boss key

LawBreakers is free-to-play for now, then gone in September

We all knew it was coming, but now it’s official: LawBreakers is now free-to-play on Steam, so you can dive right in and play if you want. That’s the good news; the bad news is that the game is indeed going away for good on September 14th. The servers will remain open until then, but all in-game purchases have been disabled and no refunds will be processed for the game from this point onward.

There’s no word on turning any of the code or server-hosting options over to the community, although it’s entirely possible that it would be out of the question due to agreements with Nexon. If you want to give the game a spin and either mourn its loss or find out why it didn’t gain traction, you can do just that now; just know that it’s all going away sooner rather than later.

Source: Steam page via Polygon; thanks to Kyler and Pepperzine for the tip!

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The Stream Team: Returning to Radical heights before it ends

Even though Massively OP’s MJ is not a fan of battle royale, she was amused by the atmosphere of Radical Heights. And since the game can shut off at any moment now that the studio has closed, she wants to get one last session of crazy ’80s in. Join us in live at 6:00 p.m. for what could be the last day ever for…

What: Radical Heights
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 19th, 2018

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Radical Heights’ CliffyB posts some ‘what could’ve been’ concepts

Alas, poor Cliff Bleszinski, forced to give up on so many game ideas after the closure of Boss Key Productions. If you’re interested in Bleszinski’s various early concepts, he’s posted a few on Twitter: DragonFlies (a dragon-riding air combat game), DogWalkers (a VR mech shooter with multiple people playing different parts of a mech), and Donuts (described as “Mario Kart with animals on water in VR”). You can choose for yourself whether or not these games would have likely been successful, although the term “VR” is showing up there an awful lot; these are still the very early stages of concept design, so it’s impossible to know.

If only we hadn’t all collectively decided to play other games instead of LawBreakers and Radical Heights!

Meanwhile, CliffyB’s staff took to Twitter to discuss the way the studio’s closure was handled. Here’s lead producer Ron LaJoie.

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Radical Heights patches in a new scanner and new customization

Where are your enemies in Radical Heights? Considering the fact that it’s a battle royale game, they’re everywhere. But the latest patch adds in a new scanner device that should still be useful; even if everyone is your enemy, it’s good to know if anyone is nearby and whether or not people are approaching you or chasing someone else. You can make a tactical decision about avoiding or engaging, after all.

The patch also adds a number of new cosmetic options for players, along with a plethora of bug fixes and performance improvements. The game’s player numbers have still been flagging from its initial heights at launch, so it remains to be seen if these tweaks and improvements help draw a greater playerbase to the game. But if your main reason for not playing was the lack of enemy radar, you’ll be very lucky!

Source: Steam page; thanks to Sorenthaz for the tip!

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Radical Heights teases female characters and jumping through windows

There’s still plenty of stuff going on in the development of Radical Heights, and Cliff Bleszinski is showing it off on Twitter. What sort of stuff? Well… women, for one. Yes, playable ladies are on deck, and a preview image shows them in all of their shoulder-padded leg-warmed glory. Why there are shoulderpads on a workout outfit is a mystery for the ages.

The team is also working on allowing players to dive through windows, which looks very dramatic and would tend to result in a face full of glass if attempted in real life. There’s also a tip reminding players to take on the “Special Delivery” bike matches for powerful armor, so if you’re one of the players fighting it out in the game, take that under advisement. Also, please do not attempt to jump through any windows in real life. It’s going to hurt and you shouldn’t do it.

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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.

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The Stream Team: A first look at Radical Heights

How radical is Radical Heights? That’s the question Massively OP’s MJ aims to answer as she pokes her head in this new game for the very first time. Could this blast of ’80s thug life make this battle royale “the one”? Can it convert MJ to the genre? Can she just not be the first to die? Find the answers by tuning in live at 8:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at…

What: Radical Heights
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, April 14th, 2018

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Radical Heights has only barely topped LawBreakers’ all-time player count

It’s important to note that Radical Heights has only just been sent out into the wild, and its surprise launch was less “highly anticipated” and more “utterly unexpected.” Comparisons after a day in the wild are going to be hard to make. Nevertheless, after a day in release, the title has managed to pass the all-time player high for Boss Key’s LawBreakers… barely. It’s within 1000 players of that game’s all-time player high, a number that you may recall was pretty weak for a title published by a major company and with lots of marketing behind it.

The game’s Steam page currently lists its reviews as “mixed,” with many players bemoaning its obviously early development state causing numerous bugs and performance issues. It’s apparently not even developed enough to allow playing as a female character, which seems like a pretty basic option to leave out of a release. That doesn’t mean that the game’s going to be unable to pull itself together and continue turning up in popularity, but looking at the day one numbers, this is something less than a good sign.

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Having given up on LawBreakers, Boss Key is launching battle royale game Radical Heights tomorrow

Last week, we wrote about the de facto maintenance-moding of LawBreakers, as Boss Key admitted the game wasn’t making money, not even enough to justify going free-to-play. At the time, the studio said that while it would support the game as it stood, it was also moving on to something new – a “passion project” that Boss Key is “in complete control of.” Do we detect some shade for Nexon there from the company whose boss told the press to fuck off? Surely not.

Anyway, when Boss Key said it was moving on, few people probably thought that meant “six days from now,” but that is indeed what’s happening. It’s announced a brand-new game – of course it’s a battle royale title – with an even more over-the-top thug-life style than LawBreakers had, and much more neon ’80s retro flavor and tawdry The Running Man-esque decadence. It’s called Radical Heights. Hey bro, let’s play some Rad. Brb, RadHi time. Hmm. Not sure. Then again, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue either.

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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.”

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Perfect Ten: More anthropomorphic MMO studio conversations

A while back, you may recall that I posted some of my conversations with anthropomorphized concepts of MMO studios. If you don’t remember this, you will not be eligible for this year’s Remembering Championship, but considering the fact that said championship is mostly determined by who remembers to show up, odds of that were always low. It’s a memory championship, after all. You can’t judge that like, say, curling.

What were we talking about? Oh, right, MMO studios. Despite that single column, I have continued to have other conversations with various studios, most of which have gone about as well as the first batch. So if you’ve long awaited to know more about the concepts I speak with, your wishes have come true.

If you wish to know about my conversations with my neighbor, I cannot help you.

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LawBreakers is the weak link in Nexon’s Q3 2017 financial results

Here’s the good news for Nexon’s Q3 2017 investor call: The company had a good set of third-quarter results overall, and it has a strong lineup of titles in the pipeline, including the long-awaited and largely unrevealed Final Fantasy XI mobile incarnation. Here’s the bad news: LawBreakers was the weak link in its lineup. Not only was it responsible for the majority of the company’s losses during the quarter, but company CTO Shiro Uemura stated that the game would acquire no further losses, meaning that it had functionally been written off altogether.

What does that mean for the future of the game? Nothing positive; companies don’t tend to write off games they plan to continue supporting. Your speculation is welcome, but it should run toward darker possibilities. On the bright side, it looks like the future is bright for Nexon as a whole, so based on player numbers the fate of LawBreakers is not so much cloudy as it is unpleasant.

Also worth noting is that Nexon has merged its Nexon RED and NDOORs subsidiaries, both with a roster of successful games under their belts. The merge is aimed at providing more consolidated and skilled mobile game development.

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