Cliff Bleszinski's Boss Key Studio Closes, Radical Heights Servers Will Remain Open For Now

Pour one out for the studio that brought us Radical Heights and LawBreakers. 

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Boss Key Productions CEO and former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski has announced that the studio is no more, as of today.

In his statement, Bleszinski laments the decision to found Boss Key Productions four years ago, as he set out to make a "world class video game studio" and hired some of the best talent he could find to do so. "I'd like to think we had fun doing it," he said of the experience. Unfortunately, neither Radical Heights or LawBreakers could quite reach the targets laid out for them, as LawBreakers' player counts eventually dwindled down to nothing, and Radical Heights' opening player counts weren't much better than LawBreakers at its peak. 

This news comes a little over five weeks after Boss Key launched Radical Heights out of nowhere back in April. The arrival of Radical Heights came hot on the heels of the studio's announcement that its multiplayer shooter Lawbreakers would no longer be receving active development. As if things weren't already shaky enough, a minor spat between Bleszinkski and Epic Games went public after the Boss Key CEO made some posts on Twitter accusing Epic Games of poaching talent from the Lawbreakers team. Radcial Heights was seen by many as a hail mary by the studio to keep afloat. Whatever numbers it had to hit to keep the lights on were not met and Bleszinksi admitted as much in today's announcement. 

Though this is the end of Bleszinski's adventures with his own company, this may not be the end for him when it comes to the video game industry. He's stated that he'll be taking some time off to spend with family and his loved ones, but hopefully after the break he comes back fully rested, recharged, and ready to kick some more ass. 

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Fueled by horror, rainbow-sugar-pixel-rushes, and video games, Brittany is a Senior Editor at Shacknews who thrives on surrealism and ultraviolence. Follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake and check out her portfolio for more. Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched!

From The Chatty
    • reply
      May 14, 2018 12:05 PM

      FeelsBadMan

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      May 14, 2018 12:07 PM

      Brutal, I liked the people that worked there.

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      May 14, 2018 12:18 PM

      That was quick?

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      May 14, 2018 12:51 PM

      This timeline sucks.

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      May 14, 2018 1:02 PM

      Here's a piece of brutality, the lead producer on Radical Heights learning of his studio's closure at the same time as the rest of us: https://twitter.com/ron_lajoie/status/996093337672273920 Fuck CliffyB.

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          May 14, 2018 1:29 PM

          If I had the cash to buy Boss Key, I'd probably wait until DICE shows of the Battle Royale mode in the next Battlefield game first. That's going to be the one that could dethrone PUBG and Fortnite

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            May 14, 2018 1:42 PM

            Don't forget that CoD may also have a Battle Royale mode.

            I could be totally wrong but it feels like Fortnite is unstoppable. I haven't played a game of it in my life but with things like its dances being used in sports celebrations and the Drake/Ninja stream its clearly crossed over into "cultural phenomenon" territory.

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              May 14, 2018 2:03 PM

              I mean second life was a "cultural phenomenon" the second the behemoths of the industry like cod/bf dip their balls in the honey a good chunk of the playerbase might vanish. Everyone was like PUBG is going to dominate for xyz years! And all it took a was a competent studio taking a halfassed soulless game like fortnight and hammed a battle royal mode on top to steal their lunch money.

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                May 14, 2018 2:06 PM

                To be fair, PUBG relied on the fact that there was very little competition. If they had only fixed the jank, and hired a half way decent business guy to handle their affairs, they wouldn't be in this mess.

                Did you know they messed up a deal with Red Bull? Again more money down the drain.

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                  May 14, 2018 2:11 PM

                  Are they in a mess? Game still seems pretty popular, no?

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                    May 14, 2018 2:41 PM

                    Their player base is rapidly shrinking and PUBG dev don't seem competent enough to turn the situation around. Right now they need a major cash infusion to expand their team and turn this shit around. Before fortnite, that was a sure bet. Now it seems like a risky investment.

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                      May 14, 2018 3:13 PM

                      Ah, ok. Oh well, fun while it lasted.

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                      May 14, 2018 3:39 PM

                      I’d have to assume there’s a floor. PUBG fans love the vehicles so I assume that’s a competitive moat they have, at least until DICE releases their BR

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                    May 14, 2018 5:17 PM

                    Its still the biggest game on Steam. Numbers have been declining but we also have no idea when things will level out. Considering how much it does differently than Fortnite I think its way too early to declare it dead. It feels like there’s more than enough space for both.

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                  May 14, 2018 2:13 PM

                  Nope had no idea about the red bull deal but yeah that’s why my emphasis was on "competent".

                  If a company with a built in playerbase with experience in competitive play like blizzard would go in on something like that it would take a lot of media attention of any game.

