While the closure of Boss Key Productions means that the days are numbered for their two existing games, it also means whatever the team was kicking around in conceptual form will likely never see the light of day. Studio head Cliff Bleszinski has even shared a few of those concepts through social media.
What's really interesting about the concepts Bleszinski has been revealing over the past 24 hours is just how different they are from one another. The studio was young, obviously, so it's kind of cool (and also very sad) to see what directions they might have headed while feeling out a place for themselves in the crowded games market.
The above image, for instance, is a piece of conceptual work for one of the games Boss Key had been considering, Dragonflies. Apparently, all of the conceptual stuff was turned down before the team finally procured funding for LawBreakers, the doomed arena shooter. That makes sense, since I still say LawBreakers sounds like a winner on paper for a genre that isn't all that crowded. Unfortunately, Overwatch has proven that a single title can be "crowd" enough if it has captured a lot of attention.
Dragonflies hits me especially hard, because Bleszinski describes it as a kitchen-sink of fantasy and fun. You play as pirate samurai and ninja who just so happen to ride armored dragons and explore the world in aerial ships. Whether playing solo or co-op, your goal was to take out the undead hordes that have overtaken the world below.
The next game, DogWalkers, was apparently inspired by the film Fury. We figure it could have easily been converted to a standard format, but the original concept was for virtual reality. The game was intended to be a 5v5 war game that kind of sounds like a multiplayer version of Star Trek: Bridge Crew. You and your team would stalk the battlefield fighting other walkers, with one player steering the machine, another taking care of repairs, another firing the weapons, etc. Much like Dragonflies, this seems pretty ambitious, especially since, while successful, VR gaming hasn't exactly taken the world by storm. A team-based multiplayer game that relies on loads of cooperation would be a difficult sell.
Finally, there's Donuts, easily the best-named game on the lot. What's interesting is that this was intended as yet another VR game, showing how interested in the technology Bleszinski and his crew were. This particular game's scope was more zoomed in than the previous two and, after reading about it, I'm a bit surprised it got a pass.
This was a racing game where players take on the role of cartoony animals riding tubes down a river course. That could make for some great VR visuals, plus the player's hand movements were used to paddle the boat and change direction.
It's a bummer that LawBreakers and Radical Heights didn't work out for Boss Key. Looking at these concepts, we can't help but wonder where they would have been in another five or so years.