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Cliffy B

Active reload photo
The damage in multiplayer was a mistake
With last month's re-release of Gears of War on Xbox One, we've been thinking about the active reload system a lot. Steven wrote about the mechanic out of a preview event, and wondered why it wasn't a bigger part of Gear...

Bleszinski: I never said LawBreakers wouldn't come to consoles

Sep 07 // Brett Makedonski
But, Bleszinski's adamant that his studio, Boss Key Productions, is too small to handle a console version. Someone else would have to do it. "We're 40 people. Even if we wanted to do a console version, we couldn't right now," Bleszinski commented. "If one of those potential console partners (Sony or Microsoft) reaches out -- and they reach out all the time -- we meet with them, and let's keep the dialogue going. It's just that we wouldn't be able to do the port ourselves. We'd need a really great partner that could knock it out of the park, keep it 60Hz, nail the controls, and make it fantastic." Consoles might seem like an odd destination for LawBreakers, as its roots are firmly planted as a keyboard and mouse shooter. Bleszinski originally thought so too, but realized that there may not be many necessary concessions for it to come to consoles.  Bleszinski elaborated on this realization by saying "Some of the Epic engineers came over and we had a conversation where I was like 'Good luck porting this to consoles.' One of them looked at me and said 'Titanfall's crazy wall-jumping, wall-running, and verticality, and that works on PC and console.' With the right amount of aim-assist and the right amount of little tricks, I could see it working. I wouldn't want to do the cross-platform play, though. I don't think the effort's worth the outcome there." Any amount of success for LawBreakers doesn't seem like it'll be enough for Bleszinski and Boss Key to take on any sort of console port. He wants to stick to that size of 40 employees. "I want to keep the company as small as humanly possible. There may be a time where if this becomes League of Legends big, fingers crossed, where we would need to grow, but that would be a few years out. That would be a best-case scenario. That would be a very good problem to have, but if that's the case, the first 40 to 50 employees will be very happy because we will have crushed it. But, we're going to stall as long as we can on that." Bleszinski justified this mindset by saying "The bigger a company gets, the more accountability happens, the more things get overthought. When that happens, creativity suffers. I'm not saying great things can't come out of big companies, but I'm saying that it's harder than in small companies."
Cliff Bleszinski photo
But Boss Key won't do it
Ever since Cliff Bleszinski announced he was working on an arena shooter, it has had "PC-only" in most people's minds. It's definitely PC first and foremost, but that doesn't mean that it's restricted to PC. Bleszinski's very...

LawBreakers photo

Here's a long video showing what LawBreakers really looks like

22 minutes, if you want all of that
Sep 02
// Brett Makedonski
We sat down with Cliff Bleszinski at PAX Prime last week to talk about his studio's new game LawBreakers. We chatted about the gameplay mechanics and the free-to-play model. There's still more to come from that intervie...
Cliff Bleszinski photo
'I honestly thought I was done'
If you were to look at Cliff Bleszinski's work history, you'd find a small gap between his time at Epic Games and the development of his new game, LawBreakers. A couple of years seems like a fair transition time, but Bleszins...

LawBreakers photo

New footage has surfaced for Cliffy B's LawBreakers

Skill shots and domination streaks
Aug 31
// Laura Kate Dale
Oh hey, are you itching to see more footage of Cliff Bleszinski's upcoming futuristic sci-fi shooter LawBreakers already? Well, thanks to the official LawBreakers Twitter account this weekend, we have a whole bunch of new pie...

Cliff Bleszinski: 'I respect that core gamers see free-to-play as a dirty, dirty thing'

