Gravity Defying Lawbreakers Is Coming Back Down To Earth

Cliff Bleszinski says the game's launch has been a 'humbling' experience for him, but he and his team are going to keep it alive.

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Not every launch can be as rosy as Destiny 2's, but a sputtering launch doesn't mean game over. Cliff Bleszinski is fully aware of Lawbreaker's poor performance thus far, but all is not lost. Cliffy B and Boss Key are steady at work on new content for the current dedicated community and they're upping the ante on marketing to bring more players into the fold.

"There is a situation where players look at numbers on Steam; that doesn't happen on PlayStation 4. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but you look at PC, [concurrent user] health versus PS4, PS4 is doing fine," he said in an interview with Gamespot. "People cough up 30 bucks and hop online and they don't overthink it. On PC there is you wanting to declare something a success or a bomb by this internet culture that loves to just observe things. But it's like, guys, you know, the small bit [of players] that we have, we're going to continue to iterate and engage. As we issue content drops, maybe there's going to be sales or potential free weekends down the line, continue to fluff that CCU up."

CCU, if you're not familiar, stands for concurrent users. When multiplayer-only shooters appear on the scene, they come out of the gate with a stout uphill struggle in front of them. Not only do they have to justify the initial purchase, they must have a plan in place to engage their community for the long term while making they reel in more and more players to grow their CCU. A recent example of a game rapidly growing its CCU is PUBG, which just broke Steam's record for CCU.

"We need the bodies. We need to keep fluffing up the CCU," Bleszinski said. "We need to do what we can to let people know this is a really sweaty palm type of experience that can hopefully lend itself to eSports. But you know, I have to keep this game alive, first and foremost. I can be very cocky and very brash on social media. And realizing that, you know, we have a fledgling player base. It's been very humbling for me. I'm going to continue to iterate on this game, continue to add to it. And try to be less of a dick, honestly."

Boss Key is hard at work on additional maps, the competitive mode called Boss League, a Team Deathmatch mode, and more. We reviewed Lawbreakers and called it "Chaotic Good", but just being good isn't enough. The team is overhauling the marketing of the game, making it more inviting for new players and making sure that the differences between it and its competitors are plain and that potential newcomers understand exactly what makes Lawbreakers a good shooter worth investing in.

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at Charles.Singletary@Shacknews.com.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    September 18, 2017 5:40 PM

    Charles Singletary posted a new article, Gravity Defying Lawbreakers Is Coming Back Down To Earth

    • Zek
      reply
      September 18, 2017 6:17 PM

      It takes a lot of balls to launch a multiplayer-only game - the thought of putting in all that work and having it fail is heartbreaking to me. At least with a singleplayer game your work lives on in perpetuity, and you can always get more people to play it with sales etc. A multiplayer game that dies is just gone and never coming back.

    • reply
      September 18, 2017 6:40 PM

      "On PC there is you wanting to declare something a success or a bomb by this internet culture that loves to just observe things."

      Poor CliffyB. You can tell he really wants people to believe this stuff.

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        September 18, 2017 7:10 PM

        Yeah... People and their "metrics." We measure success by virtual kittens :)

      • reply
        September 19, 2017 4:41 AM

        If you ask me, that sounds like another way of saying people will watch it but have no desire to play it... not the best complaint you could have had, Cliffy

    • reply
      September 18, 2017 8:20 PM

      Of course the Creator isnt going to say the games dead. It's just in a real bad spot right now.

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        September 18, 2017 8:31 PM

        They had almost 150 player concurrency today. That's not dead yet.

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      September 18, 2017 8:36 PM

      Weird- I would think they would want to rework the entire game instead thinking external forces made it impossible for it to succeed.

      The whole creative direction of the product is misguided at best. You can't declare something cool. It needs to be inherently fun and then it becomes cool.

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      September 18, 2017 8:39 PM

      Yeah CliffyB, insult your potential clients "this internet culture that just likes to observe". Works wonders!

    • reply
      September 19, 2017 12:46 AM

      Game is pretty Much EOL. We all saw this same thing with BattleBorn.

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        September 19, 2017 7:25 AM

        Battleborn wasn't this bad population out of the gate. But, we are seeing this with a lot of games now. I think the question is how many it will take before the games journalists start looking into the trends at work instead of drooling over whichever game is dominating a cycle.

        CillfyB makes a point after all:

        "There is a situation where players look at numbers on Steam"

        Shacknews is complicit in this:

        http://www.shacknews.com/topic/steam

        • reply
          September 19, 2017 10:22 AM

          Games of all types need to hit the right combination of quality, hype, and advertising out the gate to make it worthwhile. The larger your expense at putting the game together the higher those all have to rise, sometimes at an exponential rate.

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          September 19, 2017 10:43 AM

          MP Games need to have constantly new updates that don't fragment the community to keep things fresh and interesting. Rainbow 6 Siege gets new maps and operators that are free for everyone to unlock and release in seasons. PUBG gets new weapons, updates, tweaks, and features constantly. Some of those changes like the upcoming vaulting will change the nature of the game. Overwatch has events that draw everyone in.

          Also the amount of P2W needs to be minimal. Overwatch, R6, and PUBG are all cosmetic and you can find the same stuff on the ground in PUBG often enough it's not really worth buying IMO. For Honor had neat mechanics however there weren't enough variety in maps, 3v3 felt limiting, and the skill gap was huge.

          Gameplay is another thing too. My favorite thing about PUBG is how quick you can get into a new game right away. It's like a rollercoaster ride where there's one line and they built an unlimited number of rides that start as soon as it gets full. R6 Siege more or less the same and even though they have smaller numbers, getting in game is quick and easy just as much as PUBG which sports even larger numbers. So this style of quick turnaround scales incredibly well and overall game population doesn't factor in too much. Games like BF1 need a healthy population size to keep servers loaded but not packed or too many of them barren that no one wants to join just to get the ball rolling but be stuck waiting for 10-12 people to get started.

