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Photo Credit: Kienan Lafferty

Radical Heights Isn’t Radical at All Anymore

On the eve of April 10, 2018, Cliff “CliffyB” Bleszinski, the founder of BossKey Productions, announced a release of a new game that no one asked but probably needed… at least in his mind; a game called Radical Heights. “Ooh, maybe CliffyB is back to his pioneering years,” the gaming community thought. But alas, as it turns out, he did something that never learned from 3 years ago with LawBreakers—riding on the current trend of video games. Yes, Radical Heights is a carbon copy of a carbon copy of another carbon copy of many carbon copies of the concurrently oversaturated Battle Royale genre. But hey, this isn’t just the run-of-the-mill type of battle royale game. It’s an XTREME battle royale game! At least that’s what Bleszinki had in mind.

If you haven’t heard by now, Radical Heights is like an 80’s-themed tie-in between Grand Theft Auto Vice City, Monday Night Combat and Hotline Miami minus the massive violence… except this one is battle royale. Everything else is pretty much the same old rules: you pick a landing spot, you check for RNG items, you kill anyone that gets in your way and emerge as the victor while the premade audience cheers for you and Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best Around” plays in the background.

It’s quite colorful at times with all the retro aesthetic but that’s just the façade. Literally. Sure, you got glittery skins like you would often see from glam rock artists as well as 80’s action movie hero tropes but the rest is just quite unfinished.

Okay, it’s cool to forgive them for having clunky animations, empty of interior designs in buildings as well as flat gray concrete, but come on CliffyB, another battle royale game? There are already more battle royale games right now than all the DLCs sold separately in The Sims 3 and you just had to butt in on the trend? But hey, they have a reason for such actions: according to Zach Lowery, one of the key members of the dev team, said to that “We’re trying to understand that the market has changed,” after being asked what the fate of LawBreakers will be after its failure to rake success and consistent player base.

By that, he most likely meant, “Ah well CliffyB flunked that one so we’ll just go ride the wave where the kids surf in these days.” Okay, we like that it’s free-to-play but that alone cannot win the hearts of the crowd. They’re already too invested in Fortnite and PUBG. Maybe if they were earlier in the Battle Royale race, they could stand a chance but alas, at this point, their league is too far behind.

The game only had a 5-month development and it’s still growing while under Early Access, but will it even compete with BR giants at all when it comes to a completion? Would people actually give up Fortnite and PUBG in favor of that? They tried doing that with Overwatch and Paladins players with LawBreakers but guess what happened? It’s sad to say, CliffyB turned from one of the most respected creative directors in the world of video games, starting with Unreal Tournament and Gears of War, into a cash-grabbing clown.

We’ve seen the stints he did before, calling Overwatch and other shooters “bullshit” compared to the pre-release of LawBreakers but then backfired in the end, months after its release. Now with Radical Heights under their skin, all the technical support, patch updates and any future for LawBreakers are now long gone in favor of their battle royale game.

Radical Heights has gotten old really fast in both active users on Steam as well as viewership over on Twitch. In fact, you can’t see Radical Heights at all in the Steam statistics. And on Twitch? Nowhere to be found. Ninja, Summit1G and Shroud may have tried them but that was just one time and never again. Honestly, I feel nervous for CliffyB at this point. If he keeps on blindingly push forward with this game and the people have finally stopped riding the battle royale bandwagon, and then what? Another game in the dust? A legacy in which it becomes Bosskey Productions’ final nail in the coffin?

Bosskey Productions actually has potential. Remember Superhot back in 2016? That game was cool and people loved it but they never updated it anymore. If only CliffyB would come back to his good old days, pioneering great shooter games as he always had. Superhot was supposed to be its starting line but it turns out the only good plate in a set of course meals to his guests.

Beyond the 80’s aesthetic, I wish Radical Heights’ guns had something quirky like the ones in Saints Row 4, but no it’s just the generic AKs, M16s and M1911’s. This is supposed to be an 80s game show parody. This was supposed to be a parody of the battle royale itself. Instead, it turned out to be a tryhard cash-grab with expensive microtransactions.

Here’s to hoping Radical Heights has a shot against its opponents within the category.