Lawbreakers, the multiplayer shooter from Cliff Bleszinski's studio Boss Key, has had a rough time since the game launched, but Boss Key have a plan to save it from the same fate as Gearbox's Battleborn - which stopped receiving updates two days ago. Details below.
Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski and co-founder Arjan Brussee (who also co-founded Guerrilla Games, creators of Killzone and Horizon: Zero Dawn) explains what happened with Lawbreakers and how they're still optimistic they can save the game - despite the low player counts which just last Sunday dropped to zero for a time. Which is worrying, considering Cliff's first point for saving Lawbreakers:
"All I need to do is maintain enough CCU
They talk about free weekends, one of which they've had and saw the game rise to 1000 players, content drops, trading, and being more eSports, new player and streaming friendly. They then talk about one of the biggest problems, especially in comparison to other shooters such as Overwatch and Team Fortress 2, and that's the lack of focus on characters and story. They marketed the game with a dead frowning face symbol called Deadzo instead of characters like Sunshine the Harrier - which they're going to reverse.
""To be frank, we made a mistake... When you don't know anything about the game and a banner shows up... Even the name Lawbreakers, if you don't know about the gravity-defying thing, you're like 'what is this?'. Basically if you look at that symbol outside of context, it says you're going to have a bad time. We have a lot of really great characters - Sunshine the Harrier is as tough as she is loveable, so we're going to be leading with her a lot more going forward so people will know who they're going to get attached to."
Co-founder Arjan Brussee went into more detail about streaming, which they are marking is key for their growth. He says:
"It's been a goal for us to build something that's inherently watchable... That's why we invested in making things like the spectator camera. Another thing is that sports work so well because there's always this 'hot potato' being tossed around, like a ball, and you can focus the action around that to make for easier viewing. I saw similar things when working on Battlefield with those diffuse-the-bomb type game modes, because they spectate better and it's easier to understand what's happening... We've been designing modes that have focal points, but also have drama in them that is exciting to watch and shoutcast... that kind of stuff is important."
Finally Bleszinski adds, "when it comes to character-based shooters, I've always said there's room for three, maybe four and I'm hoping we can start beginning to crack into that space. I want to carve out my space and be Pepsi or RC Cola of that market - I'm not going to be Coke because Overwatch has too much of a stranglehold."
With the dominance of Overwatch, not to mention the likes of Team Fortress 2, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (even though it's not character-based, it is a shooter that's taken over this year) but with the rather large price of entry still on and so many multiplayer shooters jostling for attention it's going to be a difficult road ahead for Boss Key.
What do you guys think? Are you playing Lawbreakers? Have you played it, if so what do you think? Let us know in the comments!