After the shuttering of Lawbreakers developer Boss Key Productions earlier this year, studio head Cliff Bleszinski mentioned that, rather than jump into another project, he’d be spending time with his family and reflecting on whatever may come next. As it turns out, it likely won’t be a video game.
Replying to a fan who was upset about the lack of refunds for the now-defunct Lawbreakers and that much of that money had been wasted, Bleszinski tweeted that that money went to paying employees’ 401ks, health care, and severances after Boss Key shut down. “I didn’t take a salary myself for two years,” he said. (He mentions paying for these employee expenses for “months” after the closure, though an employee responded by saying their own severance was only for three weeks. “Maybe I used hyperbole,” Bleszinski responded.)
I paid my employees, their 401ks, and their health care – even months after the studio folded. So they could care for their families.
I didn't take a salary myself for two years.
I get you're sad, but god, this kinda shit is another reason I am NEVER making another game. https://t.co/RtS7l5WcAl
— Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) November 15, 2018
He then pivoted to an informal announcement. “I get you’re sad, but god, this kind s— is another reason I am NEVER making another game.”
While that may seem flippant, he then confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that it wasn’t just an offhand comment. “I’m done,” he said. This would mark the end of Bleszinski’s decades-long career in the video game industry, which includes working on games like Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal Tournament, and Gears of War at Epic Games, along with creating Lawbreakers at Boss Key.
Lawbreakers’ failure at market was likely a heavy blow to all involved, and I can see how it might prompt someone to step away from the stress of creating a game and managing a studio for a while. Still, it’s surprising to see Bleszinski swear off video games altogether.