          • reply
            September 19, 2017 11:31 AM

            Battleborn needed 5 players to get started (less if you PVE, then it is 2). 10 for a full game. They released content constantly and had, in my opinion, too many game modes by the end. They had weekly blog updates on their patch strategies and balance as well as lore.(https://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/c/battleborn/news)

            Titanfall 2 did it all for free and has kept doing it on top of a solid SP experience. It doesn’t top 5k concurrent users.

            I'm sorry, but all that stuff is fluff. People like to point to something as a qualitative reason why their preferred game must be succeeding, but it doesn't add up. You like it, you can say why you like it, that has very little to do with popularity. As CliffyB said, people like to pick a side on the internet, once the phrase for Battlefront was "content light" that phrase was uttered all over (also shallow) despite it being essentially meaningless as PUBG has shown with its one map, no sp, fewer weapons, and jankier movement.

            We really need to get over this idea that the quality and/or quantity of content is a determining factor. CliffyB has a legit point and we are just going to see it play out again and again on PC.

    • reply
      September 19, 2017 4:46 AM

      The game's biggest problem in my opinion is the game's forgettable art direction, game feels like it has no soul, characters are forgettable.

      As gameplay wise, i remember playing beta/alpha (not sure which one) and feeling so underwhelmed but i could have given it another chance if the game's world looked at least interesting.
      Hopefully we'll get it soon in one of steam's free weekends, i bet that a lot has improved since those betas/alphas.

      • reply
        September 19, 2017 6:59 AM

        Yeah same, I just saw it and man it just did nothing for me. Its probably a descent shooter but I already have a few shooters in rotation so since it doesnt stand out.....

    • reply
      September 19, 2017 4:48 AM

      It needs to be F2P on PC.

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        September 19, 2017 5:26 AM

        Same thing was said for Evolve, yet it failed miserably. Another example is battleborn.

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          September 19, 2017 6:37 AM

          At this point no reason not to.

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          September 19, 2017 6:51 AM

          Didn't they wait like a whole year before making Evolve free to play?

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          September 19, 2017 10:03 AM

          I don't know if the F2P experiment failed with Evolve as it brought almost double the amount of people to the game compared to what it had at launch for a time. Could be it wasn't compelling enough for them to stick around. Part of the problem there could also be all the middling to negative word of mouth toward that game in all the time leading up to that point as well. Battleborn seemed like it was in a similar situation, although they didn't wait quite as long to try F2P.

          I wonder what state Lawbreakers would be in right now if they actually kept it free to play like their original plans? I didn't even know they switched it from F2P to a normal release until it was about to come out, they were very bad at marketing and explaining that game, but they also aren't a large studio with a major publisher backing them. Harder to get recognition. I don't know, I feel that even if they stuck to F2P at launch, the game still might not have been fun enough to capture a real following, although I'd have to imagine there would be more active players on all platforms than their currently is.

          But that could just be me thinking narrowly of my own approach of at least giving it a try like most F2P games. I wanted to play Lawbreakers but once the barrier to entry was there along with the disappointing word of mouth, I lost all interest and went back to other games. The numbers on steam weren't the reason to skip it for me, but the seeming result of most everyone skipping it.

    • reply
      September 19, 2017 7:19 AM

      Arena FPS fans should get Diabotical on their radar.

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      September 19, 2017 8:45 AM

      Fuck cliffyb

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      September 19, 2017 10:11 AM

      Rainbow Siege was given the death nod out the gate from reviewers that spent all of 10 minutes playing and rehashed the bullshit about microtransactions and somehow the game gained strength and is a huge hit now and that's because it's actually a great game. I think the biggest problem with Lawbreakers is it isn't such a great game at heart.

      • reply
        September 19, 2017 10:48 AM

        Yeah, Siege is one of the best things Ubisoft has put out in a long time, and - miracle of miracles - they seem to be supporting the game in the mid to long term.

    • reply
      September 19, 2017 10:18 AM

      I have faith in Cliffy to make a great multiplayer experience. He's definitely got the experience under his belt. But from the very beginning, LB seemed like a game that was geared toward nobody I know.

      Even a great game like Titanfall 2 has been struggling with multiplayer retention.

      Anyway, I hope BossKey supports the game for another 3 more months, then dumps it to work on their next title. From the Let's Plays and stuff I've seen, the game is technically sound with good polish. They just need a theme or some gameplay that resonated better with players. Youngins don't need a another CoD. They probably don't want an Unreal Tournament. Same goes for old shackers in their mid/late 30s.

      Anyway, it's Cliffy's first game in his new studio. Give him some time to settle in to something great.

      • reply
        September 19, 2017 10:20 AM

        Most studios can't financially withstand their first game being a huge flop, so will see if they even make a 2nd game??

        • reply
          September 19, 2017 10:28 AM

          Yeah, totally true.

          But Cliffy has fuck-you money after investing in Oculus before it got bought by Facebook. He didn't even need to come out of retirement.. he just wants to make games again.

          That could be a good thing, or a bad one.

          I mean, David Jaffy, for all the recognition and accolades he got for Twisted Metal and God of War... he launched his own studio too, and he has yet to really take off with a hit that has resonated as hard as his previous works.

          I think part of it is definitely budget... but who knows, part of it just could be the director and team. Sometimes a team is just magic together, and when it splits up, that magic is gone, and no single member really shines quite as bright. (I'm looking at you, GFW Radio Podcast!!)