Thursday, 17 May 2018 | MYT 7:30 AM
‘Radical Heights’, ‘LawBreakers’ developer shuts down
The studio behind recent Battle Royale disruptor Radical Heights, founded by former Gears of War design director Cliff Bleszinski, has suddenly closed.
Boss Key Productions is no more, after co-founder Cliff Bleszinski announced its closure on May 14.
Its abrupt shuttering is the result of financial difficulties encountered following the release of its first game, August 2017's LawBreakers, which generated significant intrigue as Bleszinski's first post-Gears of War title but entered a market dominated by two competitors with colossal momentum.
Published under the terms of a deal with South Korean giant Nexon, LawBreakers arrived on PC and PlayStation 4 at a time when Blizzard Entertainment's 2016 hit Overwatch had already established itself as the hero-based multiplayer shooter par excellence, while id Software's Quake Champions was gathering pace as a grizzlier alternative with franchise prestige.
At the same time, the PC gaming scene was being redefined by the record-breaking successes of 100-player Battle Royale genre spearhead PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or PUBG.
Despite a positive critical reception, LawBreakers failed to find a sizeable audience, and Boss Key withdrew active support in April 2018.
A matter of days later it launched an early work-in-progress version of Radical Heights, its own spin on the Battle Royale concept sporting a 1980s BMX sports aesthetic, an unusual TV game show theme and, like LawBreakers, a number of other welcome genre innovations.
Yet by that point the Battle Royale genre had produced Fortnite, developed by former Gears of War studio Epic Games, which was breaking out into mainstream culture with its kid-friendly cartoon style, free-to-play business model, and, by mid-March, started to cross over onto iOS devices.
“Four years ago I set out to make a world class videogame studio and I hired some of the best talent in the videogame industry,” Bleszinski wrote on his Twitter account; the full statement can be read here.
“LawBreakers was a great game that unfortunately failed to gain traction, and, in a last ditch attempt we scrambled to do our take on the huge battle royale genre [...] it was too little too late.”
“I hope to make something new again someday,” he wrote, noting the need to take some time off.
Though Boss Key is no more, it's not too late to sample Radical Heights before the lights go off; multiplayer servers will remain online “for the near future”. — AFP Relaxnews