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Cliff Bleszinski accuses Epic Games of stealing staff

Boss Key co-founder believes there is plenty of room in Battle Royale genre as Radical Heights gains momentum

Cliff Bleszinski has publicly called out his former employer for trying to poach his current staff.

In a tweet spotted by Ars Technica, Bleszinski wrote: "Hey @epicgames, could you please stop trying to hire away my team? We just launched @Radical_Heights on UE4 and are really happy with how it's going."

After trawling through Bleszinski's Twitter feed, there appears to be no more details on how many Boss Key employees or which ones Epic might be attempting to entice.

There also seems to be no response from Epic to his accusations, but GamesIndustry.biz has contacted the Unreal Engine provider for comment.

However, the Boss Key CEO's claims follow just a few months after his co-founder and close friend Arjan Brussee departed the studio to work on a secret project at Epic.

Bleszinski himself left Epic back in 2012 to form Boss Key, with the firm releasing its debut game LawBreakers last summer.

The arena shooter struggled to gain an audience. We spoke to both Bleszinski and Brussee about plans to rescue the troubled title, but these weren't enough to prevent the game's fate: Boss Key announced earlier this month it is no longer working on LawBreakers.

Instead, the firm has poured its efforts into the early-in-development Radical Heights, the latest entry in the increasingly crowded Battle Royale market - currently dominated by Epic Games' Fortnite.

The implication is Epic has been hiring staff to work on its own Battle Royale title, perhaps offering them security given the struggles Boss Key has endured over the past year.

Bleszinki followed his original accusation with: "There's room at this genre [sic] for more than a few games."

Replying to another Twitter user, he added: "We have plenty of ways to make [Battle Royale] our own but they may never see the light of day if [Epic] keep doing this."

UPDATE: Epic Games responded to GamesIndustry.biz, but have no statement to offer at this time. However, a member of the company's staff has publicly responded to Bleszinski's claims.

William McCarroll left Boss Key Productions last month to become a senior programmer at Epic Games. While he doesn't name the other Boss Key employees that also moved over, he does defend their decision.

"With all due respect, assuming that Epic is the one starting contact / poaching is a bit presumptuous," he wrote via Twitter.

"We all had our own reasons for making the choice to leave BKP for Epic and to act like we are commodities being stolen is a bit hurtful. We are people first and foremost."

At the time of writing, Bleszinski has yet to reply.

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