Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski really hasn’t had a lot of luck in recent years. After leaving Epic Games in 2014 and co-founding Boss Key Productions, the studio’s debut game LawBreakers didn’t do as well as he’d hoped. Since the closure of Boss Key in May 2019, Bleszinski has apparently been giving a lot of thought to why the multiplayer first-person shooter failed, and he has taken to social media to share his reasonings.
“One big epiphany I had was that I pushed my own personal political beliefs in a world that was increasingly divided,” he states in a post on Instagram. He goes on to elaborate on exactly what he thinks put players off LawBreakers.
“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.”
While it’s true that there is a lot of – often heated – discussion around politics in games and whether or not they belong in the medium, this does seem to be a bit of a stretch. By all accounts, LawBreakers wasn’t terrible and got off to a relatively good start. But upon its release in 2017, it was up against the likes of Overwatch and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. It seems much more likely that bad timing was the main contributing factor for players dropping off, and the game’s player base irrevocably declining.
Following the widespread reaction to the Instagram post yesterday, Bleszinski has since edited the original post to add: “In case I didn’t make it clear I mean that this was *A* factor, not THE. Marketing, timing, being on PlayStation over Xbox, and more were also factors.”
In related news, Rod Fergusson, a veteran of the Gears of War series and the lead behind Gears 5, has announced on Twitter that he is leaving The Coalition, developers of the series for its recent instalments. He will move to Blizzard in March to oversee the Diablo franchise.