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Da Ba Dee: BlueStreak Is Cliff Bleszinski's F2P Arena Shooter

Cliff Bleszinski is a man who used to be called CliffyB, co-created Unreal and also invented the chainsaw gun, because videogames. Then he retired, but now he is unretired and returning to his roots. Except for the CliffyB part, at least so far as we know.

His new game, codenamed BlueStreak, will be an arena shooter with a modern (and F2P) twist. Nexon is publishing, and Bleszinski just fielded a bunch of questions about the game. First, the basics: BlueStreak will be a sci-fi arena shooter with F2P “done right.” What does that mean? Speaking in a Reddit AMA, Bleszinski admitted that he’s not entirely sure yet.

“Honest answer: I’m not sure, and it’s entirely too easy to tell or make the call. Free to Play is one of those genres that means something entirely different depending on the game. For every model that feels like Las Vegas methods (Zynga, Candy Crush) there’s folks who do it right, like League of Legends, or WarFrame. So we’ll experiment, tweak, tune, and most importantly, build a positive community around the game as we develop it.”

“I’m DETERMINED to not do Pay To Win. Since this game is a shooter I want that one player who likes the game and doesn’t feel like spending any money to be able to take down the trust fund kid that’s spent a ton of money to have All The Stuff.”

He also said that he’s mostly over hyper-grimdark gritty Gears-of-War-style aesthetics, so characters won’t just be “BroZone,” as he put it. Expect something a little more District-9-ish. There will also be a story, but it won’t take centre stage. Rather, it will largely focus on giving context to the setting, and much of it will be told outside the game. Ultimately, though, the goal is to make a highly, highly skill-based shooter, a plan inspired by American football, of all things:

“I want to make a skill based game where someone who is really, really good is seen as a player with nearly godlike abilities. Sure, once in a while the person who sucks might get lucky with a stray shot and take that person down, but I want to craft a game that has weapons and moves that are easy to learn but to really make them sing takes thousands of hours of play just like a professional athlete would. Anyone can toss a football, but Drew Brees can get it through the tire at X yards every time.”

So that’s BlueStreak, more or less. It just started development, and the dev team is apparently only a dozen people strong at the moment. Admirably, Cliff plans to give himself a $1 yearly salary until they turn a profit.

Gotta say, I’m at least interested to see how it all turns out. Bleszinski has long been a divisive figure, but he knows how to put himself out there, and there’s something to be said for that. Heck, while his perspectives tend to be decidedly Old Guard, his post-Epic blog is a font of honesty about the industry’s churning gears, the Things They Don’t Want You To See, etc. 

Inevitably, any story about a game that Bleszkinski makes is a story about Bleszinski – even if he announces he’s making a chainsaw-gun-based forest-cutting simulator. The limelight is glued to him, and his public persona suggests he wouldn’t have it any other way. Whether BlueStreak turns out great or otherwise, how much will it get to exist on its own merits?

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Nathan Grayson

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