Back in 2012 Cliff Bleszinski left Epic Games. He stayed in retirement for barely two years and now he's back.

Boss Key Productions is the name of the new studio founded by Cliff Bleszinski, the former lead designer for Epic Games' Gears of War series. Cliffy B has joined forces with renown free-to-play publisher, Nexon, for his upcoming first-person shooter game, codenamed Blue Streak.

DualShockers recently collected some comments from Cliffy B during an AMA, where he discussed why he ended up with Nexon and why he supports free-to-play and hates used game sales.

The story of why he ended up with Nexon and not the other big publishers is somewhat fascinating, as he recounts it as follows...
“I know so many folks at EA, Ubi, MS, etc… After I left Epic I felt like the belle of the ball, EVERYONE wanted to meet with me when to be honest I just needed time off. But I have a very good agent who did the deal with Nexon, and he was eager, so after stalling him as long as I could (and knowing I’d want to come back eventually) I met with nearly all of the old guard. Even Zynga. (Mark Pincus came into my meeting 45 minutes late.)

Knowing developers who’ve worked with the traditional publishers I’d take them out, feed them a beer, and they’d do the “look around to see if anyone’s going to hear this” look and tell me “Run away. These guys aren’t the best to work with, and they’ll try to design your game and just get involved where they shouldn’t be.”

“With nearly EVERY one of the established big publishers I heard this from MANY developers. And no, I can’t name names.”

That's not that surprising a tale given that usually developers have that very same thing to say about working at big publishing studios, especially the usually outspoken Lorne Lanning from Oddworld fame.

Nevertheless, Cliffy B mentions that he finally met with the Nexon higher-ups after first keeping them at arms' length. He also, and very wisely, spoke with developers who have designed projects under Nexon's publishing label and they all had good things to say about the free-to-play publisher. After that he decided to jump in on the deal.

As for why his upcoming game will be an arena-based, 5-on-5, free-to-play title, Bleszinski explains that the industry can't sustain its own weight due to massive, ballooning budgets from AAA publishers, and gamers who can't afford to buy new games each and every time around, stating...
“They don’t mean to shit on you, they’re doing what they think is “the right thing” because we’re in a console space whereas budgets are astronomical for the games as well as the marketing budgets, and more and more players are buying used and just renting games (“campaign rental”) and that cycle simply cannot continue much longer. This is why we see annualization, DLC, season passes, all that stuff, it’s an attempt to stick a finger in the leaky dyke of the industry.”

So gamers who can't afford to buy new games each and every time around are evil, is that it? Publishers can't take cues from indie crowds and focus on modest budgets and not blow $100 million on marketing campaigns for crappy games? That's too much to ask for? They have to annualize games that could have been mods for other crappy, broken releases instead of working with the community to help their products grow?

You mean to tell me that CD Projekt RED and Valve and InXile Entertainment and Nintendo are doing it wrong? That releasing quality games at modest prices with reasonable marketing goals can't be sustainable? It either has to be consumer-gouging at retail or consumer-gouging with in-app purchases and over-priced microtransactions?

Well if that's the case, I'll stick with CD Projekt RED, Valve, Nintendo and the rest of the indie developers and publishers who actually know how to run a business.

You can learn more about Blue Streak by paying a visit to the official website.
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