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Boss Key Closed

A tweet from Cliff Bleszinski announces that Boss Key Studios has come to the end of the line (thanks RedEye9). He notes that Radical Heights gained more traction than the unsuccessful LawBreakers, but that the battle royale game was too late to save to company, though he does say that the Radical Heights servers will remain online for the time being. Here's the post, in which he thanks supporters, and says he needs to take a break from the business:

As of today, Boss Key Productions is effectively no more.

Four years ago I set out to make a world class video game studio and I hired some of the best talent in the videogame industry. They worked tirelessly to produce quality products and, while we had our ups and downs, I'd like to think we had fun doing it. LawBreakers was a great game that unfortunately failed to gain traction, and, in a last ditch effort we scrambled to do our own take on the huge battle royale genre with Radical Heights which was well received, however, it was a little too late.

As for myself, I'm going to take some time off and reflect. I need to focus on myself and family as well as my Aussie, Teddy, who is slowly fading from us. Videogames will forever be a part of who I am and I hope to make something new again someday, however, I need to withdraw and take this time.

To those who have supported myself and the studio these last for years, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart and everyone who came to work for me.
Please note that the servers for Radical Heights will remain up for the near future.

Thanks again,

Cliff

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45 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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45. Re: Boss Key Closed May 19, 2018, 00:19 Kxmode
 
Sepharo wrote on May 16, 2018, 22:29:
Why the requote? Did you forget a follow up point?

It's "quote for truth." I agree with the quote so much that I wanted to quote it again for emphasis. That was the point. Nice find, by the way. Thumbsup
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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44. Re: Boss Key Closed May 16, 2018, 22:29 Sepharo
 
Kxmode wrote on May 16, 2018, 18:24:
Sepharo wrote on May 15, 2018, 22:47:
Mark Rein: Oh yeah. Hey, Cliff is Cliff, and he's making a console game, and that's what he's focused on, so that's what his thinking is all about. But as a company, we make PC games. We love the PC, it's our heritage, we want to see it be strong, and we want to sell games like Unreal Tournament III and Gears of War on PC, and have them sell as well as they do on console.

Why the requote? Did you forget a follow up point?
 
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43. Re: Boss Key Closed May 16, 2018, 18:24 Kxmode
 
Sepharo wrote on May 15, 2018, 22:47:
Mark Rein: Oh yeah. Hey, Cliff is Cliff, and he's making a console game, and that's what he's focused on, so that's what his thinking is all about. But as a company, we make PC games. We love the PC, it's our heritage, we want to see it be strong, and we want to sell games like Unreal Tournament III and Gears of War on PC, and have them sell as well as they do on console.
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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42. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 22:47 Sepharo
 
Kxmode wrote on May 15, 2018, 16:10:
https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/02/27

Hah, the news post from that comic led me to this interview with Mark Rein:

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/epic-games-mark-rein-interview?page=2

Eurogamer: PC Gaming Alliance is another thing that's come up recently, and you're members. I'm sure you've been asked this about a dozen times already this week, but last week Cliff Bleszinski said PC gaming is in "disarray" -

Mark Rein: Cliff's an idiot! [Laughs] I'm kidding, obviously.

Eurogamer: Did you go and have a go at him about that?

Mark Rein: Oh yeah. Hey, Cliff is Cliff, and he's making a console game, and that's what he's focused on, so that's what his thinking is all about. But as a company, we make PC games. We love the PC, it's our heritage, we want to see it be strong, and we want to sell games like Unreal Tournament III and Gears of War on PC, and have them sell as well as they do on console.
 