Aug 30 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]308383:60188:0[/embed] At this point, LawBreakers co-developer and Killzone series director Arjan Brussee chimed in "If you have a small barrier of entry like an early access fee, then I think that can work. For us, if you look at the game, it's definitely a triple-A type of experience. We don't want to charge $60, but our fans are used to paying money to play games with the Killzone and Gears of War stuff. So, I think we can leverage the free-to-play thing and do cool stuff in that space." Brussee's right in saying that this is a segment of the gaming population that doesn't have a problem coughing up some cash for games. The challenge comes in getting them on-board with free-to-play -- especially those who are distrustful of the model. But, Bleszinski wouldn't want to go back to the traditional sales metrics. "Yeah, for me, that's completely dead. That's pre-orders, that's 'how many do you get in the first two months' and then it's an exponential curve downward after that," Bleszinski said about the idea of his metrics for success suddenly shifting. "People who are still doing that: have fun. For me, that's old. For us, it's about a ramp." Bleszinski continued "We may not make a lot of money in the first couple months. But, in the first year, we may start to ramp up. These games are like a locomotive where they get going and going. Once they get momentum, you look around and say 'How did this game get so damn big?' The marking is a steady launch over the course of a bunch of different beats throughout the year as opposed to blowing the wad at Christmas while everyone else is blowing their wad. Or, the Super Bowl where you try to get Liam Neeson and Kate Upton to do goofy ads. We're in it for the long-run here."
LawBreakers free-to-play photo
But he's done with the traditional model
When Cliff Bleszinski formed Boss Key Productions to create the game now known as LawBreakers, he always knew that free-to-play was the model he wanted. That statement's not as black and white as it sounds. There's a lot of i...

Cliff Bleszinski: We want players to actually use verticality

Aug 29 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]308291:60187:0[/embed] "I don't mean to slag any other games, because those core loops of getting a lot of kills quick are what kill streaks and kill streak rewards are built on," Bleszinski said. "With us, we want to have a little bit of that dance, a little more like Halo where if someone gets the drop on you, you at least have a shot at either getting away or at least taking a dent out of them so they might die by your teammate." The hook that allows LawBreakers this freedom lies in the world-building. Because of a cataclysmic event known as "The Shattering," Earth is left with pockets of low gravity in certain areas. Conveniently enough, LawBreakers' maps are set in some of these areas, which should make for interesting and varied gameplay. Bleszinski was visibly excited about this. "We see these moments where there's this giant zero-gravity pocket where everyone's vertical and people are actually knocking each other around with rockets. One of the comments on Twitter was someone asking if rockets actually propel people. Since you have a rocket jump now, you actually have a radius. We found that with rockets not being a one-hit kill (because we don't really want them to be), even with Kitsune who's a very light character, once we have the law equivalent of her, she probably might be a couple rockets minimum. Still, it's a light character, but we want you to juggle." There's a reason he wants players to juggle. "When you introduce low gravity and the concept of juggling as well as a rocket that you can air-burst with the alt-fire, you see somebody flying through the air blind-firing propelling themselves, and you can suddenly send them over to the other side of the map by air-bursting a rocket and then follow through with your stomp move and kind of chain your moves together. We want the FPS dance to kind of come back." That FPS dance means that players stay alive longer and actually get to make use of the game's vertical axis. "It's a lot greater than your Call of Duty grind. It's a little bit faster than your Titanfall one. It's somewhere around Halo-ish is what I like to say," Bleszinski ultimately said of Spencer's original time until death inquiry. Figuring out exactly how to properly execute all that action is the tough part. LawBreakers' gameplay trailer showed a handful of different characters, each with their own abilities and traits. Bleszinski and his team are now in the position of getting all of those characters work in conjunction with one another without any of them sticking out like a sore thumb. "Perfect balance is nearly impossible to get," Bleszinski commented. "We're still working on it. Right now, in the current build that people are playing off-site, it's very asymmetrical -- two unique classes on both sides. The Law has all sorts of weapons whereas the Breakers have like area-of-effect stuff. That's been really hard to balance. One of the first things we're going to do when we get back is, you have Breacher on the Law side, we're figuring out who the Breacher equivalent is on the Breaker side. That's something that when we go back to symmetrical gameplay, I think it's going to be easier to balance. But, it'll still be slightly asymmetrical." It may not be exactly what he's shooting for, but Bleszinski made reference to a revered fighting game when talking about balanced gameplay. "I saw a graph where they're pointing out the Smash Bros. characters from the original that we've used over the years. Smash Bros. may be the most perfectly balanced game ever because they kept finding a new character and a new exploit without the game ever being patched or updated." An interesting analog, but LawBreakers won't take that approach. Bleszinski continued "Thankfully, we're going to be a living product so we can keep introducing updates, hopefully every couple weeks. Pump that shit through, have test kitchens and things like that. Basically, if we find an exploit that breaks the game, fix it. But, also recognize when there's an exploit that adds to the game. You know, rocket jumping is one of those accidents that actually is cool." Bleszinski and Boss Key can expect to find a lot of those exploits given the combination of possibilities between several unique characters and maps with variable gravity. There are a lot of factors at play. Some exploits will evolve into part of the game, some will get squashed. Those that make verticality more enjoyable and contribute to the FPS dance (as Bleszinski put it) have a better chance of surviving.
Bleszinski interview photo
Doing the FPS dance
Just this week, Cliff Bleszinski and Boss Key Productions pulled back the curtain on LawBreakers -- the free-to-play arena shooter that has been in development under the codename Project BlueStreak. It's more than just the co...

