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Radical Heights: Whatever Happened To Cliff Bleszinski's Battle Royale?

Cliff Bleszinski is a man who never quite caught up with his fame. He achieved stellar success thanks to Gears of War, but the franchise was as much a smash hit as it was his swan song. Not long after Gears of War 3 hit shelves, Bleszinski lost ownership of his creation, lost creative control at Epic Games, and eventually quit the company. But then he started a new studio, Boss Key Productions, which didn't fare any better.


Literally every project churned out by Boss Key Productions sputtered out. Lawbreakers failed to attract audiences, and the studio shut down before it could finalize talks for an Aliens FPS (ironically, Bleszinski turned down the opportunity to work on Hideo Kojima's Silent Hills because it was an existing property). But on that subject, why did Boss Key Productions close? Because Bleszinski's last game, Radical Heights, flopped. 

Why did it flop? That's what we're here to find out.

Bleszinski was accused of trying to cash in on ... himself

Video game trends go through cycles. A genre is popularized or invented; other companies grab a piece of the popularity pie with their own entries, and gamers gather around their favorite titles. The unpopular games die out, and the process repeats. In many ways, this cycle resembles the gameplay loop of battle royales, and Radical Heights was one of the many titles that didn't win that coveted battle royale chicken dinner.


When Radical Heights was introduced, it attracted quite a few big names in the battle royale landscape, including Dr Disrespect, Ninja, and Shroud. However, that popularity took a nosedive thanks to bad reviews. What didn't help matters was that Radical Heights was the second time Boss Key Productions was late to the popular genre party (the first was Lawbreakers, a hero shooter). Radical Heights was written off as a failed attempt to cash in on the PUBG/Fortnite craze. The irony of that statement is Bleszinski served as design director for Fortnite in the early days of its development. 

Radical Heights — and Lawbreakers — might demonstrate that Bleszinski is at his best when he forges his own path instead of following someone else's lead.