It’s always a shame when you hear that a studio has shut down, even more so when it is a studio that promised so much. Boss Key Productions, founded by Cliff Bleszinski, just couldn’t keep up with games such as PUBG, Overwatch and Fortnite, which captured gamer’s online attention far more than many other shooters.
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 video game 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. Video games 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 four years, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart and everyone who came to work for me.
Please note that the servers for Radical Heights will remain up for the near future.
Thanks again, Cliff
It’s such a shame we have to say goodbye for now, particularly as I for one thoroughly enjoyed LawBreakers!
Boss Key Productions have lifted the lid on what they have planned for LawBreakers’ free content for 2017. An image was teased last week that hinted at new maps and a role…
Releasing later this month, Namsan is the first new map to be bolted on to the base game. Following Nasam is a map that has been solely crafted for Blitzball – Gateway.
There’s also a third map in the pipeline too – a reimagining of one of the earliest maps that was designed. Set in the Sequoia National Forest, Valhalla will be the first asymmetrical map to feature in LawBreakers, it also has some devious environmental hazards and unique spawn locations.
Team deathmatch is coming in the way of skirmishes – a space where the team will trial new modes. Timed exclusive skins will feature as part of the new Blitzball map but the biggest addition to the game is the introduction of ranked matches, dubbed Boss Leagues. Details are slim on the ground, but I’d imagine some kind of reward for the top players.
The team continue to make tweaks to the game based on feedback and player data that they are inevitably collecting. New players now have a host of tutorial videos to help with learning new classes and a sandbox mode to try them out, but Boss Key are also exploring other options for helping break new players in.
Finally, towards the end end of the year a new character will enter the fray – or is that characters? Each role has two variants and while there is quite clearly one silhouette, there must be one for each team.
Ahead of a full roadmap reveal next week, the sneaky guys and gals at Boss Key Productions have teased the first content heading to LawBreakers with a nifty graphic.
From the looks of the image above, there will be two new maps heading to LawBreakers from September – Namsan and Gateway – a new Skirmish mode, a ranked Boss league and a new character – bonus points if you can work out what he/she is from the silhouette.
All future content for LawBreakers is free – maps, modes, roles and loot updates.
The weekend is almost upon us and what better way to while away the hours than by playing your favourite game – but what to play? Call of Duty WWII’s private beta kicks off, but LawBreakers has a bonus 2XP weekend – it’s going to be tough to decide.
To sweeten the deal, Boss Key Productions are holding a special Stash Drop contest – show off your favourite stash drop with the tag #LBStashDrops and you’ll be entered into a contest to win a sweet ass Deadzo hat – a real hat I should add – not a digital accessory.
The 2XP weekend kicks off today at 12:00 PDT/15:00 EDT/21:00 CEST and runs until August 28 12:00 PDT/15:00 EDT/21:00 CEST.
Patch 1.2 for Lawbreakers is due to go live today at 15:00 GMT, that’s 07:00 PDT/10:00 EDT/16:00 CEST.
The update brings in ‘quality of life fixes along with a few balance adjustments for roles and modes’.
“Greetings LawBreakers, welcome to Patch 1.2! In this patch we’re focusing on some minor gameplay tweaks and visual effects improvements while we prepare some more in depth changes for the future. For Harrier and Battle Medic we’ve improved the team colors on their weapon effects so that they’ll be more readable and consistent with the rest of the game. On the balance front, we’ve made a few adjustments to Assassin and gave a small buff to Juggernaut. Game modes are also seeing a few changes… Blitzball has a shorter game clock and a faster shield drop time to help end matches that are getting too drawn out. Occupy has a few more seconds in between zone spawns to help teams better prepare for the next fight.”
I’m pretty happy to see that LawBreakers is getting updates to the different game modes, often updates are reserved for character and weapon balances, so I’m happy to see Boss Key Productions addressing feedback from the fans. I’m still hoping for some more options other than quick match to be introduced and some form of tutorial mode so I can learn the intricacies of the other characters without being punished by skilled players.
Experienced games veterans Cliff Bleszinski and Arjan Brussee formed new studio Boss Key Productions in 2014—LawBreakers is the first title to come out of the studio and boy does it deliver.
Focused purely around competitive multiplayer, LawBreakers is a battle between two teams – Law vs. Breakers, or rather, cops vs. robbers – and it’s a shame that there is little in the way of a storyline to explain how and why these two factions have locked horns.
On paper, LawBreakers sounds simple – eight maps, five modes, nine classes and 18 characters – but underneath the neat UX and lavish visuals is a devious game that will hook you for hours on end. Scratch away at its surface and you will reveal a deep combat system that is focused purely around abilities and gunplay – no complex class creation or killstreaks – just cold hard arena combat with weapon and character abilities so expertly balanced that you will be hard pressed to criticise any one character for being too OP.