LawBreakers trailer photo
LawBreakers trailer

LawBreakers features a few different aerial movement abilities

Gameplay trailer shows four classes
Aug 28
// Darren Nakamura
Two days ago we got the first reveal for Cliff Bleszinski's new arena shooter LawBreakers. Today we get a brief look at the gameplay and if I had to describe it with one word, that word would be "motion." Each of the four cla...
LawBreakers photo

Cliff Bleszinski's arena shooter is LawBreakers

Releasing next year
Aug 26
// Jordan Devore
Cliff Bleszinski (Unreal Tournament, Gears of War) and Arjan Brussee (Guerrilla Games co-founder) have been off building something called Project BlueStreak at their new studio Boss Key Productions. It's a futuristic first-p...
Cliffy BK photo
Cliffy BK

I think Cliffy B's joining a top-secret Burger King Kids Club

The new Kid Vid
Mar 18
// Brett Makedonski
Sharpen your conspiracy sticks, truthers. This news is right up there alongside the greatest that the Illuminati and New World Order could offer. This makes the claims that Denver International Airport is the secret lair for ...
Gears of War creator photo
Gears of War creator

Cliffy B's sci-fi shooter Project BlueStreak running in Unreal 4

Gears of War creator's next arena shooter
Mar 10
// Steven Hansen
Clifford Bleszinski (Gears of War, Unreal Tournament) is working on a new sci-fi arena shooter, code named BlueStreak. While it still doesn't have a final name, it does have an engine. Bleszinski's Boss Key studio is wo...
#darksiders2 photo

Please, let's all help Cliff Bleszinski name his new game

Nov 12
// Steven Hansen
Friend of Destructoid Cliff Bleszinski, best known for the Gears of War franchise, is having some trouble naming his new game. Maybe we can help? Let's all pitch in, From the Destructoid office chat we have: 
Cliffy B photo
Cliffy B

Beers of war: Cliff Bleszinski opened a pub in Raleigh

He's eyeing a barcade next
Jul 28
// Brett Makedonski
Cliff Bleszinski has been on quite the entrepreneurial run since his 2012 departure from Epic Games. It was recently revealed that he's opening up a new studio called Boss Key Productions. While developing videogames will be ...
Cliffy B photo
Cliffy B

Cliff Bleszinski to draw $1 salary until new venture is profitable

Like a Boss (Key)
Jul 09
// Brett Makedonski
No one can accuse Cliff Bleszinski of going into his Boss Key endeavor with the mindset that it's a cash grab. It's just the opposite, in fact. Until the company's able to turn a profit, Bleszinski will get almost nothing out...
Cliffy B AMA photo
Cliffy B AMA

Cliffy B talks microtransactions for his new free-to-play shooter

You've still got some time to go ask him questions
Jul 09
// Steven Hansen
Clifford Bleszinski (Gears of War, Unreal Tournament) is working on a new sci-fi arena shooter, code named BlueStreak (a Transformers nod). Of course, "free-to-play" still gets people (understandably) tugging a...
CliffyB photo

Yup: Cliff Bleszinski is making a sci-fi arena shooter

At a new studio with Guerrilla Games co-founder Arjan Brussee
Jul 08
// Jordan Devore
Former Epic Games designer Cliff Bleszinski is back from his hiatus. He's been teasing his next project for a while now, commenting that he'd like to make an arena shooter for PC and dropping concept art. The mystery game, Bl...
What will he put a chainsaw on next?
Clifford Bleszinski, affectionately known as "Cliffy B," announced his return to game development today. In 2012, Cliff left Epic Games, his long-time employer where he made a name for himself with the Unreal Tournament and Gears of War series. More details on Bleszinski's next project are promised to be revealed in the next week, but his past comments suggest it may be a PC arena shooter.

