Cliff Bleszinski says politics, Overwatch and design were the death of LawBreakers

Cliff Bleszinski says politics, Overwatch and design were the death of LawBreakers

Game developer Cliff Bleszinski has shared his thoughts about why Boss Key's online shooter LawBreakers wasn't nearly as successful as it needed to be.

In a post on Instagram, the designer said that there were three things he wished he had done differently with the game. The first was to make significant changes when Blizzard announced Overwatch, while the second was to be "more of a dictator" with his design ideas and "less nice".

Bleszinski then goes on to say that it was a mistake to try and be inclusive and push his own political beliefs into the game.

"One big epiphany I had was that I pushed my own personal political beliefs in a world that was increasingly divided," Bleszinski said.

"Instead of the story being 'this game looks neat,' it became 'this is the game with the 'woke bro' trying to push his hacky politics on us with gender neutral bathrooms.' Instead of 'these characters seem fun,' it was 'this is the studio with the CEO who refuses to make his female characters sexier.' Instead of 'who am I going to choose,' it became 'white dude shoehorns diversity in his game and then smells his own smug farts in interviews' instead of just letting the product ... speak for itself.

"It's okay to be political when your company or studio is established for great product first. But we were unproven and I regret doing it."

LawBreakers was released in August 2017 and had a less-than-stellar launch. Publisher Nexon wrote down the project to the tune of around $32.6m, with developer Boss Key moving on from the project in April 2018. Just days later, the studio announced free-to-play battle royale title Radical Heights, which again failed to meet expectations. Boss Key closed the following month, with LawBreakers' servers being taken offline in September 2018.

At the time, wrote that Radical Heights was a masterclass in how not to release a game. Bleszinski said that he is "over" making games following Boss Key's implosion

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Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.