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41. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 19:04 Kxmode
 
Angrius Maximis wrote on May 15, 2018, 16:43:
Are you always this bitter? Even when a studio closes and dozens of people lose their jobs, you express vitriolic cynicism. Sad

What a canned emo response

You think I pulled that off of a website of canned emo responses? Sad.
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
40. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 16:43 Angrius Maximis
 
Are you always this bitter? Even when a studio closes and dozens of people lose their jobs, you express vitriolic cynicism. Sad

What a canned emo response
 
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39. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 16:10 Kxmode
 
https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/02/27  
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
38. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 11:25 Beamer
 
Prez wrote on May 15, 2018, 11:03:
To those claiming that those of us who dislike Blezinski are over-emotional haters I might remind you that Blezinski by his own admission has been a dick most of his professional life.

In an interview with Gamespot, the game designer served up a rather frank theory as to why his latest games difficulty attracting and retaining players: his own personality might be turning people off. You know, I have to keep this game alive, first and foremost, he said. I can be very cocky and very brash on social media. And realizing that, you know, we have a fledgling player base. Its been very humbling for me. Im going to continue to iterate on this game, continue to add to it. And try to be less of a dick, honestly.

Normally if a guy genuinely owns up to his character flaws I am the first to forgive him, but clearly his latest bout of humility was only brought about by his realization that his career-long antics were proving to be a liability in a market he was hoping to come back to. Again, I may not like him, but I respect his talent and accomplishments and am saddened to see his career end like this if this indeed is the end for him.

I don't mind people with your reasoning. I dislike the "this guy once said PC games have piracy, he should die in a fire!" people, claiming that every single thread they can.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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37. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 11:03 Prez
 
To those claiming that those of us who dislike Blezinski are over-emotional haters I might remind you that Blezinski by his own admission has been a dick most of his professional life.

In an interview with Gamespot, the game designer served up a rather frank theory as to why his latest games difficulty attracting and retaining players: his own personality might be turning people off. You know, I have to keep this game alive, first and foremost, he said. I can be very cocky and very brash on social media. And realizing that, you know, we have a fledgling player base. Its been very humbling for me. Im going to continue to iterate on this game, continue to add to it. And try to be less of a dick, honestly.

Normally if a guy genuinely owns up to his character flaws I am the first to forgive him, but clearly his latest bout of humility was only brought about by his realization that his career-long antics were proving to be a liability in a market he was hoping to come back to. Again, I may not like him, but I respect his talent and accomplishments and am saddened to see his career end like this if this indeed is the end for him.
 
Avatar 17185
 
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
- Mahatma Gandhi
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36. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 10:22 Beamer
 
I'm bulleting my points, because I'm a jerk:

* Like I said when it came out, this was desperate and a bad idea. It was a hail mary, but a hail mary has better odds. It was like a hail mary combined with an on-sides kick. Kick the ball, hope to recover it, hope one of your guard or tackle can pick the ball up and throw a hail mary in the end zone to another guard or tackle. It was way underbaked, and, as a lot of us could tell at the time, being forced out due to low funds. Even if the game was a huge hit, it was so half baked that it wouldn't much sustain it.

* On that note, having purchases, and/or not being upfront that the game was at risk, seems really callous. You knew those purchases were almost definitely going to be worthless quickly

* Yes, back in the mid 90s, CliffyB was definitely Grandmaster B. He was like 19 and suddenly a celebrity of sorts, and he definitely overcompensated in a bad way. But he grew up. I'm ok not judging him for what a dingleberry he was in his late teens and early 20s.

* That quote about PC and piracy is pretty true. Piracy was rampant. It wasn't the sole reason why he briefly left the platform, but certainly a factor. It wasn't a harsh term, it didn't say all PC gamers are pirates (though back in the late 90s and early 00s I'd wager we were), but that there was heavy piracy. Did anyone here not pirate games in the 90s? It's really a pretty mild quote. Was there a worse one?

* If you are angry at CliffyB but still listen to Metallica, c'mon. What they did about piracy was infinitely worse than what CliffyB did, right?

