Earlier this year, game designer Cliff Bleszinski was forced to shut the doors on Boss Key Productions and ceased development of Lawbreakers. While Bleszinski has a lot of respect for his fans, those demanding a refund have cemented his decision that he is “never making another game.”
Not even the mind behind Gears of War could save LawBreakers from its untimely demise, with many attributing its commercial failure to the release of the highly successful PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds around a similar time. One disgruntled fan of the game took to Twitter to demand a refund, expressing his disappointment at the lack of aftersales care.
Bleszinski fired back, explaining that the hardship of the studio is much less black and white than simply refunding customer’s money. The designer had an obligation to take care of his staff, paying their contracts and providing the earned benefits. His commitment to his employees led to him cutting his own salary for a total of two years.
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
Considering a great number of recently defunct studios has seen many former employees go without payment or help, it’s easy to see why industry figures have commended Bleszinski’s efforts. God of War director Cory Barlog wrote that Bleszinski’s dedication “is something to be respected and held up as a standard,” equally as much “in the tough times” as well as in the good.
Although Bleszinski seems pretty adamant on an early retirement, this isn’t the first time he’s dipped out from the industry. The designer ended his run at Epic Games in 2012, following the release of Gears of War 3 the year prior. He returned to the industry in 2014 by creating Boss Key Productions alongside Guerrilla Games co-founder Arjan Brussee.
The key difference is that Bleszinski originally left Epic stating that he needed to take a break after working in the business since his teens. His most recent statement contains much more definitive wording, meaning fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for his return any time soon.
KitGuru Says: Although it’s disappointing to spend $30 on a game that doesn’t last, the memories created in that time have to be worth something. Personally, I would rather lose a relatively small amount of money than starve the families of the developers that worked tirelessly on a game that sadly never made it. How do you feel about Bleszinski’s reaction to a fan’s demand of a refund?