Gears Of War Designer May Return To Games Following Studio Collapse

Cliff Bleszinski, the co-founder of Boss Key Productions, says he may return to the industry “slowly and cautiously” following the commercial failure of its multiplayer shooter LawBreakers and battle royale Radical Heights, which led to the collapse of his company.

The Gears of War designer, who worked at Epic Games from 1992 to 2012, has written an autobiography in which he looks back on the breakdown of Boss Key, an endeavor he says was “pretty rough, facing all of the mistakes I made over the three-plus years” but still a “therapeutic” process.

Although he had claimed that he was done with game design for good, Bleszinski now says he may focus on smaller games after being inspired by the success of Fall Guys and Among Us, nothing that “not everything needs to be insane AAA that requires crazy crunch that ruins families and mental health on a [$]100m budget.”

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Been working through the Boss Key part of my memoir and it's been pretty rough, facing all of the mistakes I…

When it was released in 2017, LawBreakers was well-received by critics yet sold so poorly that Bleszinski claimed the studio was unable to sustain the game. Ultimately, it was released free-to-play on Steam on June 11, 2018, with a notice that the servers would permanently shut down on September 14, 2018.

During his time at Boss Key, Bleszinski was extended an offer by Hideo Kojima, the vice president of the Konami Digital Entertainment, to work on Silent Hill. Although flattered, the designer declined to focus on his own studio.

Reflecting on his experience, Bleszinski says the studio should have initially focused on a smaller game like the arena-based shooter Unreal Tournament or Quake 3 rather than attempting to take on such a big project. In addition, he believes that making Lawbreakers available for PS4 rather than Xbox One, where the studio had a proven fanbase, was a misstep.

As for Radical Heights, Bleszinski is convinced it “had a ton of promise” but admits it failed to distinguish itself from other battle royales on the market. Aside from his promoting his forthcoming autobiography, the designer has also expressed an interest in returning to the Gears of War series as an advisor, an indication that his love of gaming is alive and well.

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