Boss Key Productions closes down, Cliff Bleszinski is out
Game designer Cliff Bleszinski, co-founder of Boss Key Productions and a major force behind the development of the Gears of War franchise, is out of the gaming space according to a statement. He’s stepping away to spend time with this family, which he should. No amount of success is worth losing out on the people you love.
And unfortunately, this change also means the closure of the Boss Key Productions studio.
Since founding Boss Key in 2014, CliffyB has struggled to reach a successful point with the new company. They’ve released two major products, both of which appeared to be attempts to capitalize on majorly popular genres.
When competitive team shooters like Overwatch were mowing down the competition, Boss Key Productions tried to spin out Lawbreakers. And despite some decent critical coverage, the game floundered in terms of players. The game marked the start of a familiar road for Boss Key. They would release a promising game with new creative elements, only to have it fail to capture long-term interest from players.
A statement from Cliff Bleszinski reads:
As of today, Boss Key Productions is effectively no more.
Four years ago I set out to make a world-class video game studio and I hired some of the best talent in the videogame industry. They worked tirelessly to produce quality products, and while we had our ups and downs, I’d like to think we had fun doing it, Lawbreakers was a great game that unfortunately failed to gain traction, and, in a last-ditch attempt we scrambled to take on the huge battle royale genre with Radical Heights which was well received, however, it was too little too late.
As for myself, I’m going to take some time off to reflect. I need to focus on myself and family as well as my Aussie, Teddy, who is slowly fading from us. 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.
Please note that servers for Radical Heights will remain up in the near future.
When he says Radical Heights was “too little too late”, Cliff couldn’t have been more right. The game suffered from a total lack of substantive gameplay and polish, which was a direct consequence of rushed and under-funded development. The game quickly lost most of its playerbase within two weeks. So it’s pretty obvious at this point that the initial explosion in users was due to streamers and YouTube creators looking to make money from the game. A pretty sad fate for what was a promising F2P genre title.
Simply put, this is a lesson against chasing trends in game development. The most likely outcome is that you’ll end up broke and with your team out of a job within a couple of years. The best a trend-based game can hope for is being the worse version of a better game, and capturing moderate financial success for a short time. Overall, it just doesn’t seem worth it.
What do you think about chasing trends in game development? Let us know in the comments.
ISKMogul is a growing video game publication that got its start covering EVE Online, and has since expanded to cover a large number of topics and niches within the purview of gaming.