The maps themselves, while small in number, are expertly crafted. Everything is neat and has beautiful symmetry; the simplicity in their layout only serves to focus the action more intensely. With a centre point shrouded in a Zero-G gravity bubble, each map forces you to change your strategy depending on the route you choose or where the rest of your team are fighting – and this is why I love LawBreakers so much – you must play as a team.
Playing as a lone sweeper is a sure way of getting yourself killed, respawning back at the base after a short timer delay, during which time the opposition can really punish your team. Go together and you’ll dominate. It’s clear to see that Gears of War’s multiplayer has bled through into LawBreakers, not to mention the team’s influences and experiences from working on Unreal Tournament—but it’s not quite perfect yet.
Depending on the mode, teams can be really punishing when they all select the same character. Blitzball in particular suffered from this and at times, made the mode painful to play. By simply locking down character classes to one per team, similar to Gigantic, I feel the gameplay would be more balanced and more importantly, fun. Running round a corner to face three Titans is the stuff nightmares are made of.
Currently the PS4 version only supports quick play and custom private matches. With no option to add bots, or a practice mode, learning new characters has a steep learning curve and beyond an instruction screen, working out how to chain attacks together to unlock the best combination moves can be somewhat of an uphill struggle when playing competitively – you can also kiss that KD goodbye.
The transition from keyboard to controller has also suffered slightly. Some abilities need your fingers on the sticks and the face buttons simultaneously for maximum effect, meanwhile, the rear view mirror blindfire kill is tough to pull off on the fly as you need to press the down button on the D-Pad. Just think about that for a minute… while running through a corridor by pushing forward on the left stick and being pursued by an enemy, press down on the D-Pad to fire behind you… not so easy is it?
Beyond the balanced characters, Boss Key Productions weren’t content with creating just a solid shooter; they only went and mixed up the multiplayer modes too and added a twist to the traditional competitive modes we are used to.
Blitzball, which could easily become the next big thing in esports, mixes single capture the flag with basketball. A ball spawns in the centre of the map—and once the shield has been worn down by standing near the ball, it can be picked up and transported into the enemy base to score a goal. From the moment the ball is collected, a shot clock begins, resetting if the enemy picks the ball up. Every time the ball is dropped, a shield must be removed before it can be collected once more. It’s a great mechanic that creates some real bottlenecks in the action.
The shield is also present during the other capture modes too, which also play upon the capture the flag mechanic. Overcharge places a single battery in the centre of the map which must be collected and placed in your base to charge it to 100%, then held for several seconds to score. The twist is that the battery retains its charge – it’s a wonderful game of tug of war. Knowing when to steal the battery or allow your opponent to charge it for you is all part of its devious charm.
Similarly, Uplink has you retrieve and connect a satellite to your home base in order to download data. The kicker here is that once you hit 100% and score a point, your download level resets to 0. Meanwhile, your opponent’s data level remains until they too reach 100%. These modes reinforce that need to work as a team—not only must groups complement one another’s character traits, but deciding when to attack and steal a battery or uplink is a real art.
Turf War takes one of my favourite modes, Domination, and flips it on its head. Three locations on the map have to be capped. Once capped, the points become locked and reward a point for the team that claimed it. Once all three have been claimed, the points reset after a short duration. There are several strategic options here and when the teams clash over the last point, things can get real bad real quick. Like the game announcer exclaimed, points can “become an absolute shitstorm” and it’s bloody brilliant.
The only game mode that remains true to its traditional form is Occupy, which plays out as a KOTH. Boss Key Productions have done a cracking job at creating new and interesting twists on some of the best loved competitive multiplayer game modes—and the only disappointing part is that LawBreakers conforms to the standard loot box mechanic. For a title that reinvents so much, I had hoped that they might have had something special up their sleeves to tweak the reward mechanic for completing career achievements and leveling up.
With no minimap and health that needs replenishing by charge stations, health vials or the medic character class, the 5v5 team action of LawBreakers may seem slightly alien to those that didn’t cut their teeth on Quake or Unreal Tournament. For me, LawBreakers shatters the mould of recent competitive multiplayer shooters and brings a new verticality to the combat, shaking up game modes and giving a new way to chain attacks together to create unforgettable moments that will have you cheering in triumph with your friends or sobbing as you painfully lose by the narrowest of margins.
From quick-witted character one-liners, to the amusing cries of the Blitzball, LawBreakers has oodles of charm. It looks stunning, plays fast, and is one of the most addictive shooters I’ve played since Modern Warfare graced my console. At £24.99/€29.99/$29.99 with all future modes, maps and roles included, you’d be mad to not pick this up.
We purchased our own copy of LawBreakers to bring you this review