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Cliff Bleszinski's Boss Key Productions shuts down

LawBreakers and Radical Heights developer Boss Key Productions has closed. The information was shared by founder Cliff Bleszinski on Twitter in an emotional and honest post.

Boss Key Productions has been under a lot of stress lately from various sources. LawBreakers failed to make a mark and quickly lost the majority of its player base. Radical Heights suffered the same fate because it failed to differentiate itself in the oversaturated battle royale genre. Lastly, the studio saw a lot of key departures to companies like Epic Games.

https://twitter.com/therealcliffyb/status/996092708971274245

Bleszinski acknowledged the failure of both games and how it's impossible to sustain a studio without commercial success. It's unclear where the laid-off developers will land now that the sizable team doesn't have a place to make games. Bleszinski on the other hand plans on taking a break to reevaluate his professional goals and focus on family. He promised to return to game development in the future.

Hopefully the affected developers will be able to find new positions soon. Game development is an unpredictable industry and numerous smaller companies fail each year. In this overcrowded market, you need to distinguish your game from the rest or else it will fail. LawBreakers was considered by many to be an Overwatch clone and gamers thought Radical Heights didn't do much to improve upon the Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds formula.

Developers like Larian Studios have openly stated that they're hiring and have reached out to former Boss Key Production employees. We wish all of them the best of the luck in the future.

See Radical Heights at Steam

Keep an eye on WindowsCentral.com/Gaming for all the latest in Xbox and Windows 10 gaming, accessories, news, and reviews!

