Cliff Bleszinski's Boss Key Productions Shuts Down

Posted by | May 16, 2018 | News | No Comments
lawbreakers

It’s never good news when a video game developer closes its doors. This week prominent developer and industry veteran Cliff Bleszinski announced the closure of his studio, Boss Key Productions. The statement was posted via twitter, where he cited LawBreaker’s failing sales and Radical Heights being “too little late.”

Boss Key Productions was founded in 2014 by Bleszinski and programmer Arjun Brussee. The studio’s first project was competitive first person shooter LawBreakers. LawBreakers has been compared to Overwatch, minus the beloved character designs and wide range of play styles.

LawBreakers launched last fall. Despite decent reviews it failed to ever generate a player base or enough sales to keep the online game sustained in the long term.

Instead Boss Key quickly pivoted to Radical Heights, a Fortnite-like Battle Royale game that was lambasted for being a quick cash-grab on the popular genre. It’s only been out for a month via Steam Early Access.

What makes this closure interesting is that Bleszinski has been very open about his production woes on twitter. In a series of tweets he revealed concept art and ideas for games that he was pitching to big publishers. The games included DragonFlies, a co-op vehicular action game with dragons as planes, and Toobin, a cutesy VR racing game with cartoon animals.

Bleszinski broke into the industry at Epic Games, starting in 1992. In 20 years he helped create Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal Tournament, and the first three Gears of War games, becoming one of the most recognizable household names in game development. He has become one of the most successful game designers and producers, and thanks to early investment in VR through Oculus, one of the wealthiest.

He temporarily retired, a bit jaded from the games industry, in 2012. Two years later he returned to the industry by co-founding Boss Key.

Whether Bleszinski returns again to gaming remains uncertain, as he states: “Videogames will forever be a part of who I am and I hope to make something new again someday, however, I need to withdraw and take this time.

Eric Watson

About Eric Watson

Eric is a freelance writer who enjoys talking about video games, movies, books and Dallas-based sports teams. Every week he watches a random film from his collection of several hundred DVDs and live tweets about it @RogueWatson. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla. He lives near Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and daughter, two dogs, two cats, two fish tanks, some hermit crabs and a bookshelf full of Transformers.