Boss Key shutters after Radical Heights, LawBreakers fizzle

Boss Key is closing down following the struggles of LawBreakers and Radical Heights, though the latter will apparently remain playable for now. Cliff Bleszinski broke the news on Twitter.

LawBreakers, the Nexon/Boss Key collab shooter, launched last summer after a lengthy development period that saw at least one reboot of the game’s mechanics. The in-your-face marketing for the game (remember the #skilledaf hashtag they tried to get going?) didn’t go over with gamers, who at the time were infatuated with the booming PUBG. The game’s concurrency numbers were tiny, and when press covered that, CliffyB famously said that “as far as [he was] concerned, [the press] can fuck off.” By December, half of the team had left the studio, including one of its co-founders, and Nexon indicated by January that it had effectively written off the game as a loss.

And then in April, Boss Key had conceded defeat, saying that it was moving on to other projects and hinting that it was working on a passion project, which turned out to be a Running Man-esque battle royale game called Radical Heights. It, too, stumbled into early access with low numbers and fresh claims from CliffyB that Epic Games was poaching his staff. The game’s last big update was less than two weeks ago, and now, that might just be its last.

Source: Twitter
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75 Comments on "Boss Key shutters after Radical Heights, LawBreakers fizzle"

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Arktouros

Everything I’ve seen in the competitive arena and eSports area is it’s not something you can really force. It’s like everyone who really seems to try to force it (Planetside 2, Guild Wars 2, Lawbreakers, etc etc etc) just ends up either doing mediocre or not really big.

Sucks for people who lost their jobs, but I doubt it’ll be long. Always another company out there looking to exploit a fresh batch of developers into slave hours.

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Danny Smith

I saw about 3 minutes of “c’mon guys, cliffy isnt a dick hes cool!” comments.


Then it started to come out that he told twitter before he told the fucking staff of the studio.

Cliffy B: The Dark Souls of Chodes.

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Greaterdivinity

Saw this earlier today…yeah, Cliff can just stay out of the gaming industry forever and that would be gggrrreeeaaattttttt.

I was hoping he’d learn some humility and come back with a good game, but if he’s the type of asshole to do this kind of thing then he can fuck off forever. That kind of shit is unacceptable. Give your staff some heads up, let them process, offer help, then make the public announcement. This is “fired in the parking lot” levels of bad, and only serves to reinforce the negative perceptions of him that continue to exist because of shit like this.

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rafael12104

Wow. What a d-bag.

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Nick // Genghis

Alright so. I’ve got about 185 hours in Lawbreakers and 15 hours in Radical Heights. Both relatively decent games in their own right. I saw this coming a mile away and I can’t say I’m surprised or “happy” as too many games are sunsetting these days. Now these devs can work on project with fruitful labor going forward.

The bottomline came down to a complex mix of reasons why both have not and are not doing well. Lawbreakers released during a poor time and very poor marketing plows like everyone has already stated (#skilledAF is, was, and will continue to be stupidAF). What they really failed to do was poach the hardcore FPS crowd from PUBG, OW, and Quake Champs. How are these all related even being in completely separate genres? Well the answer is that Lawbreakers was by design, a skillful, fast paced, incredibly good looking game that had a poor leadership in the face of game design and staying the course. BKP began manipulating the flow and combat of the core game that had enthralled many including myself. It became much more akin to Paladins and OW in a vain attempt to accrue a higher CCU with more combat and mechanical leniency focusing more on the chase to finish a player with an out-of-combat HP regen and taking out MedStations and severely nerfing the medic class. We as a playerbase saw no less than 2/3rds of all players leave after this terrible, terrible 1.3 patch and that even killed the game for myself and my close friends that played regularly. Not only paired with the timely rise of PUBG and the Battle Royale genre, but OW was taking the market and FPS crowd by storm as THE FPS games in the current landscape. Lawbreakers ultimately failed to be the F2P option to Quake Champs ala the situation between Paladins and OW. Their inability to see that F2P was where they could make more revenue and actually compete with having more beta tests, less crappy more targeted marketing, and dedication to their intended design all left them high and dry.

Radical Heights on the otherhand has now come on the scene on the backend of the Battle Royale genre. Everything has been said and done with PUBG and Fortnite now that they are in full swing. No other games should or can really do as much to pull them away from those 2 unless it is PHENOMENALLY good, so this is and always was a futile attempt to cash grab from people that wanted an 80s themed, buff dudes action hero-esque Battle Royale game. That said, I really enjoyed RH for what it was albeit it was and is very rough with plenty of grey scaled buildings, weird bugs and occasional desync.

Overall the whole thing has been a mess and I’ve done my due diligence to give both games a chance and I REALLY really really wanted Lawbreakers to succeed because it was the first time in a long time where jetpacks, high mobility, a high skill ceiling, and teamwork collided into something magical, but the timing, blanket hate, poor marketing, and abysmal design choices seeped into every pore and have now come full circle as the toilet finishes its flush.

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Sorenthaz

Well that’s classy from Blizzard. Surprised that they’ve got 200+ openings though across their teams.

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Bruno Brito

I hope everyone but Cliff gets their jobs at Blizz.

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Michael

Cliff is an asshat, but it sucks for the guys who worked under him. I wish everyone, except Cliff, the best of luck in finding new opportunities.

Richard de Leon III
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Richard de Leon III

I have no personal issues with the personality himself. The only reason i didnt support his company is the whole FPS genre focus. Gimme a great RPG,single player or otherwise, and you get my money. I cant wait for this battle royale and fps bandwagon to die down for a few years.

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Michael

The BR as a whole game thing will die down, the FPS bandwagon never will though. FPSs have kind of been the core demographic of gaming since the late 90s. I would not expect that to change. What I would expect is BR’s to become just a mode thrown into a ton of FPS games and less of a stand alone BR game. Nothing wrong with BR itself really. Just, it is not a game, it is a mode.

Targeter
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Targeter

Cliffy B Lookin’ For Work! *looks for high fives*
*Can’t find high fives because some good people probably just lost their jobs*
*Gets sad*
*Remembers that CliffyB is kind of a turd*
*Still feels bad for good people who lost jobs but flashes a small smile*

Xijit
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Xijit

Well … At least his employees don’t have to worry about where to send their resume.

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cursedseishi

Can’t say I’m surprised. They tried to muscle into the hero shooter genre while lacking the one thing a hero shooter really needs: personality. A bunch of “f*** yous” and “No, f*** you!” a likable cast of characters does not make. Their ‘heroes’ also being as visually bland as their dialogue certainly didn’t help either.

Then they abandon ship and claim that their ‘passion’ project just so happens to be an attempt to shove their way into the current market fave with the battle royale genre. A passion project worked on for not even half a year before they crapped it out onto early access, had to immediately walk back OBVIOUS pay-to-win perks attached to it, while also trying to attract people to a game that was so barebones and graphically uncomplete that only the flashy ATMs and spinning wheels were what you could call “finished”.

Overseason it with a bucket load of Bleszinski salt over the media NOT being impressed by his games, a dash of rotten ego and a not insignificant amount of passing the blame onto his FORMER employer and their obviously more successful, better handled titles…

And yeah, dead studio. I’d say it sucks for those losing their jobs, but I’m guessing they likely knew the writing on the wall and were all well on their way out. And hopefully the ones who wanted to stick with it can find work somewhere that isn’t so reliant on… dude-bro overly macho-bullcrap dialogue the likes of which hasn’t been seen since DMC:dmc’s concept of ‘witty banter’.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

DAIKATANA 2.0!

CliffyB will never get rid of that shame.

Maybe he’ll crawl back to Epic? Because this is embarrassing.