* He's actually a pretty nice, reasonable guy in person. When you're not reading interviews looking to be annoyed

* And yes, his games tend to have horrible art style. Gears was actually pretty good. Sure, lots of greys and browns like so many games of the period, but it made sense when you were often underground or in long abandoned cities. The style was distinctive. Sadly, so many other games he's done hasn't been. UT games got pretty bad (clowns?! That's probably the main thing I'll never forgive), and I think the art style really doomed Lawbreakers. But underneath that awful style are usually very solid mechanics
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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35. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 09:54 StingingVelvet
 
Creston wrote on May 15, 2018, 09:48:
I'm fairly sure I read that they had several 'packages' that gave extra stuff? Had those not gone on sale yet?

If not, fair enough, I was wrong.

Cosmetic optional purchases for a stated pre-Alpha game is very much a "if you bought 'em that's your problem" area for me. Also I doubt they were planning to make much there, the release was clearly more about attracting investor interest (which they obviously failed to do).
 
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34. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 09:48 Creston
 
Rilcon wrote on May 14, 2018, 17:55:
Radical Heights was/is free.

I'm fairly sure I read that they had several 'packages' that gave extra stuff? Had those not gone on sale yet?

If not, fair enough, I was wrong.
 
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33. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 08:44 StingingVelvet
 
|RaptoR| wrote on May 14, 2018, 23:45:
CliffyB brought us the Unreal series, and for older gamers Jazz Jackrabbit. The guy didn't push mediocre shit. Unreal is one of my favorite games of all time.

The Gears of War games that he had influence over are very good titles, and to say otherwise is just to be a blind master race tool. You might not agree with his decision to abandon the platform, but his words aren't without merit -- DRM free games are the extreme exception nowadays and despite repeatedly bleating about DRM being the devil and to boycott companies that use it, Steam and other digital platforms have taken over.

And for those of you that mourn the single player experience? The decline there is also partly due to piracy (and is why always-on DRM is here to stay).

You can hate him all the same, but his resume stands as one of the strongest in the industry. Even Lawbreakers was a decent game, just not good enough to compete with Overwatch and a changing landscape of what the majority of gamers want.

Couldn't like this post more, but people don't like reading truth when it conflicts with emotion.

Piracy was a crisis when Gears first came out, and is still a (lesser) crisis today. Console focused games were seen as one response to this, and Cliffy just said the honest facts of the time. The rise of online-focused games is just as much a response to piracy as DRM and consoles were as well, and is something else people complain about. Yet people continuously act like piracy is no big deal and no developer should ever complain about it, then ostracize those who do.
 
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32. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 08:13 Prez
 
The piracy comment he made was undeniably douchey, but that isn't why I personally have disliked him for years. For me it has always been his cavalier, gangster attitude that he tried to push while grabbing the spotlight for saying stupid shit about a market that made him the quasi-celebrity he is once it appeared it was no longer going to be of any use to him. Then coming back to ride the wagon when it turned out he was wrong - that kind of personifies the cynical, shit-talking, fad-hopping opportunist he is. All that said, his talent as a designer and the mark he left on the industry are undeniable; it's just a shame he couldn't just shut his mouth and make games.  
Avatar 17185
 
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
- Mahatma Gandhi
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31. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 07:50 Beamer
 
Is that piracy quote even that bad?  
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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30. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 02:08 Osc8r
 
|RaptoR| wrote on May 14, 2018, 23:45:
warmbluelasers wrote on May 14, 2018, 22:56:
RedEye9 wrote on May 14, 2018, 21:17:
Says one "mean" thing 20 years ago and apologizes for the remark. Still gets crucified by "gamers". shrug

Same thing as John Romero. He spoke purely from his ego and the PC Elite really can't stand hubris paired with mediocre products.

CliffyB brought us the Unreal series, and for older gamers Jazz Jackrabbit. The guy didn't push mediocre shit. Unreal is one of my favorite games of all time.

The Gears of War games that he had influence over are very good titles, and to say otherwise is just to be a blind master race tool.

