Game Designer Cliff Bleszinsky Blames LawBreakers' Tepid Reception On His Polarizing Personality

LawBreakers has been a long time coming. We first wrote about the game when Boss Key Productions unveiled the title two years ago this month with a "badass" trailer, as we deemed it at the time. And by most accounts, it has lived up to the hype—it has a "Very Positive" rating on Steam from over 1,900 reviews. However, it has not come out of the gate as strong as some thought it would. Cliff Bleszinkski (or CliffyB, if you prefer), co-founder of Boss Key Productions, blames himself.

CliffyB sat down for an interview with Eurogamer in which he answered a variety questions about LawBreakers and related topics. At one point during the interview, he was asked if thought his stature in the industry and the perceptions that go along with it might have harmed LawBreakers as much as it helped it. The short answer is "Yeah, that's possible," though CliffyB elaborated on his thoughts.

Cliff Bleszinksi
Image Source: Flickr (BagoGames)

"I've had a very polarizing personality through the majority of the frickin' 25 years I've been doing this. It probably comes from a lack of being popular in school or something—I don't really know. But what I do and bring to the table brings a certain amount of weight," CliffyB said. "You also have an entire generation of 15-year-old kids who don't know who I am, nor do they give a sh*t—they're more excited about their favorite Twitch streamer or YouTuber, which we've recognized in regards to appealing to that crowd, and building relationships with them, occasionally finding the ones that aren't fans of us and throwing a bit of money at them to see if they want to give it a go to kind of help raise awareness and get the word out."

CliffyB is aware that success is never guaranteed and that "you're only as good as your last game." After taking 18 months in semi-retirement, he noted that even though he surrounded himself with a team of veterans in the games industry when he came back, he still had to prove himself, "which is why I now have my first grey hairs."

Many would argue that he did in fact prove himself with LawBreakers, a game with an 80 score Metacritic. Players seem to like LawBreakers so far, there just are not enough of them playing it. This does not bother CliffyB, or if it does, he is not letting anyone know. To him, this is "marathon not a sprint."


"I'd rather be the under-hyped game that slowly ramps up into something that people adore than something that comes out with way too much hype that there's a backlash for, which is why I think the Steam reviews are so positive," CliffyB said. "We're going to continue to raise awareness, continue to support the product—if you look at the phenomenon that was League of Legends, it built off a Warcraft 3 mod then slowly but surely blossomed into this immense amazing thing, and I'd rather be the game that comes up and has that hockey stick ramp with a slow burn and builds up rather than the triple-A hype machine where you have a bazillion people playing it month one and it goes down exponentially then they follow up with an annual product."

CliffyB also addressed the free-to-pay model and the shift away from that with LawBreakers. He admits that initially announcing the game as a free-to-play title may have hurt its reception, as "first-person shooter players are very cynical with regards to that. They expect gun rentals, they expect to be nickel and dimed, and they're used to microtransactions in $60 games." That led to the decision to abandon the free-to-play model and offer LawBreakers at a mid-range $30 entry point. He says that is something gamers appreciate, and we imagine the same is true of limiting in-game purchases to cosmetic items.

LawBreakers is available now for PC on Steam and PlayStation 4 via the PlayStation Store.