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

40 Comments
  • I really hope the other developers end up finding positions soon. Bleszinski doesn't have to worry about that because he's garnered tremendous success beforehand and seems to be financially stable given his Twitter post history. I also feel that the negative press the studio accumulated over the years due to certain social media incidents didn't help matters either.
  • Hopefully Bleszinski's next game has less ego and less "YEAH BRO" attitude.
  • Hopefully he'll be back stronger from this. The time off for reflection will help him clarify his goals and vision away from the grind of constant development and pressure of delivery, and help him make changes where necessary. All the best to the studio devs.
  • "Failed to differentiate itself in the oversaturated battle royale genre"? It was different, but all people want to play is Fortnite right now. And it's not an oversaturated genre, there's TWO games worth listing and they are both successful, but whatever is not Fortnite is going to lose. People are dumb like that.
  • Releasing a game that's only, conservatively, five months into development into early access with a microtransaction-based revenue model isn't going to help. Why would people sink their money into a worse F2P BR game from a studio who JUST abandoned working on their last game to throw together a copy/paste cash grab?
  • I always wondered why small teams such as this one only focuses on 1 or 2 ecosystems. I feel like if he was in the Microsoft ecosystem it would of been better for him.
  • He said it himself. Because they are a small team. They couldn't make the game on 3 platforms.
  • There are always ways around that like the Universal Windows Platform.
  • Yeah because you can just run UWP on PlayStation 4 now.
    Good grief, this site. I swear.
  • No mater what your final target platforms are... all games are made and tested on a Windows PC first... Even Japanese devs. Arcade game Border Break is running on a Windows (nowadays most arcade games are running on a Win machine) already, but they only have enough budget to do a ps4 port. They can have more budget for xb1, xpa or pc port only if the game does well on ps4 (at least, it needs to pass BP).
  • You can use UWP to make games run on PC and Xbox One. They could've done that instead of simply focusing on Steam and PS4. It's not hard to understand. Do you honestly think anyone's implying UWP works on PS4? They could've easily launched the game on Steam Early Access, and Xbox Game Preview on PC and Xbox One using UWP.
  • Well, Cliff Bleszinski probably felt there Steam + PS4 had a bigger base of gamers.
    I mean Win10 users can all play the game on steam and there are more PS4 owners than XB1 owners.
    I think I'll trust Cliff Bleszinski on this one. :)
  • You have no idea what you're talking about. Then again, you tried to convince others that Greenberg thought Super Lucky's Tale was "AAA". You can use UWP and still put your game on Steam. UWP is still a Windows development platform and the game is available on Windows. The studio's approach was shortsighted and the reason behind it is that they didn't want to adopt new technology. You probably didn't understand that. There are also tools out there to transfer UWP to Steam with no additional steps. Hope that helps! And, please don't send me some old articles from 2016 about how Microsoft doesn't support it. Many years ago at Build, Phil Spencer announced that the company was adding features like support for overlays and modding. Issues that made UWP a pain beforehand if you wanted to put your game on Steam.
  • "You have no idea what you're talking about."
    WOW Can you stop disrespecting me for no reason? What are you talking about???
    Looks like you didn't understand my statement. All Win10 UWP gamers can potential play the game on steam. So adding the game on UWP doesn't actually bring new people who can't play on steam. "The studio's approach was shortsighted"
    No disrespect but I'll trust Cliff Bleszinski over game development and experience in the industry than on someone like you. PERIOD
  • You don't get it. He could've used UWP to publish on more platforms. Who knows, it may have been more successful and Boss Key Productions was still around. One of the reasons why the studio shut down might be due to the fact that it was limited in terms of platforms.
  • Yes, maybe it could have still been around. We have no idea what would have happened. The fact is that he said he didn't the team to do more. I doubt he didn't know about how to make games using UWP. "There are also tools out there to transfer UWP to Steam with no additional steps."
    So are you saying it's possible to port UWP app into a steam game with no effort?
    I'm not disrespecting here but can you provide a link about it? I would love to know more. :)
  • I prefer this tool. Take a look! https://brianlima.github.io/UWPHook/
  • hmm How to say this without being disrespectful? lol This isn't a tool that ports UWP app into a build of a steam game.
    It's a simple solution in c# that links UWP games into the steam software. For example and for your information, steam allows gamers to link GOG games to the steam application.
  • I thought the main issue using UWP before was that Microsoft didn't support overlays and other Steam features. That's why more work was required. But since 2016 I think overlays and other features have been supported no? Or has Microsoft still not updated the tools after 2 years? Do you know if UWP supports overlays and modding now?
  • hmm My question was about this comment of yours:
    "There are also tools out there to transfer UWP to Steam with no additional steps.".
    I wanted to know it there was a tool that created ports of UWP games to builds of steam games.
    Based on what you replied, I assumed that the answer was no and that statement was false. I have no idea about the other stuff about UWP. And honestly right now I don't really care. (And I mean that in the most respectful manner) :)
