LawBreakers didn’t have a great launch, and its fortunes haven’t improved since then, with player numbers so low that they might as well be zero. Cliff Bleszinski isn’t ready to throw in the towel, however, and believes changes to the multiplayer shooter, its marketing and his own attitude could bring back the players.
"We need to do what we can to let people know this is a really sweaty palm type of experience that can hopefully lend itself to eSports,” Bleszinski told Gamespot. “But you know, I have to keep this game alive, first and foremost. I can be very cocky and very brash on social media. And realising that, you know, we have a fledgling player base. It's been very humbling for me. I'm going to continue to iterate on this game, continue to add to it. And try to be less of a dick, honestly."
One of the mistakes he made was not launching with a team deathmatch mode. He had very clear ideas about the game he wanted to make, and it didn’t include the mode, but he underestimated how badly players wanted to just jump into a game and blow each other up, objectives be damned.
"I didn't want to do the exact same stuff everybody else did. The funny thing was, making a character-based, class based shooter—even though it's not as simple as a traditional arena shooter, it still has a lot of that kind of feel underneath it all," he said. "In hindsight, I think it was a mistake to not ship with it. I was stubborn. I was like, 'Ohh, everybody's [already] done TDM.' Even Blizzard's like, 'Screw it, we need to put TDM action in Overwatch.' Fundamentally, at the end of the day, players just want to get in and shoot some stuff sometimes.”
Bleszinski has had a tumultuous relationship with PC gaming since 2008, where he said it was in disarray and the only PC games going forward would be titles like WoW and The Sims. He took it all back when he announced LawBreakers, of course, but there’s still the hint of a chip on his shoulder.
"There is a situation where players look at numbers on Steam; that doesn't happen on PlayStation 4. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but you look at PC, [concurrent user] health versus PS4, PS4 is doing fine," he said. "People cough up 30 bucks and hop online and they don't overthink it. On PC there is you wanting to declare something a success or a bomb by this internet culture that loves to just observe things.”
To make LawBreakers a success, Bleszinski and Boss Key Productions are planning a series of rapid fire updates, along with news maps, modes and characters. Bleszinski teased the update road map at the start of the month. Sales and free weekends are also being considered.
"It's a marathon. Not a sprint," he said. "We're going to keep iterating keep working on it. At the end of the day, I didn't want to make the exact same archetypes that everybody else did. I wanted to make a game that was first and foremost a shooter for shooter players."