Minecraft photo

Canceled Minecraft for Oculus Rift would've been free to help promote VR

Notch stands by his decision
Mar 28
// Jordan Devore
I'll admit it: when I heard Markus "Notch" Persson had canceled Minecraft for Oculus Rift because Facebook acquired its creator Oculus VR and the social network company "creeps" him out, I was skeptical about how much work ha...
PokeRap photo

Cliffy B chooses you to die in this Pokemon rap

That headline fires on all cylinders
Mar 25
// Brett Makedonski
Cliffy B feels the flow and spits fire (like Charizard!) in a Starbomb rap-along. Then he pulls a Pokeball out of his pants. I repeat: Then he pulls a Pokeball out of his pants. The Gears of War creator isn't the only person you're likely to recognize, though. This video's full of "special guests" that want to tell the tale of how they chose you to die.
CliffyB photo

Cliff Bleszinski is done making disc-based games

'I will probably always make shooters. It's in my DNA.'
Feb 18
// Jordan Devore
It's unclear what exactly Cliff Bleszinski's next game will be, though last we heard a first-person arena shooter was at least a possibility. The former Epic Games designer has spoken about his future in an interview with Gam...
Cliffy B's next game photo
Cliffy B's next game

Cliff Bleszinski wants to make an arena FPS for the PC

Kids these days don't know about arena shooters
Dec 12
// Joshua Derocher
Cliff Bleszinski, the guy behind the Gears of War and Unreal games, has an idea for his next game. He talked about his idea on the latest episode of the Pointless podcast. Bleszinski said that he wants to make a game without ...
Cliffy B's new game photo
Cliffy B's new game

Cliff Bleszinski blase, teases cliffy new project

Gun-guy, gun-boat, gun-cliffs?
Aug 02
// Steven Hansen
Cliff Bleszinski has been quiet since leaving Gears of War developer Epic Games. Well, not quiet. He's been chiming in about all sorts of things and playing a lot of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. But we don't know how he's been ...

