Boss Key is done. Founder Cliff Bleszinski posted a statement to Twitter today to confirm that the studio is shutting down, and he said he’s going to take time off from the industry. Bleszinski founded Boss Key in April 2014. It spent the next three years creating LawBreakers before launching that class-based team shooter in August 2017 with publishing partner Nexon.
“Four years ago, I set out to make a world-class video games studio, and I hired some of the best talent in the video game industry,” reads Bleszinski’s statement. “They worked tirelessly to produce quality products, and while we had our ups and downs, I’d like to think that we had fun doing it.”
Lawbreakers failed to gain an audience, and that was what eventually led to the studio’s closure. Boss Key tried to bounce back with Radical Heights, its own take on the battle royale genre, in “extreme early access.” Its free-to-play business model and underbaked visuals and gameplay mechanics showed promise, but most players stuck with the leaders, Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, instead.
“Lawbreakers was a great game that, unfortunately, failed to gain traction,” reads Bleszinski’s statement. “And, in a last ditch attempt, we scrambled to do our take on the huge battle royale genre with Radical Heights, which was well received. However, it was too little; too late.”
Here’s the full statement from Bleszinski:
A statement: pic.twitter.com/LwJD54bCwL
— Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) May 14, 2018
Bleszinski says he is going to focus on his family.
“Video games will forever be a part of who I am,” he wrote. “I hope to make something new again someday, however, I need to withdraw and take this time.”
The studio is now defunct. Boss Key was in Raleigh, North Carolina, and it had dozens of employees. Those developers will now have to find new work.
Disclosure: I shared a table at a wedding reception with one of Boss Key’s former developers.