So what’s the key element in revitalizing the flagging player numbers for Lawbreakers? Cliff Bleszinski puts forth that part of the onus is on him to be, in his own words, “less of a dick” when interacting with people online. The game’s team is also revisiting the game’s overall marketing image and hopefully communicating more effectively what the game is about in play, which should hopefully entice more players to the game; Bleszinski repeatedly compared the process with the game to a marathon rather than a sprint.
We need the bodies. We need to keep fluffing up the CCU. We need to do what we can to let people know this is a really sweaty palm type of experience that can hopefully lend itself to e-sports. But you know, I have to keep this game alive, first and foremost.
He also states that the player numbers have been humbling, but that the game’s PlayStation 4 user base is doing fine. (The interviewer notes that matchmaking attempts on the console were unsuccessful over multiple attempts, but the tests in question were in Australia, which could be the culprit.) Check out the full interview if you’re interested in seeing whether the game can turn both is image and its player numbers around.
If you’re a big fan of Lawbreakers, don’t be dissuaded by the game’s tiny player numbers on Steam; there’s plans in the wings! The development team released a new roadmap to fans detailing a new map (Namsan) and a new onboarding experience to help players understand how to play the game right out of the gate. There are also new Skirmishes coming, which are new temporary map modes that give players new ways to play the game in the short term.
Further out, players can look forward to another new map, the game’s first post-launch class being added to the game, and the inclusion of the game’s competitive ranked league. The roadmap ends by reassuring players not to worry about those small user counts, which is of course totally reassuring and means that everything will probably be all right.
Lawbreakers seems to be turning into another one of those sad reminders that even renowned game designers have their failures from time to time.
The magic touch of Cliff Bleszinski (Unreal Tournament, Gears of War) hasn’t been enough to save this online shooter. Lawbreakers pretty much limped out of the gate and hasn’t been improving its numbers since release last month. In fact, VG247 notes that the game’s Steam Chart shows that the title has crashed from a peak of 7,482 players during testing to a mere few hundred gamers on any given day.
Keeping a critical mass going is important for PvP shooters, so it’s obvious that something needs to be done to bolster the population. One possible approach would be to make the game free-to-play and look at other revenue streams instead of box sales.
On the plus side, the game did get a shot of free publicity with a recent Penny Arcade comic strip, so there is that. It’s also possible that the PlayStation 4 numbers are much higher and capable of sustaining the game if PC cannot.
When one looks at a gravity-challenged game like Lawbreakers, one cannot help but wonder when the devs will add an update where your characters will have to fight a “nausea” meter while spinning and flipping through the air like some demented carnival ride.
No nausea meter yet, but the team did put out a small post-launch patch last week that adjusted downward (read: nerfed) some abilities that turned out to be a wee bit overpowered. These include the Harrier’s Convergence skill and the Wraith’s Wasp Sting. Gunslingers also felt the nerf bat pretty hard, but they did get a new mechanic that grants them a warp charge for every omega headshot. We assume that if you play the game, you’ll understand the words in the previous sentence.
Lawbreakers has been struggling with low numbers and rankings ever since the shooter’s launch several weeks ago. Boss Key CEO Cliff Bleszinski recently said that streaming the game during testing hurt its prospects.
Hey, kids! Want to read a big long interview with Cliff Bleszinski about launching LawBreakers? Because you probably shouldn’t read it if you’re an actual kid. There’s a lot of swearing and one anti-government rant in there about having to get your car inspected. But there is some useful information therein, like how Bleszinski thinks that streaming the LawBreakers alpha testing was a mistake that gave people the wrong impression. He also thinks that the title’s initial poor numbers are a reflection of the game in a live state is more about a marathon than a sprint, that the numbers will come naturally over time.
Bleszinski goes on to state that the game is meant to appeal to core shooter audiences rather than having what he describes as “kiddy bumpers” and an aesthetic moving away from what he refers to as “Anna and Elsa running around killing the zombies.” If you don’t mind a lot of swearing, by all means, check out the full interview.
If you’ve been following The Exiled for a bit, you know the game has been struggling to reach a large enough audience to sustain itself. Let’s hope that the game’s new limited-lives survival mode provides exactly that; the testing will be running all month for about three hours a day, forcing players to try the game in a different way. Here’s hoping!
The week has also seen one launch and one launch date; LawBreakers has officially launched (and run into some problems), while Tree of Life has announced its impending launch on August 17th.
You want more beta news? Now you’re just getting greedy. But fine.
Well, that was fun. If you’re not ready to say goodbye to this weekly feature just yet, please, feel free to run an inquisitive finger over the list we have down below while noting any games which have changed their status in the comments. Or letting us know if a link doesn’t work. Hey, we’re happy just to let you chat about your current betas. Flexibility.
Launches are vital to a new game. LawBreakers appears to be having some issues with its launch, and unfortunately they’re not the sort that can be patched away. The game’s peak concurrent users from launch on Steam appear to have topped out around 3,000 players, well outside of Steam’s top 100 games played and far below its (already rather low) 7,500 player peak during its first open beta.
This is a pretty significant hurdle to overcome; for a title relying heavily on exposure and other players, lacking that initial burst of visibility for new players to come check things out can cripple a game out of the gate. That gets even worse when you consider that the game is not free-to-play and thus requires an initial investment, which means that anyone looking into the game would first want to know if people are playing. Of course, none of this takes into account the console community, which might be far more robust; it’s just that the numbers on the PC do not look good despite positive reviews.
