It was only a matter of time until the gaming community was expecting the downfall of Cliff “CliffyB” Bleszinski’s game development team, Bosskey Productions, to shut down inevitably after the failed launch of their hero-based arena First-Person Shooter, Lawbreakers, and their recently released Early Access-launched battle royale carbon copy, Radical Heights.
On May 14, 2018, CliffyB made an abrupt announcement on Twitter:
A statement: pic.twitter.com/LwJD54bCwL
— Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) May 14, 2018
It is very disheartening to know that such development team that is leagues behind AAA companies has been added to the “death count” of many other good dev teams. Bosskey Productions may have had a notorious reputation for releasing games that have huge potential but end up as watered-down trash, but there is no doubt that Bosskey could have been one of those dev teams that could redeem themselves by creating a revolutionary game. After all, this is CliffyB’s production and he is known to be very creative in the innovation of video game trends.
While CliffyB has closed down his company, he still said that Radical Heights will still be online, however, we do not know how long that will last. Could the game still get its polishing and make up for the loss of LawBreakers? Maybe a pocket of Bosskey Productions will still balance the game and maybe make it even better? Who knows. But there is no doubt there won’t be any more creations from his company.
On April 9, 2018, CliffyB announced a game that he considered as “Battle Royale but better” in an effort to show that Bosskey Productions had what it takes to confront big battle royale giants such as Epic Games’ Fortnite and Bluehole’s PUBG. He called it “Radical Heights”, a battle royale that plays like an 80s TV show in which he claims is “XTREME BATTLE ROYALE”. The game was set to release as “Xtreme Early Access” the day after, April 10, 2018.
On April 11 to April 18, the game peaked to 100,000 views thanks to the spectating eyes from Ninja, Grimmmz and Myth’s audiences. While the numbers were high, the impressions were low—even if it was in Early Access, the people were unforgiving about the game being extremely “underbaked” and so many jagged areas, unlike how Epic Games created Fortnite and released as Early Access but turned it to be smooth and quite honestly very polished despite the unfinished product.
The numbers started to dwindle in viewerships as nobody wanted to play it on a consistent basis as time went on. On May 1, 2018, the game was even no longer found in Steam’s daily active user’s chart.
CliffyB was always known to make ambitious titles ever since his involvement with Epic Games—you do realize that he and the team came up with the legendary Unreal series, right? Yes, the man was also behind what would be today’s most influential game development software—the Unreal Engine.
In fact, he was known to revolutionize and compete with high profile game titles within a genre: he came up with Unreal Tournament to face off against Quake Arena. After the success of both Unreal and Unreal Tournament, he would move on to create a single player project called Rune, which used the same software created in his former games. The game was well-received by critics and fans alike.
Due to the popular demand of a sequel to Unreal Tournament, the next consecutive years would be a shining moment to the Unreal series, as well as the evolution of the Unreal engine from 1.0 to 2.0. All of the Unreal games from Unreal Tournament 2003 to Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict has received great reviews. He turned down on the project for Unreal Tournament 3 to focus on Gears of War.
Bleszinski helped in the creation of Unreal Engine 3.0, which would be the software used for his groundbreaking game Gears of War. Following the success of the trilogy, he then leads the design to pay homage to arena shooters with a mix of the grisly GoW theme in Bulletstorm.
In 2014, he retired from Epic Games after 20 years of working for them. Despite his statement in 2015 saying he has retired for good, he returned in 2016, with his own company called Boss Key Productions, later on creating the smash hit Superhot and announced that he will create a “Class-based shooter so good, it’s going to kill Overwatch,” with LawBreakers. Despite the huge ambition he has for his project, its player activity flunked months after its release. In 2018, LawBreakers has become a free-to-play shooter but even that did not save the game at all.
It’s just really sad that Bosskey started out with a quite unique yet underrated shooter such as Superhot would end up becoming “one of those devs” that just make complete knock-offs from other knock-offs.
Here’s to hoping CliffyB will have another shot into making video games great again.