An industry that needs Xbox One DRM is a failed industry

Jun 20 // Jim Sterling
One need only look at the PC and its dominant digital market to see how far major publishers can be trusted. Steam is its own DRM. When you buy a game from Steam, it's about as protected from piracy as it can get. That didn't stop companies like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft from sticking their own DRM in on top of Steam's protection. Be it SecuROM or constant Internet connections, these publishers were so paranoid and desperate for a sense of control they crammed extra restrictions on top of existing ones.  And to linger further on Electronic Arts, this is the same company that said, five years ago, games need to stop all coming out at $60. CEO John Riccitiello said companies need to explore cheaper games and flexible pricing. Did EA lead the charge? Did it fuck! Instead, it produced Origin, its own digital service where it could handle distribution and do away with physical production ... and still charges $60 per game.  People could argue that EA still relies on retail and can't afford to tread on its toes. What, exactly, was Xbox One doing to change that? Retail was still a massive part of Microsoft's plans. GameStop, the pretend villain of the game industry, was going to be looked after, because the game industry is in league with it.  Some suggest we'll see an increase in pre-order bonuses, but again, such things are still all over the fucking PC market. Going all-digital doesn't change that. Companies will still use these things to try and desperately entice gamers, with exclusive pre-order DLC on various online store fronts, and "digital deluxe" editions that allow a company to charge $80 for a bunch of virtual goods. This is shit already happening in the increasingly digital PC market, and the idea that companies would suddenly stop a gravy train in full motion is almost child-like. That we all could believe in faeries! And let's take a whimsical trip to the world of mobile gaming. No retail to worry about there, right? It's all digital distribution by default, so surely our beloved major publishers are being reasonable. Oh ... but what's this I see? Is that Square Enix charging $30 for iOS games, and releasing one of the most vile money-grabbing non-games of all time? Is that Electronic Arts turning Theme Park into a gigantic free-to-play scam?  Why ... it's almost as if major publishers aren't looking for ways to make games cheaper for us, and instead will squeeze as much money out of us as they can get away with, simply because they can. But how could that be? Surely Square Enix and Electronic Arts are misrepresented heroes, who only want to break free from GameStop's shackles and look after us. No. Only in the picture books. In the real world, they've demonstrated a consistent willingness to turn any freedom they have into new methods of pulling egregious bullshit. Above all, this glittering ideal of digital distribution as a cure-all magic potion for the industry's problems is the product of remedial fantasy. A digital market won't free publishers from their obligations to clueless investors who demand all of the money at all times. It won't stop companies focus testing the shit out of their games as more and more products appeal to audiences spread thin by such saturation. It won't stop ludicrously excessive development and marketing budgets. I'm a big believer in digital distribution, but I don't believe in sorcery, and as such I don't think digital's going to solve everything rotten in the game industry. The big budget market is too far gone for that.  Xbox One tried to leap to step five without doing steps one, two, three, and four. It wanted to rush us from physical media to digital media, without clearly communicating its goals, or producing a console that gave direct and tangible benefits to the consumer, or proving it could withstand the demands of a product so reliant on the Internet, or without even ensuring there was a big enough audience for it. You can ask Sony how well that worked with the PSPgo (it didn't work very well). The PC proved it was ready for digital distribution, but it took years to do so. You can't just get up and start running when you're not even crawling properly, and in the years since Steam and GOG rose to become justifiable alternatives to physical media, home consoles languished with slow interfaces, clunky storefronts, and expensive games without any of the benefits we've come to expect from PC games. No mods. No quick option for patching content. No user fixes. None of that. Consoles need to work to earn their digital future. They can't just wake up one day and have it presented to them on a velvet pillow.  And if that's what consoles need, if they so require magic and wishes to avoid drowning in their own mess, then what good are they? Why should they survive? My God, do these companies love the fuck out of capitalism, but it seems that when capitalism comes to collect, when the flip-side of the system's benefits come to bite them on the ass, they try their best to run away from it. Even if the very worst of dooms befalls the so-called "AAA" console industry, I'm not worried. If this past E3 of buzz words and brown games taught me anything, it's that old companies and shriveled executives need to be cut down to make way for new blood. We need a new generation of game producers, not game consoles, and when the big trees fall, the smaller ones can finally get some sunlight. Good games will always be around, they just won't need the Old Guard to tell them what to do, to buy them up and spit them out. The death of a convoluted and broken market doesn't sound like a bad thing to me. Not if, according to some, the only way for them to survive is to directly fuck with their own audience.  What is it people like Cliff Bleszinski always say to gamers? Oh right, it's a business! Yeah, it's a business alright. You know what businesses are very good at doing? Failing. And if companies fail because they needed a console that inconvenienced consumers and imposed restrictions on other markets, well ... that's business for you.  Prove you deserve to survive. It's a business ... and that means you're not fucking entitled to your existence.
Xbox DRM controversy photo
Some things deserve to die
It looks like we're going to do this dance again. So soon. In the wake of Microsoft reversing its Xbox One DRM policies, brave corporate warrior Cliff Bleszinski wasted little time in telling us how this would be a bad thing ...

Used games and 'AAA' games are incompatible? Good!

