Both of Boss Key Productions’ beleaguered titles have officially joined the Watch List today after founder Cliff Bleszinski, confirmed that the studio is “effectively no more” on Twitter. Lawbreakers was already on the block after the game failed to find an audience and elicited a harsh statement from publisher Nexon, but the studio’s battle royale-alike, Radical Heights, is seemingly just as bad off. Cliff’s full statement follows:
As of today, Boss Key Productions is effectively no more.
Four years ago I set out to make a world class video game studio and I hired some of the best talent in the videogame industry. They worked tirelessly to produce quality products and, while we had our ups and downs, I’d like to think we had fun doing it. LawBreakers was a great game that unfortunately failed to gain traction, and, in a last ditch attempt we scrambled to do our take on the huge battle royale genre with Radical Heights which was well received, however, it was too little too late.
As for myself, I’m going to take some time off and reflect. I need to focus on myself and family as well as my Aussie, Teddy, who is slowly fading from us. Videogames will forever be a part of who I am and I hope to make something new again someday, however, I need to withdraw and take this time.
To those of you who have supported myself and the studio these last for [sic] years, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart and everyone who came to work for me.
Please note that servers for Radical Heights will remain up for the near future.
There has been no more solid confirmation yet on what the “near future” means for either Lawbreakers or Radical Heights. The games’ social media accounts have yet to respond to the news but if you’ve ever had an interest, sooner rather than later would be a good time to check them out. Radical Heights is free-to-play on Steam and PC while Lawbreakers currently goes for $30 on both Steam and PlayStation 4.
LawBreakers, the “gravity-defying multiplayer FPS” from Cliff Bleszinski’s Boss Key Productions stepped fully onto the Watch List this week. The game launched on Steam in August of 2017 but despite its developer pedigree and “Mostly Positive” standings the graphs show that there just aren’t many people playing it. There have been a few spikes around new content releases but on average we’re talking a few dozen active players on any given day. Why? According to publisher Nexon’s latest earnings report it’s all due to the overwhelming popularity of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
“LawBreakers is a unique FPS developed for core users. We had very high expectations for its launch; however, the timing of its launch turned out to be unfortunate, specifically the blockbuster PC online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds came out right about the same time, making the market environment very tough for the first-person shooters in general and for LawBreakers.” – Shiro Uemura, Representative Director and CFO at Nexon
Uemura added quite the definitive statement on the game in the Q&A section stating, “we will not be accruing any other impairment loss pertaining to LawBreakers in the future”. I’m no business guy so I had to look up impairment loss (I’m still not 100% on it) and while it isn’t a good thing it could just mean that Nexon has adjusted its financial expectations for the game going forward, not that they’re cutting it off ASAP.
Still, these financial statements coupled with the game’s low player count should definitely raise an eyebrow over the game’s longevity. For now, LawBreakers’ holiday events are wrapping up and the game is still available to buy on both Steam and PlayStation 4. I would expect the game to stick around through its one-year anniversary in August of 2018 but after that I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “sunset” announcement.
Just over a month after releasing a controversial redesign, the team at Neople have announced the end of service for their free-to-play online shooter Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex First Assault Online for the Western world. This comes just weeks after publisher Nexon announced the game’s closure in Japan would take place on November 29th. The statement posted on the game’s official forum on August 21st reads:
“We’re sorry to inform you that we will be sunsetting Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex First Assault Online in North and South America, Europe, and the Oceania region, with final closure scheduled for December 6.
This was a very tough decision to make. The game has been in development for a long time, supported by developer, publisher, and community effort. Ultimately, we decided that continued development wasn’t going to help the game become what we all hoped it could become.
We will be supporting the game for the next several months during the sunset period, allowing both the development and publishing teams and the community to say goodbyes and enjoy the game.
In the near term, we’ll be removing the in-game store and will stop selling Steam DLC immediately. After several months, the game service will be closed for good on December 6, 2017 at 10am PST.
It’s been a humbling experience to serve such a dedicated and engaged player community. We sincerely thank you for all the feedback and support you’ve given us throughout the years.”
Looking at the game’s playerbase on SteamDB, it’s not hard to see some of the reasoning behind the decision. Since the game’s launch on July 28th, 2016 the number of daily players dropped precipitously and by the Fall it regularly had just over 1,000 players each day. The “renewal” update in July generated a small peak when longtime players returned to find the game in drastically different form.
One of the major changes in the update separated the characters and weapons into classes. Suddenly the guns that players had put the most time into were no longer available to the characters they preferred. Despite the improvements and additions this change apparently didn’t sit well with fans.
The calendar and Watch List have been updated and the game page is now live.