Gears was generic and boring AF - one of the most overrated games ever made right alongside COD. Say otherwise and you're just a console pleb.

Unreal series and UT was awesome though, modern versions not so much.

 
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29. Re: Boss Key Closed May 15, 2018, 02:00 Tipsy McStagger
 
|RaptoR| wrote on May 14, 2018, 23:45:
warmbluelasers wrote on May 14, 2018, 22:56:
RedEye9 wrote on May 14, 2018, 21:17:
Says one "mean" thing 20 years ago and apologizes for the remark. Still gets crucified by "gamers". shrug

Same thing as John Romero. He spoke purely from his ego and the PC Elite really can't stand hubris paired with mediocre products.

CliffyB brought us the Unreal series, and for older gamers Jazz Jackrabbit. The guy didn't push mediocre shit. Unreal is one of my favorite games of all time.

The Gears of War games that he had influence over are very good titles, and to say otherwise is just to be a blind master race tool. You might not agree with his decision to abandon the platform, but his words aren't without merit -- DRM free games are the extreme exception nowadays and despite repeatedly bleating about DRM being the devil and to boycott companies that use it, Steam and other digital platforms have taken over.

And for those of you that mourn the single player experience? The decline there is also partly due to piracy (and is why always-on DRM is here to stay).

You can hate him all the same, but his resume stands as one of the strongest in the industry. Even Lawbreakers was a decent game, just not good enough to compete with Overwatch and a changing landscape of what the majority of gamers want.


This is a good post.. but CliffyB can be summed up by:

THIS SIMPSONS QUOTE

Dude just got old and got so out of touch... it happens to us all.
 
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28. Re: Boss Key Closed May 14, 2018, 23:45 |RaptoR|
 
warmbluelasers wrote on May 14, 2018, 22:56:
RedEye9 wrote on May 14, 2018, 21:17:
Says one "mean" thing 20 years ago and apologizes for the remark. Still gets crucified by "gamers". shrug

Same thing as John Romero. He spoke purely from his ego and the PC Elite really can't stand hubris paired with mediocre products.

CliffyB brought us the Unreal series, and for older gamers Jazz Jackrabbit. The guy didn't push mediocre shit. Unreal is one of my favorite games of all time.

The Gears of War games that he had influence over are very good titles, and to say otherwise is just to be a blind master race tool. You might not agree with his decision to abandon the platform, but his words aren't without merit -- DRM free games are the extreme exception nowadays and despite repeatedly bleating about DRM being the devil and to boycott companies that use it, Steam and other digital platforms have taken over.

And for those of you that mourn the single player experience? The decline there is also partly due to piracy (and is why always-on DRM is here to stay).

You can hate him all the same, but his resume stands as one of the strongest in the industry. Even Lawbreakers was a decent game, just not good enough to compete with Overwatch and a changing landscape of what the majority of gamers want.
 
Playing: Overwatch, Monster Hunter: World, Heroes of the Storm
Xbox Live: Heinekev
PSN: Heinekev
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27. Re: Boss Key Closed May 14, 2018, 23:09 jacobvandy
 
Careers are ended over single dumb remarks all the time, at least Cliffy was able to continue working in the industry. But you can't expect that bridge you burned to be there when the big console makers don't care about you anymore and you resort to making PC games again... It wasn't until then, after founding Boss Key, that he decided "oh shit, I should probably apologize to these people before I ask them to buy my next game."  
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26. Re: Boss Key Closed May 14, 2018, 23:04 Dirwulf
 
Kxmode wrote on May 14, 2018, 18:52:
Creston wrote on May 14, 2018, 17:48:
we scrambled to do our own take on the huge battle royale genre with Radical Heights which was well received

Nobody should ever give this asshole a dime ever again.

Are you always this bitter? Even when a studio closes and dozens of people lose their jobs, you express vitriolic cynicism. Sad.

Cutter was briefly possessing Creston.
 
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