  • Again, there's no reasoning with you. The game is being designed for Windows, the issue is to accommodate for special Steam features like overlays and mods. You don't understand that this isn't like porting from PS4 to Xbox One. This is all in the Windows environment, we're talking about features. You have no idea how this works. Not one clue. These games aren't being developed by some special Steam software from the start. You use Unreal Engine 4 or whatever and then apply Steam features. The same goes for UWP. There's no being civil with you as well. You're rude no matter what. Truly disgraceful behavior.
  • "You have no idea how this works. Not one clue."
    So this is how it is? You can insult me no matter what. You don't know who I am and what I do and you're just going to insult me again and again? There are so many things I can post about the link you posted. It shows so much about how much you actually know but I didn't insult you the way you are right now. And then you'll play the victim by saying :
    ""There's no being civil with you as well. You're rude no matter what. Truly disgraceful behavior.""
    WOW Just WOW.
    Now just quote where I've been disgraceful?
    Just quote me!
    You can come here insult me freely as if nothing matter but I need to check MY behaviour? For me it looks like you are starting to abuse your status as a writer on this site. It looks like YOU can insult others but others have to keep quiet and "behave".
    WOW!!
  • Yet you're the one insulting people over their English. As I said, there's just no reasoning with you. You'll continue to be rude. Engaging with someone who uses xenophobic taunts is pointless.
  • LOL You're starting to be the Asher Madan of ICXM.
    You know the one who used to delete positive comments about PS and criticism of MS. You used to edit people post to something like "XB1 is the best" or "I'm an idiot"... That is just the type of person you are. I remember how you used to insult and delete post of people because they happened to like Trump... I guess I'll stop dealing with you. I don't want to talk to people who use their position or power to abuse other people's opinions and views. I'm sure if I was a MS fan you wouldn't harass and attack me. The proof is when a XB fan actually personally attacked me you just ignored it and told me to behave... That's typical...
  • You're hilarious. Keep spreading misinformation because that's what you're good at. I worked for MSPoweruser before this. Additionally, try to read the Undead Labs Twitter post which discredits your whole argument. https://twitter.com/undeadlabs/status/747812909368115201 You probably still will say that even though they're saying it's "AAA" it isn't what they claimed because you're wrong and refuse to learn from your mistakes.
  • *** Ignores Asher Madan ***
  • So he they targeted Steam, which has astronomically more engagement than the Windows Store on PCs; and PS4, which has more than double the marketshare that Xbone One does. Gee, I wonder why?
  • I guess some people think that if devs makes games using UWP, it can magically be ported to steam using some "tools".
    Gee I wonder why Cliff Bleszinski couldn't think of that. If only he reads comments here, he could learn few things about making games. LOL
  • What do you mean makes game USING UWP? You don't need "tools" to port a pc game to steam or UWP if you are building the engine yourself. We don't have and don't use any platform specific UI components or anything like that (prob need to deal with the different ways of access the file system. Again, wrap it and use it). Your compiled C++ code (and middleware) will run fine on PC, as long as you know how to build a package to upload to the store. They are using Unreal, one of the reason people use a 3rd party engine is to avoid the hassle to absorb different libs. With 3rd party game engine, you just need to build to whatever platform you want (you might need to re-budget you resources if you are compiling for a mobile). If you want specific feature from a particular platform, DL their API, wrapper it with #if and use it.
  • I tried to explain this to him but he thinks Steam provides some special software that's used to build games from the beginning. Some other engine rather than Unreal Engine 4 or whatever they were using.
  • "he thinks Steam provides some special software that's used to build games from the beginning."
    Once again, Asher Madan making things up...
    Typical... :)
  • You have no idea how development works. That's a fact or you wouldn't have asked that question. You also can't accept that even Undead Labs, the developer of State of Decay 2, said it was "AAA". Your whole comment history is filled with abuse and misinformation. You refuse to accept proof and bash other people on this forum on their lack of English skills when they aren't even native speakers. You need to change your xenophobic attitude and learn to accept that fact that you don't know everything. I'll attach the Undead Labs Twitter post here again. https://twitter.com/undeadlabs/status/747812909368115201
  • Yeah yeah... I'm not even reading your bs, your lies, your insults, your off-topic bs, your lack of knowledge, your constant moving of goal post,, your lack of lack of English and communication skills...
    So don't reply me. :) I'm ignoring you. Bye :)
  • Even Undead Labs, the developers, discredit what you said.
  • He was with gears. I wonder if that is what he is evaluating. Ms would be amiss if they didn't scoup up this team right now and repourpos them on something like mechassault.
  • It seems like a lot of the really good developers of their are now working for Epic Games.
  • U mean failure of 1 game. Radical heights did pretty good for the state it was in. Even was most streamed game on twitch.
  • The state of the industry is such that either you hit it out of the ballpark or you're packing up and leaving. The same thing happens with phone OS alternatives.
  • Lawbreakers was too late to the party and Radical Heights was a welcomed refreshed take on BR but was ultimately not good enough. Not to mention the IAP form the get-go and incomplete map. Chasing the BR dream was a mistake, IMO.
  • Apparently Bleszinski pitched other ideas to Microsoft and other companies but they passed saying that the games were too similar to ones they had in development.