Game designer Cliff Bleszinski recently closed the doors to his studio, Boss Key Productions, following the commercial failure of its game LawBreakers, and you shouldn’t expect him to be working on another title — ever, if we can take him at his word.
Answering an upset fan who demanded a refund for LawBreakers, Bleszinski explained that he didn’t take a salary for himself for the last two years, despite paying all of his employees their own salary and benefits. He added that this reaction from players that was “another reason” he would never be making another video game.
I paid my employees, their 401ks, and their health care – even months after the studio folded. So they could care for their families.
I didn't take a salary myself for two years.
I get you're sad, but god, this kinda shit is another reason I am NEVER making another game. https://t.co/RtS7l5WcAl
— Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) November 15, 2018
Bleszinski added in a separate tweet that the majority of video game fans are “rad,” including those he has met in person. Of course, on the internet, it doesn’t always seem that way.
This wouldn’t be the first time Bleszinski effectively retired from the industry. He took a break after the release of Gears of War 3, leaving Epic Games behind. He had worked there since he was a teenager, helping to create the Gears of War franchise, as well as develop games in the Unreal series.
The Gears of War series continued after Bleszinski left Epic Games, with the developer supporting People Can Fly to create the prequel Gears of War: Judgment. Following that game’s release, Microsoft bought the rights to the series and began developing it in-house with its studio, The Coalition. Gears of War 4 has been released, with Gears 5, Gears Tactics, and Gears Pop! on the way.
Several figures in the game industry voiced their support for Bleszinski in his most recent decision. God of War director Cory Barlog was among them, saying Bleszinski “did right by [his people]” and his actions “should be held up as a standard for how we should all aspire to treat those we create with.”
Following LawBreakers’ launch as a paid multiplayer title, Boss Key briefly converted the game to a free-to-play model before opting to shut it down completely. The studio then pivoted to developing a battle royale game called Radical Heights, which received scathing reviews. The studio folded about a month after the game launched in early access.