In spite of the fact that Boss Key is still trying to make that #skilledaf hashtag a thing on Twitter, Nexon/CliffyB’s brand-new shooter LawBreakers appears to be swooping through the fires of launch relatively unsinged. Steam reviews in particular aren’t the usual pit of doom that most online games of this size (700K pre-launch testers) see at launch; the game is nearing 1000 weigh-ins as I write this, and it’s still in the “very positive” territory, with most of the criticism being lobbed at unbalanced or overpowered characters. So basically, a video game then.
There was one snag: major stuttering on the PS4 version of the game, which Eurogamer reports is causing a third of a second in framerate losses, something quite visible to anyone playing. Eurogamer also expresses skepticism over Boss Key’s implication that it’s an issue isolated to entering and exiting matches and points out that the problem didn’t exist in the PS4 beta.
“We are currently aware and investigating a hitching issue on PS4 when joining/leaving a match or changing roles,” the devs plastered into the launcher. “Thanks for your understanding while we work to resolve the issue.”
The Nexon-backed, Cliff Bleszinski-led online shooter LawBreakers is finally live today on both PC (Steam) and PlayStation 4. The game is just shy of 30 bucks, and “all future, non-cosmetic content updates are included at this price,” according to the developers. I’m sure you’ll hold them to that.
“The frenetic shooter brings unprecedented vertical combat, allowing players to deliver fatal blows from every direction utilizing innovative movement systems and combat abilities. Choose between nine dynamic roles, eight gravity-defying maps, and five buzzer-beating game modes in high-intensity multiplayer team-based battles that will challenge even the most skilled FPS player.”
The game’s had an interesting path to here, its devs having gone back to the drawing board once already to retool the game after alpha began last year. Check out the new “Skilled AF” trailer (…) and new images down below, along with a roundup of all our coverage to date!
Be honest: Would you even know what LawBreakers is if it weren’t for the fact that CliffyB is attached to it? Nexon and Boss Key are well aware of this problem and have said as much in a new interview on Gamasutra today, specifically noting that the shooter market is outrageously competitive and oversaturated. Consequently, lead designer Dan Nanni says, the dev team is trying to avoid the herd and focus on whatever the other guys aren’t doing, all in an attempt to stand out.
“If we made decisions that made the game play too similarly to one of our key competitors, we knew we’d get overshadowed. […] If our competition was moving heavily towards special abilities, we’d keep focusing heavily on gunplay. If they remained mostly on the ground, then we’d keep pushing hard to put our players in the skies. The focus on gravity being a central gameplay element and blind-fire being a combat mechanic were ideas from the very beginning. The original seed of LawBreakers was more about theme than about function.”
Escape from Tarkov is heading into closed beta testing this weekend, complete with a trailer, so now’s your chance to jump in if you bought one of the founder packages. Is there more beta news? Of course there is.
- Early access for Citadel: Forged with Fire has already begun. (Forging with fire is good, fire is used for forging stuff.) This is despite having a slightly rough beta weekend, so caveat emptor and so forth.
- Did you remember that Lawbreakers was entering open beta today? Because it’s totally happening. The game launches on August 8th, so you’ve only got a little time to try it out before the launch. (See, the title has a double-meaning based on anti-gravity antics and breaking of the law of gravity. I think.)
- Guess what else has opened up? That’s right, OrbusVR has entered open alpha testing today, so everyone with a VR headset and time to test out the game’s interface can log in and go. (The title probably has something to do with orbs. And… VR, that one’s obvious.)
- Feeling left out of the party in Worlds Adrift? Good news is that there are more founders packs available now, so you can get in and go. Happy times! (There are… things drifting, I suppose. Worlds, presumably.)
- Last but certainly not least, Valiance Online has started its investor alpha today (and reminds us all that “valiance” is a pretty great superhero word, like “valor” or “virtue” or “paragon” or “uncanny”). So that’s moving along at a good clip.
Below this point, of course, we launch into the ever-lengthy list of games in current testing. Has something failed to be moved into the correct category? Please, do let us know down in the comments. Or just let us know about betas you’re enjoying.
Forget everything you know about physics and first-person shooters because Lawbreakers is about to make gravity its plaything. The wild-and-wooly team shooter announced today that it will be rolling out an open beta test starting this Friday to both PC and PlayStation 4 players who want to try some gravity-defying death matches.
The open beta will run from July 28th through the 31st, although players can go ahead and pre-load the game a day in advance so they don’t have to miss a minute when the OBT goes live. Following the open beta test will be about a week of internal preparation followed by Lawbreakers’ official launch on August 8th.
The base edition of the game is $30, and by pre-ordering, players can secure exclusive skins. Additionally, anyone who jumps into the game between August 8th and 15th will receive Kinetic Blades for the Wraith and Assassin classes for free.
Steamgoers are getting their first chance to hop into LawBreakers this weekend as Nexon and Boss Key are kicking off another beta event on PC, this one open to everyone on Valve’s platform, which should add a few more bodies to the game, yeah?
The studios are touting new content for this round of beta, including the new Vertigo map in the Sierra Nevadas, a new Uplink mode, and WEAPON STICKERS. It’s the summer of stickers, man.
New Map: Vertigo – located in a remote location in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Vertigo is a high-altitude reconnaissance outpost with near suborbital elevation;
New Mode: Uplink – capture the uplink in the centre of the map and deliver to your team base, continuing to protect it until points are earned;
Weapon Stickers – players can test a new customisation feature and earn a special Beta participant Weapon Sticker by completing five matches during the event. This reward transfers to the full release of the game at launch.