Cliff Bleszinski took to twitter this week accusing his former employer, Epic Games, of trying to hire away members of his development team. We've got our fingers crossed that a rap battle will soon help squash the beef.
Bleszinski followed that tweet with a statement that there's room in the battle royale genre for "more than a few games," implying that Epic is trying to hamstring the competition by luring away its staff.
In case you missed the chain of events, it all began last summer when Bleszinski's studio launched LawBreakers, an arena shooter that never managed to earn an audience. At the time, PUBG was cited as being a reason for LawBreakers' downfall, though we'd probably blame a more direct competitor, Overwatch.
Anyway, LawBreakers' user numbers continued to shrink while PUBG grew and Fortnite Battle Royale entered the arena to become the new 100-player king. Keep in mind that Fortnite is an Epic game, the studio Bleszinski left several years ago to start his own company, and this is also the company he's accusing of poaching his staff.
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago and Boss Key announced they were shutting down further development on LawBreakers to focus on a new passion project. That was almost immediately followed by the reveal of Boss Key's own battle royale game, Radical Heights, which was then immediately launched into super early access on Steam.
Based on Bleszinski's tweet, it appears his stance is that Epic is trying to lure away his staff because Radical Heights is a new competitor in the genre Fortnite currently rules. For the record, Boss Key's co-founder, Arjan Brussee, left the studio to work on the mobile version of Fortnite while another staffer, Will McCarroll, also left to work at Epic. Since these things always seem to happen on twitter these days, McCarroll tweeted that Bleszinski's assertion was "a bit presumptuous," as staff members left Boss Key to work for Epic for their own reasons. He also notes that Bleszinski's statement pegs employees as "commodities being stolen" rather than actual people, which he said was hurtful.
As for how Radical Heights is doing, it's hard to tell. The Steam charts currently have the game at an all-time peak of 12,214, which is almost double the record for LawBreakers despite the fact that the latter was a fully-fleshed out, complete game. However, the 24-hour peak right now is just shy of 4,000 players only a week after the game first launched in early access. It's still far too early to judge, of course, as future updates and improvements may create enough buzz to draw in more and more players. We'll just have to wait and see.