Jun 13 // Jim Sterling
What really infuriates me about the used game debate is that, when people bring up the stratospheric development and marketing costs, it's treated as though they are noble endeavors, too sacred to be compromised. Rather than ask the question, "Do games need to be this expensive to make?" the question instead becomes, "How can we squeeze more money to keep making very expensive games?" Why are people like Cliffy B simply accepting the absolutely ridiculous high price of game development as immutable fact, quickly moving on to blame something else instead of examining the problem at its source? In a good business, the answer to something being too expensive to produce would be to, y'know, make it fucking cheaper to produce. Videogame consoles do this over time -- parts become less costly to manufacture, more efficient to put together. You'll find, with some of the most successful videogames on the market, the same is also very true. It's just that nobody will admit it.  Look at Call of Duty. Arguably the biggest of the big when it comes to gaming. A veritable powerhouse of profit that tends to be the biggest selling title of any given year. Yet, visually, it's always a step behind its peers. Infinity Ward and Treyarch have successfully mined years of cash out of the same game engine this entire generation, producing games noticeable less graphically intense than the competition, yet trouncing the pretenders at market every single bloody time. Even its "next-gen" title, Call of Duty: Ghosts, is running off an enhanced version of the same old engine, and I bet it turns a very healthy profit regardless.  Then we have the PC. A platform famed for being able to produce better graphics than the Xbox 360 and PS3 ever could, and yet let's look at some of its biggest success stories. Minecraft. Terraria. Hell, Valve and its antique Source Engine seem to be doing just fine, producing games people are absolutely excited for and love to play, despite being nowhere near as expensive to produce or graphically shiny as the Battlefields and the Tomb Raiders of the world.  Even outside of more basic looking games and older engines, we have evidence of smaller teams producing utterly gorgeous games without breaking the bank. I point you to the drop-dead beautiful Metro: Last Light, a game now famous for stunning visuals and an impeccable production value. 4A Games is a humble developer from Kiev, and produced a game that looked as amazing as it did without needing to sell five million copies to survive.  And that's where we come round to the biggest issues facing mainstream game development -- used games and rentals have absolutely bloody nothing to do with the fact that game development is possessed of such total excess that you can't even succeed with millions upon millions of sales under your belt. I utterly defy you to convince me Resident Evil 6 nearly selling six million copies yet still failing to meet expectations could be blamed upon the used game market. When you're selling that much, and still failing to make investors happy, something is fundamentally wrong with the process of videogame production itself, not the imaginary dragons of used games and game rentals that are conjured up as quick and easy scapegoats.  If so-called "AAA" games and the used market actually are incompatible, then I say that's a good friggin' thing. Anything to dispossesses publishers of the notion that they need to keep dumping truckloads of cash into games to the point where they need to sell more copies than the laws of reality allow. Despite what demagogues and mouthpieces will tell you, the market is not demanding all its games be so expensive to produce. As I've said before, the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and Wii would not have dominated their respective generations if the market put graphics over everything else. People want good games, not these overproduced, pompous, unsustainable exercises in wanton overspending.  It's not our fault games have gotten so expensive, and I resent the implication that it is. The fact this industry seems utterly fucking incapable of taking some damn responsibility for itself continues to disgust me, and I refuse to shoulder the blame for companies that cannot demonstrate one iota of self-reflection. If something you're doing is not working, change what you're doing! Stop trying to bend and break the world around you to try and manufacture an environment where your failed tactics could achieve some perverse form of success.  "You cannot have game and marketing budgets this high while also having used and rental games existing," says Cliff Bleszinski.  "Good," says I. I'll take the used games and rentals. Let the videogame equivalent of inbred aristocracies wither and fucking rot.
Used games vs. AAA photo
Publishers overestimate their necessity
Game developer Cliff Bleszinski has never been a fan of the used game market, and he's made his feelings on the Xbox One and PS4 policies quite clear -- he supports Microsoft's decision to "redefine" the concept of videogame ...

Oculus Rift and Unreal 4 photo
Oculus Rift and Unreal 4

Unreal Engine 4 will support Oculus Rift

Virtual reality made easy
Jun 06
// Joshua Derocher
The Oculus Rift is the latest rage with all the cool tech kids these days, and the future looks bright for this virtual-reality headset. The Unreal Engine 4 will be able to take full advantage of the headset with support buil...
Cliffy B photo
Cliffy B

Cliffy B invested in Oculus Rift, cautious about next gen

still waiting for attention from Nintendo
May 11
// Jonathan Holmes
In recent interview with Engadget, former Gears of War honcho Cliff Bleszinski caught us up with his current projects, which entail talking about videogames, investing in Oculus Rift, and... playing Candy Crunch. It's a puzzl...
Cliffy B photo
Cliffy B

Cliff Bleszinski goes bald for charity

Around $15,000 raised
Apr 15
// Harry Monogenis
Sticking to the promise he made several days ago, designer Cliff Bleszinski has gone ahead and had his hair shaved off in the name of charity. The former design director for Epic Games raised some $15,000 that will be going ...

