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Radical Heights & LawBreakers studio Boss Key shuts down

Filmed in front of a live studio audience

After LawBreakers failed to strike it rich, many saw studio Boss Key’s decision to rush-release ’80s game-show themed battle royale Radical Heights as proof that the studio was in jeopardy, and that pushing the game out with only one half-finished map available was a wild spin on the wheel of fortune. While starting out free-to-play ensured that the price is right, it just wasn’t enough to hit the jackpot and save the studio from a complete wipeout.

Today on Twitter, studio head Cliff Bleszinski announced that Boss Key Productions is no more.

In a sobering and understated comment on Twitter earlier, former Epic lead Cliff Blesinzki announced that this was the end of the line for Boss Key Productions, and that he was going to be taking some time off, away from the games industry to reflect and spend time with his family. Hopefully some day he’ll feel confident enough to return to the fold, but I can entirely understand feeling especially deflated after having to deliver the news to the rest of his team.

The decision to pivot to making a battle royale shooter wasn’t inherently bad either, just another case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The stratospheric success of both Plunkbat and Fortnite can be chalked as much up to luck as judgement, and no shortage of exciting-looking potential rivals have fallen through. Even my own brief favourite – Robocraft Royale – fizzled out almost immediately.

Boss Key Productions was clearly a studio with plenty of talent on board, but their decision to go after the competitive multiplayer shooter crown right off the bat was a gamble that just didn’t pay off in the end. I sincerely hope that everyone left without a job after this gets picked up quickly by other studios, as LawBreakers – while flawed – was clear evidence that this is a team that know their way around the Unreal engine, and I wish everyone the best of luck.

I also fully apologise for that opening paragraph. I’ve been itching to do that ever since Radical Heights first appeared, and figured this was my last chance. No disrespect intended.

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Dominic Tarason

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