Cliff Bleszinski says he's not worried about LawBreakers' slow start

Everything I've heard about LawBreakers, the new online FPS from Cliff Bleszinski's Boss Key Productions, indicates that it's very good. The reaction among players on Steam is very positive, too. But there's been quite a bit of talk about its relatively slow start out of the gate: At the time of writing, there are a little over 1500 people playing it, which isn't enough to get it even close to the top 100. That's not a great start, but in a wide-ranging interview with Eurogamer, Bleszinski said he's not worried. 

"It's a marathon, not a sprint. I'd rather be the underhyped game that slowly ramps up into something that people adore than something that comes out with way too much hype that there's a backlash for, which is why I think the Steam reviews are so positive," Bleszinski said.  

"We're going to continue to raise awareness, continue to support the product—If you look at the phenomenon that was League of Legends, it built off a Warcraft 3 mod then slowly but surely blossomed into this immense amazing thing, and I'd rather be the game that comes up and has that hockey stick ramp with a slow burn and builds up rather than the triple-A hype machine where you have a bazillion people playing it month one and it goes down exponentially then they follow up with an annual product." 

Interestingly, he said that the LawBreakers public alpha was a mistake, because it didn't properly represent the "full vision" of what he wanted to achieve. "If I could go back, I wouldn't have allowed that to be publicly streamed because it deflated some of the expectations, and we have to work three times as hard to win people back based on that perception," he said. 

The initial announcement of the game as free to play also did harm, he said, because "first-person shooter players are very cynical with regards to that. They expect gun rentals, they expect to be nickel and dimed, and they're used to microtransactions in $60 games." And he acknowledged that his personal reputation may have had an impact on how the game has been perceived as well—even though a big part of his audience is a "generation of 15-year-old kids who don't know who I am, nor do they give a shit." 

"I've had a very polarizing personality through the majority of the frickin' 25 years I've been doing this. It probably comes from a lack of being popular in school or something—I don't really know," Bleszinski said. "But what I do and bring to the table brings a certain amount of weight." 

Bleszinski said that Boss Key has quite a bit more in the works for the near-term future of LawBreakers, including a new character, new maps and game types, and "skins and meshes for characters that are really cool that players won't see for a couple of months. That's the world we live in—it's no longer fire and forget."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.