On Cliffy B, microtransactions, and Electronic Arts

Mar 01 // Jim Sterling
"Making money and running a business is not inherently evil. It creates jobs and growth and puts food on the table. This country was built on entrepreneurship. Yes, there are obvious issues around basic business ethics (Google “Pinto Fires”) and the need for a company to give back to its’ community, but that’s not what this blog is about right now." On this point, Bleszinski is perfectly correct. Making money is not inherently evil. It is not, however, inherently good either. The argument that companies exist to make money is brought up by many people when a company is criticized, but making money is not a noble enough endeavor to render it immune to criticism. This is an argument I've already made in a video on the subject, but the short story is, yes, a company might be out to make money -- but I think we all have a right to express disapproval at the way a company goes about making it.  For Bleszinski, that disapproval can only come in the form of your purchasing habits.  "If you don’t like EA, don’t buy their games," he said. "If you don’t like their microtransactions, don’t spend money on them. It’s that simple. EA has many smart people working for them (Hi, Frank, JR, and Patrick!) and they wouldn’t attempt these things if they didn’t work. Turns out, they do. I assure you there are teams of analysts studying the numbers behind consumer behavior over there that are studying how you, the gamer, spends his hard earned cash. "... Every single developer out there is trying to solve the mystery of this new model. Every console game MUST have a steady stream of DLC because, otherwise, guess what? It becomes traded in, or it’s just rented. In the console space you need to do anything to make sure that that disc stays in the tray." He adds that the "fee-to-pay" model is currently working, therefore it's justified. I have issues with this -- firstly, I think exploiting things excessively because they currently work is a terribly short-sighted game plan, and exactly the kind of behavior that leads to market crashes. Yes, mainstream consumers might be happy to throw wads of extra cash at EA right now, but for how long will they do this? Consumers are just as likely to abruptly cease their support as they are blindly give it, and what will companies have to fall back on?  A publisher making games more expensive by adding piles of downloadable content and microtransactions reeks of a dying magazine raising its prices to excessive degrees to counter its growing irrelevance. It might get away with it for a while, but long-term, it doesn't make sense to become more expensive as newer and fresher alternatives compete for a consumer's attention.  Rather, there are fundamental issues with console game development that need to be addressed. Clearly, assigning 600 workers to a game, spending millions on it, and investing so much that five million sales is deemed a failure just isn't working. Publishers are presented as having no choice, as being the victim of a changing market, but they're not adapting or evolving. They're trying to bend the rules of the new game to play the one they're used to. It's the kind of stagnant attitude that leads to destruction -- something that could kill the jobs of a lot of talented people and, as we've already seen with THQ, throw quality IP into potential ruin.  Bleszinski's points are absolutely compelling, as have been the points of basically every game journalist I've argued with about Electronic Arts this week. There's been a lot of defense for the company, and that's fair enough. So far all the arguments are rooted in the now, however, and that's my problem. I don't believe the "we make money now, there's no problem" attitude is the right one to have, especially in a console market so tumultuous and at risk of falling apart. A crash is looking set to happen, if it's not happened already, and the companies with an eye on the future, not the ones scrabbling to make money immediately, are the ones I feel are going to succeed.  As far as calling for people to stop being angry, I just don't agree. When people think of games they care about being twisted to suit the psychological warfare that is a "freemium" model, I believe they've every right to be unhappy, and should voice their disapproval. Even if they are a vocal minority, and even if EA doesn't give a shit, I defy anybody to see something they're passionate about get broken and not want to say something.  I mean, the people making EA memes on Reddit probably don't care about what Cliffy's got to say on their behavior, but he still said it! None of us are very good as just shutting up and ignoring things we don't like, and there's a lot to dislike in the mainstream game industry right now.
Microtransactions photo
'Companies exist to make money'
As we noted yesterday, former Epic man Cliff Bleszinski took some time to defend the controversial use of microtransactions in retail games, sticking up for it on the basis that companies exist to make money. I rarely turn do...

Microtransactions photo

Cliff Bleszinski defends microtransactions

'Don't like it? Don't play it.'
Feb 28
// Jordan Devore
Designer Cliff Bleszinski has shared his thoughts on the microtransactions and the backlash they receive, arguing that game companies exist to make money and if people don't like them or their practices, they can vote with th...
Nintendo doom photo
Imagines a software-only future for the Big N
Cliff Bleszinski has painted a grim portrait of the game console landscape in a recent GI interview, likening the "state of transition" to that experienced in the famous videogame market crash. His most controversial statemen...

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