Skip to main content

Cliff Bleszinksi to address Boss Key failure in new book

Industry veteran's memoir “closes the chapter” on studio that shut down less than a year after its debut title Lawbreakers launched

The story behind the rise and fall of Boss Key Productions will be told in Cliff Bleszinski's upcoming autobiography.

The long-serving games developer has been sharing extracts from his memoir via Twitter over the past few weeks, and thus far it has primarily been about his personal life.

However, a section shared on Friday reveals he extensively discuss what happened with the Lawbreakers studio.

"I haven't done any interviews since Boss Key imploded because I needed to tell it in my own words, in my book," Bleszinski wrote in the accompanying tweet. "Did that today. Felt good, like that chapter in my life was finally closed."

The extract he shared doesn't actually reveal anything about his experience with Boss Key, instead offering context such as his history at Epic Games, the windfall he received when Tencent bought his shares, and a section about the realities of working in this industry.

"Game development can be a VERY stressful business," he wrote. "I mean, we're not curing cancer or running Space X here, but for those who work in this biz it MATTERS TO US. We grew up with Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, all of it, and want to make our own mark on this (very small) business that, to be honest, feels like family."

He also says the chapter on Boss Key has been harder to write than those that cover the deaths of his father and nephew, or the failure of his first marriage.

Bleszinski formed Boss Key Productions back in 2014 with the backing of Nexon for its debut title Lawbreakers, an arena-based shooter. The game finally launched in the summer of 2017, but failed to gain traction in its early weeks. Both Bleszinski and his co-founder Arjan Brussee told of their plan to turn things around, but it was not to be.

Initial signs of trouble appeared when Brussee left to join Bleszinski's former employer Epic Games for an "exciting secret project". The studio also made a "last-ditch attempt" to get back on track with Radical Heights, a free-to-play Battle Royale game that hoped to capitalise on the success of Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

In April, the studio announced it could no longer afford to support Lawbreakers and just one month later Boss Key Productions closed its doors. Bleszinski announced he was stepping away from games development to spend more time with his family.

Read this next

James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
Related topics