Boss Key owner Cliff Bleszinski claims that Epic Games is poaching his staff

If Radical Heights is not a success, it’s the fault of Epic Games, according to Cliff Bleszinski. The head of Boss Key Studios recently tweeted out an accusation that Epic Games (creator of Fortnite and the Unreal engine, among other things) is trying to poach some of his staff, which comes a few months after the co-founder of Boss Key Studios left to join Epic on a heretofore unannounced project. He went on to state that there are still more things to be done in the battle royale genre, but they may remain unseen based on this employee poaching.

Epic has remained mum on the accusations of poaching employees, so it’s hard to be sure whether it’s actually happening or not. One might also want to look at the game’s numbers and its overall playerbase figures following its surprise reveal and early access launch and take that into account as part of this narrative, as well.

Source: Twitter via GamesIndustry.biz
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35 Comments on "Boss Key owner Cliff Bleszinski claims that Epic Games is poaching his staff"

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Wilhelm Arcturus

“Poaching” is code for “offering better jobs or more money” and complaining about it rather than countering is a sign of what you really think of your team. A well motivated team working on a project they are passionate about won’t take better offers, so if your team is leaving it is probably on you.

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Armsbend

Not always. Take the case of the ARK developer. They specifically went after Trendy employees. Employees from the same town who’d worked for the director before – knowing full well it would decimate the other company.

If a much larger company like Epic were just targeting this one company and taking multiple guys away – in some sort of power move – that’s poaching and it can be a problem in software.

This however is likely employees reading the writing on the wall and nailing down employment before the company folds.

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Scotty

So this Battle Royale me-too-me-too “passion project” is apparently something his staff isn’t all that passionate about? I, for one, am completely shocked.

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Iain B

Yea, I love how he calls this a “passion project” that they managed to make in only 5 months after their last “passion project” completely and utterly bombed.

And who the hell is passionate about the battle royale genre anyway?

EDIT: And the game looks like complete ass.

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Tobasco da Gama

And even if they are passionate about Battle Royale, why would they want to work on a BR game that literally tens of people are playing when they could be over at Epic working on the biggest BR game in the world instead?

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Schmidt.Capela

I particularly only see poaching as troublesome when it’s a big company doing it mainly to deprive a smaller competitor of much needed human resources. On the other hand, if the company doing the “poaching” is doing it because it legitimately needs to grow its team I see no issue.

Besides, anti-poaching agreements are often more about preventing employees from being able to point prospective offers when asking for a rise than about preventing poaching per see.

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rafael12104

Agreed. I’ve seen such agreements, and they usually do include a clause of “mitigating circumstances”. I don’t know all the legalese but the net, net, is that anti-poaching agreement does not apply if a company’s fiduciary responsibilities are in doubt.

Right now, IMO, Boss Key’s future is very much in doubt.

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Tobasco da Gama

You say “poaching”, I say “please, god, let me work for literally anyone other than CliffyB”.

Grave Knight
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Grave Knight

Hey, there are worse places to work. EA and Konami immediately come to mind.

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Arktouros

Seems like developers jumping between game studios is just kinda the norm for the game development industry. Someone offers you a lot more money, you’re probably going to end up taking it.

Pingly
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Pingly

I’ve worked plenty of places where a specific bigwig would leave for greener pastures and a few weeks later we’d see a block of employees quit.

They didn’t recruit anybody, but every employee who liked that bigwig knew if they were to go to a new company it would likely mean a raise and you have that same good boss to work for.

Hard to resist.

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Vice Vandal

Yeah, I’ve quit a job in the past because the only competent “boss” was fired in order to save money.

Good management is so freaking rare in the corporate world that sometimes you don’t quit a job, you just quit a boss.

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Darthbawl

Meh, take *anything* CliffyB says with a grain of salt. He’s proven time and time again that he has a personal hatred for the PC gamer scum crowd, so anything he says regarding PC gaming I am very hesitant to believe. Unless he can show some concrete proof, not believing any of this.

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Danny Smith

I’m starting to think cliffy is kind of a low tier sociopath or narcissist. There is ALWAYS a scapegoat with this guy. Every single time bad things happen to something he is connected to he leaps to blame something, anything else.
He’s already famous for being an oblivious douchebag but the most he plays the blame game and never once admits a fault in himself without being grossly dismissive and deflecting you honestly have to wonder if he has some real issue or disorder behind it.

I cannot think of another developer who is able to make blockbuster hits but the moment he slips up there is always a boogeyman out to get him. Everytime.

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Tobasco da Gama

Starting? Just like D***S***, this is literally decades-old news.