A former Boss Key Productions employee who currently works at Epic Games has responded to a few incendiary tweets from Cliff Bleszinski over the weekend, claiming that Epic has been slowly "hiring away" his team at the new studio. Bleszinski is the CEO of Boss Key Productions, and the team just launched new game show-like multiplayer shooter Radical Heights.
Previously, Bleszinski had tweeted to Epic Games to ask them if the company could "please stop trying to hire away" his team, commenting that they'd just launched Radical Heights and are "really happy" with how it's going -- despite the fact that it launched with a slightly higher player count than LawBreakers' all-time peak.
After his co-founder and friend Arjan Brussee departed Boss Key Productions to work at Epic Games for a "secret project", Bleszinski has seemed increasingly dissatisfied with the company, though Epic hasn't made any responses to his tweets in an official capacity.
However, new Epic Games senior programmer William McCarroll, who left Boss Key Productions last month, did tweet a response to Cliff's accusatory remarks. He stated that “assuming that Epic is the one starting contact / poaching is a bit presumptuous. We all had our own reasons for making the choice to leave [Boss Key Productions] for Epic, and to act like we are commodities being stolen is a bit hurtful. We are people first and foremost.”
With all due respect, assuming that Epic is the one starting contact / poaching is a bit presumptuous. We all had our own reasons for making the choice to leave BKP for Epic, and to act like we are commodities being stolen is a bit hurtful. We are people first and foremost.— William McCarroll (@NerdbloggerWil) April 14, 2018
Bleszinski has remained silent since McCarroll offered a response, as has Epic Games. With tumultuous projects like LawBreakers and Radical Heights at Boss Key Productions and Fortnite at Epic Games, it's a no-brainer that employees would flock to the studio with more hits currently under its belt for a bit more stability when it comes to their careers. Perhaps that's something that Bleszinski should keep in mind when looking at things from an employee's perspective.
Brittany Vincent posted a new article, Former Boss Key Productions Employee Responds to Cliffy B's 'Poaching' Allegations
Hmm, the way that was worded does sound like he was thinking of them as a commodity. If that's the case, then it doesn't surprise me that people would leave.
Radical Height is only around 5k active players now, and the count is going down each day. Could be Lawbreakers Territory by June
After the numbers that Radical Heights is putting out player wise, I don't blame any of them for jumping ship. I think it peaked at less than 10k at launch and it's a free game.
I kinda feel bad for Cliffy. Trying to get his own thing going, and just can't to seem to get it off the ground. It's kinda like David Jaffey all over again. Obviously a talented developer with plenty of experience under the belt. Yet when they try to strike it out on their own, they can't quite seem to find that magic.
Who's next I wonder...? Kojima perhaps?
There's something to be said for an established team. There's a lot of rapport there that can't just be easily replaced with some fresh artists and programmers. Pile on top of that the realities of running your own studio as a business.... I think that could be why a lot of AAA-gone-Indie devs start to struggle. Without the business foundation and team-experience foundation in place to support a creative and experienced developer, they are less likely to succeed.
Not sure what the solution is, really. My instinct is to tell them... work on building up what you lost, rather than going straight away for that pet project that you think will sell. Build a solid business with a team works well together, ship a couple games that have solid publisher backing or a solid brand (like Transformers or something)... then once that foundation is in place, go for the homerun.