Worked at Epic Games for 20+ years, took nearly two years off, now I've partnered with Nexon and Arjan Brussee to make new, fantastic videogame experiences. Our first project is code named "BlueStreak" (It's a wink after an old Transformer, not the beloved Martin Lawrence flick) and it will be a Free to Play First Person Shooter on PC first. Most likely Sci Fi setting.


@BossKey @BlueStreak @TheRealCliffyB @Nexon_America

EDIT: That was fun guys, I need to eat something before I pass out. Thanks for coming out. Stay tuned via the above listed Twitters for more news! xo

Comments: 701 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

palmerluckey360 karma

How cool is the Oculus Rift?

BossKeyCEO286 karma

It's so cool that last night I dreamt I had it on and was in some sweet VR simulation and when I awoke I realized it was just the sensation of my sleep mask on my face that made me have that dream.

It was some Inception level shit.

EDIT: Just realized that was Palmer. Hi, Palmer!

swissel29 karma

So which version of the rift do you use? DK2 or some secret protoype?

Also relvant username of the questioner.

BossKeyCEO68 karma

I've used a secret prototype at Oculus HQ that is second to none.

LPGC_Emperor89 karma

Hey Cliff. Please take this seriously, as I am not a "hater" or whatever. Which version of you is returning to the industry? By that I mean, are we getting CliffyB who was fun, made awesome shit, and was to me -- an industry hero, or Cliff Bleszinski who defends business practices that myself any many others think are immoral.

I ask this because I REALLY want it to be the first guy. I am old enough to remember playing Jazz when it came out. I was a fan of yours for a very long time, but when you left the industry, I was not sorry to see you go. Please remember, we aren't just your customers, we are your fans. I'm sure you get a lot of rage filled comments. Honestly for me, I felt disappointed more than anything. Either way, I sincerely hope your new endeavor is a success.

BossKeyCEO107 karma

I've talked a lot of shit the last two years online, admittedly, in an attempt to educate the gaming public on how this business actually works. Many of those studios/businesses are trying to keep the lights on by any means necessary, they don't feed on the souls of anguished gamers. I was probably mentally prepping myself for being the one who is going to be responsible for keeping the lights on.

Part of it was also not being held own by PR folks and being able to say a lot of what I really thought about the industry. Did I go a bit overboard? Probably.

LPGC_Emperor30 karma

Thank you for an honest answer. Also read a lot of your other comments to peoples questions. I think I have my answer, and it was the one I was hoping for. :D

BossKeyCEO97 karma

The internet loves to take a quote, put it out of context, and suddenly it becomes A Thing.

i.e. if I say "I love Kojima's games but the cutscenes can be a tiny bit long for an impatient gamer like myself" the headline on N4G "BLESZINSKI CALLS KOJIMA A NAZI AND SAYS HIS GAMES SUCK."

Fanboyism = profit for many in the videogame news sector.

ZoomyRamen47 karma

Will Martin Lawrence be reprising his role for your game?

BossKeyCEO97 karma

With the internet and it's goofy sense of humor I might have to stunt cast him as a voice role, because we're in a world where Potato Salad Kickstarters can make thousands of dollars.

ZoomyRamen17 karma

That would be the Key to being quite the Boss.

BossKeyCEO31 karma


Coheno39 karma

What engine will you be using?

BossKeyCEO57 karma

My former employers and old co workers seem pretty excited about our considering Unreal Engine 4.

It's wide open right now what tech we'd use.

As I build my team I need to take into account each department, engineering, art, level design, online, and of course, cost. Being a lean startup we've got to keep an eye on our burn rate and expenses.

Zilalol34 karma

micro transaction plans? :D

BossKeyCEO66 karma

The #1 question that comes up in Free to Play every time.

Honest answer: I'm not sure, and it's entirely too easy to tell or make the call. Free to Play is one of those genres that means something entirely different depending on the game. For every model that feels like Las Vegas methods (Zynga, Candy Crush) there's folks who do it right, like League of Legends, or WarFrame.

I've never shipped a Free to Play game before. That's one of the MANY reasons why we're going with Nexon, they can provide server structures and a global peek into gamers of all types and guide us into a game that's more "Shut up and take my money" as opposed to "shaking you down for your hard earned cash."

So we'll experiment, tweak, tune, and most importantly, build a positive community around the game as we develop it.

irve17 karma

Look at dota2. This is the way. I'm always happy when I get myself the hats. All others make me feel incomplete and out-riched.

