Skip to main content

LawBreakers is staging an unofficial comeback, five years after it (and its makers) shut down

The gravity-defying debut FPS from Cliff Bleszinski's studio

A law-breaking rabble in LawBreakers.
Image credit: Nexon

Five years after LawBreakers shut down, we're getting to play the gravity-defying multiplayer FPS again thanks to fans. LawBreakers was the first game from Boss Key Productions, a studio co-founded by Gears Of Wars lead designer Cliff Bleszinski, and it had delightful ultraviolence beneath its uninspiring genric look. Alas, it did not sell well. Boss Key closed less than a year after launch, and the game soon followed. But after years of work, a group of fans this weekend successfully ran the first public test for a workaround to play the game again. While there's no clear launch plan yet, more playtesting will follow.

Watch on YouTube

LawBreakers launched in August 2017, at which time our LawBreakers review said "its zero gravity segments offer something that no other FPS can, and everywhere else it's a solid, polished shooter." But LawBreakers did not sell well and chasing the nascent battle royale craze with Radical Heights did not pan out either, so the studio closed in May 2018. After that, LawBreakers publishers Nexon made the game free to give it a good send-off before shutting down the servers in September 2018. And since 2020, a few fans have been plotting to bring it back.

This weekend, the unofficial RELB Project ran the first public tests for their own launcher which enables an unofficial revival. An FAQ on its Discord server explains this technical trickery is "done by creating 'fake' servers that the original game client uses". And it got a lot of attention thanks to CliffyB pointing it out:

And it worked. Some classes were disabled, it only had one mode, and it had some technical hiccups, but people could play LawBreakers again. "We're aware of all the issues regarding hitreg and such and are working on fixing/improving them (but keep in mind we're a small team and this is insanely complex to properly do)," the team said on Discord. They're now reflecting on the weekend's playtest before deciding when they'll run another. I know at least one person who might be excited to hear that.

"Through a combination of overwhelmingly tough competition, an uninspired roster of heroes, and its reputation as a punishing, skill-based shooter, LawBreakers will soon be joining the ranks of Battleborn and Paragon, banished to the graveyard of videogames for whom Overwatch has seemingly sounded the death knell," Khee Hoon Chan said in 2018. "Thing is, I don't think I'll be ready to let it go come September. Its penchant for pushing its players' boundaries, as well as bearing witness to their stunning acrobatics and superhuman reflexes, has given me some of the most exciting victories and losses I've experienced in a video game. The much-maligned LawBreakers simply doesn't deserve such an unceremonious end."

Because video games are trapped in a hellish loop, companies closing games is a big topic of conversation right now/again. After Ubisoft killed The Crew last month, YouTuber Ross Scott launched the 'Stop Killing Games' campaign calling upon governments to reconsider and reinforce consumer rights. You can hit its site for instructions on where to sign and which authorities to prod.

Read this next