consuming. It’s not as simple as creating a few lockboxes and calling it a day.

They’re paying for the servers anyways, game isn’t shutting down. Not like it matters since apparently nobody is even playing : /

Mewmew
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Mewmew

“And while the studio said that it was moving on to other projects, it did hint that it was working on something to give Lawbreakers “the second life it deserves.””

So let me guess – Lawbreakers Royale?

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McGuffn

Lawbreakers: Story Mode: The Telltale Series.