Boss Key Productions are stepping back from their gravity-bending FPS LawBreakers, at least for a while, because it simply didn't make enough money to fund the post-launch support they'd planned. That's not surprising to hear, given that last month the multiplayer game struggled to muster 25 players online at the same time.
Boss Key mention the prospect of turning LawBreakers free-to-play but it doesn't sound like that's happening, or not yet at least. So, for now, they're working on something new. They didn't say what that is, but have followed yesterday's announcement up by tweeting a mock magazine ad for a retro run 'n' gunner named Double Dudes 2: Quadruple The Dudes. That could be a joke, a hint, or literally the game they're making. As with all of this, it's a bit vague.
Boss Key said in yesterday's announcement:
"The fact is LawBreakers failed to find enough of an audience to generate the funds necessary to keep it sustained in the manner we had originally planned for and anticipated. And while a pivot to free-to-play may seem like easiest change to make, a change of this magnitude takes publishing planning and resources to do it.
"The team here has worked hard on this game over the past three and a half years and our studio is determined to give this game the second life it deserves. However, between now and then, we cannot sit idle. We will continue to support the game in its current state, but we also need to focus on other projects with fresh creative leaders. We have been working on something new and we can't wait to share more about it! It's a passion project that we're in complete control of."
LawBreakers was once planned to be a free-to-play game but changed course long ago, costing £25/€40/$30 when it launched in August 2017. Player counts dropped quickly and ah, here we are. I am surprised a free-to-play backup plan wasn't in place. This is not a rare fate for competitive multiplayer games, and to make such a fancy-lookin' (read: expensive) one is a huge risk. Going free-to-play at least gives a game a second chance, and it's one publishers should know the game will likely need.
I can see Boss Key's statement as hinting at dissatisfaction with publishers Nexon, both in how they say going F2P needs "publishing planning and resources" that evidently aren't present and in pointing out that they're "in complete control of" their mysterious next game. But given all the vagueness, I'd not get too carried away constructing theories.
So, they would like another crack at making LawBreakers work but, for now at least, mysterious new thing. It sucks for the handful of LawBreakers players but keeping a studio going, especially one making big shiny games, is not cheap. So what is next? Boss Key today tweeted this fake magazine ad:
They don't say it's connected--they don't say anything--but y'know, common sense. I wouldn't necessarily take this to mean they're making a pixel art platformer, mind, as this could just be a tone-setting teaser. Or they could very well be making Double Dudes 2: Quadruple The Dudes. Vagueness, vagueness, vagueness.
Ah, it's too bad. Samuel Horti's LawBreakers review was quite enthusiastic, but even one week after launch noted the game was already losing players.