Early last month Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski and his studio Boss Key Productions released a debut project in the form of a gravity-defying, intense online first-person shooter dubbed LawBreakers, onto PS4 and PC.
Despite critical acclaim and the name Cliff Bleszinski behind it, LawBreakers has stumbled out the gate, and to date has not been able to garner a substantial player-base.
As GameStop reports, the team-based shooter has especially struggled on PC, with a peak concurrent player count of just 181 over the past 24 hours, and only a mere all-time peak of 7,482, according to Steamcharts. As for the PS4 edition, Bleszinski says it is “doing fine,” but it has been reported that finding matches can be very challenging.
Being an online shooter, it’s very important to rope-in a sizable, hardcore fanbase that you can feed off, and in turn provide a consistent churn of new content, which attracts further players. This is a cycle that has allowed many online shooters over the years to exists years beyond their release, and often even grow in player count.
Despite the low engagement, Boss Key and Bleszinski remain hopeful and have been proactive in planning out the immediate future of LawBreakers, confirming that alongside “rapid-fire” updates (more normal patchwork), a new class, maps, features, modes, and more will all be added throughout the remainder of the year.
In the an interview with the aforementioned outlet, Bleszinski had the following to say about Boss Key’s commitment to the title:
“It’s a marathon. Not a sprint. 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.”
Apparently, Bleszinski believes that LawBreakers could have a similar trajectory to that of Warframe, which launched with relatively low player numbers, but has since grown substantially thanks to things like a commitment to release new and exciting content. In addition to this, Bleszinski and co. are also overhauling the game’s marketing, including the odd choice (my words not his) of the sad face with the classic X’s as eyes that has been used as the game’s logo.
The new marketing campaign will try to help people understand the game, and reaffirm that it is a high-octane, intense team-based shooter that can be played with friends.
“We need the bodies. We need to keep fluffing up the CCU,” Bleszinski said. “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. 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 realizing 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.”
Bleszinski also concedes that having no Team Deathmatch at launch (it has since been implemented) was a mistake, and that he should have budged on his vision for the game. He continues:
“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. 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 concludes by thanking everyone who purchased the game for $29.99 USD, and reaffirming that he and Boss Key are going nowhere, and will “stick with it.”