Cliff Bleszinski Says He Made LawBreakers Too "Woke," And That's One Of The Reasons It Failed
"White dude shoehorns diversity in his game and then smells his own smug farts in interview."
Cliff Bleszinski struck gold with the Gears of War franchise, but his first game after leaving developer Epic--the team-based shooter LawBreakers--was not a success. That game, and developer Boss Key's battle royale follow-up Radical heights, failed to find an audience. And in turn, Boss Key closed its doors and Bleszinski left the gaming world.
Bleszinski is now taking time to reflect. He said in post on Instagram that lately he's been thinking about what he could have done differently with Boss Key. Easy ideas might have been to "pivot hard" when Blizzard's own team-based shooter, Overwatch, was announced, or he could have been "more of a dictator" with his ideas for LawBreakers, he remarked.
But perhaps a bigger revelation for Bleszinski was that he regrets getting political. He said he wishes he let LawBreakers speak for itself instead of being the "white dude [who] shoehorns diversity in his game and then smells his own smug farts in interview."
You can read Bleszinski's full statement below:
"Ever since the studio closed I've been wracking my brain what I could have done differently. Pivot HARD when the juggernaut of Overwatch was announced. Been less nice with my design ideas and more of a dictator with them.
One big epiphany I had was that I pushed my own personal political beliefs in a world that was increasingly divided.
Instead of the story being 'this game looks neat' it became 'this is the game with the 'woke bro' trying to push his hackey politics on us with gender neutral bathrooms.' Instead of 'these characters seem fun' it was 'this is the studio with the CEO who refuses to make his female characters sexier.' Instead of 'who am I going to choose' it became 'white dude shoehorns diversity in his game and then smells his own smug farts in interviews' instead of just letting the product ... speak for itself.
It's okay to be political when your company or studio is established for great product FIRST. But we were unproven and I regret doing it. (This will be quite the doozy of a chapter in the upcoming memoir.)"
As Bleszinski mentions here, he is currently writing a memoir that will chronicle his life and experiences in the video game industry.
Bleszinski left Epic after 20 years in October 2012, prior to the release of Epic's massively popular battle royale game Fortnite. He started Boss Key with former Killzone boss Arjan Brussee in 2014; the team shipped LawBreakers in 2017 and the early access PC game Radical Heights in 2018 before closing down later that year.
Bleszinski is now pursuing one of his other passions: theatre. He is an investor in the critically acclaimed Broadway musical Hadestown, which he is also co-producing. Hadestown earned a whopping 14 Tony award nominations, winning eight--including Best Musical.