Gears Of War Designer Reveals Cool Ideas And Intriguing Art For Games That Were Never Made

The Gears of War designer reveals some of his team's other game ideas.


Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski's studio, Boss Key, has closed its doors. The closure came after the North Carolina studio's two games, LawBreakers and Radical Heights, failed to find a big enough audience to support the team going forward. Now, Bleszinski--who is stepping away from gaming for the time being--has shared some ideas and early design images from other games that the studio considered making. It is almost always fascinating to get a peek behind the curtain in an industry so obsessed with hiding these things from the public--and this case is no different.

Bleszinski posted a few of Boss Key's other game ideas on Twitter, one of which was a game called "Donuts." A spiritual successor to Toobin for VR, Donuts was an arcade-style racing that would have had you playing as animals. Basically, it was "Mario Kart on water with animals in VR," Bleszinski said. He added, "You could drink (ginger) beer for health, crush cans on your head, or shake up full ones for AOE attacks. Slam both hands to jump logs. Roman candles to pop tubes etc."

Bleszisnki went on to say that he envisioned Donuts as a game that people might actually play in a real inner tube with a VR headset strapped to their face.

Another one of Boss Key's ideas was for a game codenamed "DragonFlies." You would play as a ninja/samurai in a giant airship while riding dragons and fighting zombies. It aimed to offer a PvE experience set in a "feudalpunk" world on floating islands. The airships would have been aircraft carries and the dragons your planes, in essence.

You can use melee and guns, while Bleszisnki and the team also envisioned allowing to your customize your dragons. "Basically do for dragon riding what Halo did for vehicles," he said. You would also come across dragon eggs and hatch them. Bleszinski said the team aimed to learn from the "mistakes" of games like Scalebound and Lair. The developer added in other tweets that he pitched this game to Microsoft, Sony, EA, 2K, Activision, and Warner Bros.--and none wanted it, apparently.

Yet another idea was for a game called "DogWalkers," which was aiming to be a World of Tanks/Tokyo Wars type of game where players fought against each other in giant vehicles. DOG, in the context of this game, stood for Destructive Ordnance (on the) Ground. "The air in the world's fiction was toxic so any leaks on your walker you'd have to repair quick or get gas masks on etc. Rappel outside to weld legs too, toss wrenches to each other etc..." Bleszinski shared.

So why did these games never happen? Bleszinski suggested that publishers did not see enough novelty--or too much--for them to want to sign on. What's more, he said at least some of these games would have had a budget of around $40 million, which he said is "not cheap."

"One problem with publishers, generally? You pitch something and the response is often 'too similar to something we have or out there so no' or 'this is too unique so we can't do a proper financial model for it.' I respect them but as a creative it's frustrating," Bleszinski said.

You can see all of Bleszinski's relevant tweets below.

The servers for Radical Heights, a battle royale game with an '80s twist, will remain online for the time being, but are expected to eventually shut down for good. Bleszinski himself said he is going to "take some time off and reflect." He added that he hopes to return to gaming to "make something new again," but it won't be for a while.

Bleszinski left Epic Games in 2012 before setting up Boss Key in 2014. An interesting piece of video game trivia is that it was Bleszinski who announced Epic's Fortnite during the Video Game Awards in 2011.

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