                  Epic does well as a engine peddler but how well would they do against the marketing might of the publishers behind dice/treyarch/blizzard?

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                    May 14, 2018 2:40 PM

                    Epic has a large presence at E3 this year and supposedly has lots planned for it

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                  May 14, 2018 5:36 PM

                  "Messed up a deal", literally or are you just speaking to the fact the had like-branded content in the game they had to remove?

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                  May 14, 2018 9:07 PM

                  They're in some kind of mess? PUBG is still the top selling game on Steam.

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                May 14, 2018 2:35 PM

                I'm not convinced that EA or Activision is an automatic kingmaker. Its also important to note that Epic has been at this at least as long or longer than those publishers in the shooter genre, and their game runs smoothy on everything from smartphones on up.

                If BF or CoD suddenly decided to make a character focused class based shooter I wouldn't count on them burying Overwatch, you know? Both DICE and CoD have had a reasonable number of misses to go along with their hits and their success in the BR genre shouldn't be seen as a given.

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                  May 14, 2018 2:40 PM

                  From my perspective, neither Fortnite or PUBG have any real personality. PUBG is generic realism, Fortnite is a generic cartoon. So DICE could step in, add something with a little flare that could draw attention.

                  I think somebody definitely will at some point.

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                    May 14, 2018 2:44 PM

                    DICE games are as generic as they get. I totally get what you're saying but I'm not sure DICE are the ones to put a unique thematic hook.

                    And to be clear, Fortnite's continued success is far from guaranteed either. I'm just not certain that DICE (very demanding games from a hardware spec POV) or CoD (a relative niche on PC) is a home run.

                    I can't be said enough that Fortnite is making a million a day on iOS alone. Insane.

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                      May 14, 2018 3:06 PM

                      agreed on pretty much all points. Personality might be the wrong word, but Battlefield games definitely have flare and distinguish themselves through art direction. There's a consistency and professionalism.

                      But yeah, DICE will have a to make a very scalable version of Frostbite to compete with Epic on all hardware.

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                        May 14, 2018 3:35 PM

                        For sure, they’d definitely bring a lot of visual panache, best explosions out there. There’s a lot to be said for that nasty nasty mobile money though. All of the long plays Epic has been making for the last decade have somehow been paying off, its kind of nuts

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                    May 14, 2018 7:22 PM

                    Battefields gunplay is completely inferior to fortnight and pubg. The only thing that makes bsttlefield different is destructive environments and the sheer amount of vehicles.

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              May 14, 2018 8:15 PM

              I could be wrong but PUBG Fortnite _____ might be unstoppable!

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                May 14, 2018 8:48 PM

                Someone’s gotta be the WoW or LoL of Battle Royale at some point ;)

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                  May 14, 2018 8:52 PM

                  This is just the beginning. The genre, if you can call it that, is going to be super saturated for years to come, of course. It'll be interesting to see who floats to the top.

                  Not to discount what you're said though - it totally wouldn't surprise me if Fortnite does indeed own the space for quite some time.

                • Zek
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                  May 14, 2018 10:26 PM

                  It's possible that that's what Fortnite already is. I don't think anybody else can capture that same cultural zeitgeist now.

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            May 14, 2018 5:44 PM

            I think it's more likely to cannibalize PUBG's audience than have any impact on Fortnite due to business model, system requirements for the PC crowd, aesthetics, etc etc.

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            May 14, 2018 6:35 PM

            After Battlefront and BF1 I don't have much faith in DICE being on point about what gamers want. Both games were a huge letdown to me with puzzling design decisions and an inept business model.

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              May 14, 2018 10:25 PM

              I loved BF1 and played every PC Battlefield title since 1942.

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        May 14, 2018 1:14 PM

        I mean we have no clue if it was by his choice or not. Whoever was keeping them afloat could’ve pulled out just now and he was trying to get more funding. Probably should’ve told his team before the Internet, but who knows.

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        May 14, 2018 3:17 PM

        That sucks

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      May 14, 2018 1:21 PM

      Damn. I really enjoy the game.

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      May 14, 2018 1:26 PM

      Does this also mean they aren't gonna pay out the prize money for the RH tournament they had a week ago? It was in partner with Twitch and I wonder if BKP was responsible for the payout or not or how that works.

    • Zek
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      May 14, 2018 3:10 PM

      That's really rough. Failed multiplayer games are so sad.

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      May 14, 2018 3:52 PM

      I liked Lawbreakers :( I wish it was more popular

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      May 14, 2018 7:29 PM

      My favorite CliffyB picture: https://imgur.com/gallery/1uz249E

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      May 14, 2018 8:51 PM

      That makes Radical Heights even more of a desperate gamble than I originally thought