Update 17/04/18: At least one Boss Key Productions member of staff has been confirmed to have switched over to Epic Games in March, as Principle Online Engineer William McCarroll stepped up into the role of a Senior Programmer. McCarroll has blasted Bleszinski’s accusations that Epic Games had been “poaching” staff, claiming that he and other members that have left all “had our own reasons.”
Unhappy with how Bleszinski has portrayed the situation, McCarroll drew attention to the fact that many previous Boss Key Productions staff might have made their own contact with Epic Games, with each having their own reasons for leaving the developer.
With all due respect, assuming that Epic is the one starting contact / poaching is a bit presumptuous. 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.
— William McCarroll (@NerdbloggerWil) April 14, 2018
This doesn’t suggest that the problems were in-house at Boss Key, however, but McCarroll’s tone suggests that Epic Games might be a more hospitable place of work. McCarroll was particularly unhappy with how Bleszinski dehumanised its members of staff acting “like we are commodities being stolen,” as staff “are people first and foremost.”
Another insightful comment on Bleszinski’s Twitter post comes from Piranha Games’ Senior 3D Artist Arman Nouri, who states that an employer should focus more on why members of staff decided to leave rather than the company they are leaving to go to.
The number of people leaving Boss Key to go to Epic Games has still not been disclosed, however the move could simply be due to the fact that both companies reside in the same area, rather than underhanded tactics.
Either way, Boss Key Productions has a lot of self-reflection to do, with suggestions of conducting exit interviews to get to the bottom of its own problems, introducing a non-compete clause for new hires and overall changing its attitude to value employees as something more than cogs that turn the machine.
Original article 16/04/18:
After the disappointing launch for Lawbreakers, developer Boss Key moved onto the moderately successful 80s-inspired battle royale title Radical Heights. Co-founder Cliff Bleszinski has since pointed the finger at rival Epic Games, accusing the Fortnite: Battle Royale developers for trying to poach his team
The accusation was publicly made on Twitter (thanks Ars Technica), in which Bleszinski directly tagged Epic Games’ official account asking it to “please stop trying to hire away my team? We just launched @Radical_Heights on UE4 and are really happy with how it's going.”
The point of Bleszinski’s post is seemingly to declare that there is room for more than just Fortnite: Battle Royale and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in the battle royale genre, as Radical Heights is managing to carve its own place.
— Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) April 13, 2018
As Epic Games former design director, Bleszinski has previously kept professional ties with his ex-colleagues, even going as far as to promote its current Creative Director Darren Sugg on Twitter for those that enjoy Fortnite.
Details surrounding the accusations have yet to be revealed, such as what Epic Games is supposedly doing behind the scenes to entice Boss Key members to leave the company, or whether Boss Key members have already left due to the practice. Epic Games has also yet to address the statement.
We will update this post as more details come to light.
KitGuru Says: The practice of poaching local talent is fairly common and it is usually down to the current company to make their employees happy enough to want to stay, rather than blaming a rival company for offering better conditions. Either way, if there is truth in the accusations, Radical Heights has proven to be good enough quality to compete with its pre-established rivals. What do you think about the game and Bleszinski’s accusations?