BossKeyCEO20 karma

I've played a bit of League, but because of this post I'll fire up Dota2 again. That's for the reminder.

Niggaz_Wit_Redditude17 karma

Have you ever played a Nexon game before in your life?

BossKeyCEO20 karma

Dirty Bomb is more my speed.

jadkor23 karma

Hey Cliff, thanks for doing the AMA! I wanted to ask, what's your thought process behind video game design? In other words, key things that come to your mind when you're working on building a game that you want players to enjoy?

BossKeyCEO28 karma

Everything I've consumed throughout my entire life is grist for the mill. Having nearly two years off and plenty of time to sit by the pool and get a happily married beer gut has allowed me to read a lot, and from reading some great sci fi, or by watching a movie, or reading a graphic novel, it goes into the hopper, is ground up, and sometimes you get a motherfucking chainsaw gun.

I have many, many ideas for new weapons for BlueStreak and I can't wait to get back to that magic of pitching it to a coder, or working with a concept artist to make it come to life.


We've seen a chainsaw gun (Gears), can we get a gun that shoots motherfucking chainsaws? Even if they're tiny chainsaws that only a chipmunk could use.

BossKeyCEO33 karma

Ask Rod Fergusson over at Black Tusk.

For this game I don't want to go full on Serious Sam, or make the weapons too crazy like Ratchet and Clank.

Think District 9 weaponry.

Idoiocracy22 karma

Tell us a cool story about Tim Sweeney. Any interesting programming anecdotes that reflect his brilliance and possibly eccentric personality?

BossKeyCEO59 karma

Tim likes to walk. A lot.

When I was trying to renegotiate my contract with Epic and on the verge of leaving, I stopped going to work. Tim wasn't having any of this.

So I was down at the carolina shore, riding out the "storm," and I got a call from Tim.

"Cliff, it's Tim, got time to chat and meet up?" "Tim, not really doable, I'm at the coast right now." "Tim - so am I, I drove down to chat with you." "Me, uh, okay, we're at X."

It was nighttime, there was some moonlight, and Tim and I went for a walk on the beach together and he made his case that he'd like for me to stick around but what I was asking for wasn't in the cards. He told me I needed to either come back to work and he'd do what he could, or I'd have to turn in my resignation.

The next day I turned in my resignation.

Also, Tim caught the garter at our wedding.

He's also used a lot of his fortune to buy up thousands of acres of land in central NC because he likes to hike on it and in the process he kept the land away from developers who would have torn up unique flora and fauna and build suburbs.

I often called him T-Grip, as if he was a rapper, also.

unknown_entity22 karma

Nexon has a history of doing a poor job of publishing FPS in North America. Examples like; Sudden Attack, Combat Arms, and WarRock come to mind. They usually have shitty servers, no tools for the community to spectate games or record demos, or make maps, and usually contains a pay to win monetary system.

Are you aware of this and how do you plan to be different with Nexon?

BossKeyCEO20 karma

Beat them down gently, because I refuse to have a crappy launch for this title. They're growing and learning.

SnowmanDrew22 karma

You interested in BlueStreak being an esport at all?

BossKeyCEO46 karma

Of course, but you can't just make an Esport. It's like trying to force a meme, it doesn't work that way.

You make an AIRTIGHT game first with a ROCK SOLID community and maybe, just maybe, you can make that leap.

unknown_entity14 karma

You praise LoL so you should consider what Riot did for their competitive community. I love Riot but they pretty much paid their way into all of the major eSports events. I think its a combination of having a decent enough game with a decent enough community and then supporting and funding your competitive community.

BossKeyCEO17 karma

And then everything feeds into itself as one big beast and everyone else tries to chase after you.

IIRC Mobas started as a WC3 mod. Brandon Beck and his partners saw the community rallying around that mod and boom, profit. More power to them.

theexterminat21 karma

Hi Cliff, you probably won't read this, but I just wanted to thank you for being such a huge inspiration to me. I've wanted to make games since I was four years old, and this year, my indie team is releasing our first game (fingers crossed!) known as Close Order via Steam Greenlight. We actually met briefly at E3 2013 (I was a journalist for a few years), and you probably don't remember. You and Lauren jumped around the corner very obviously in a hurry, and I basically jumped into your way, stuck my hand out and introduced myself, and all I could think to do was ask for a photo. Even though you were in a rush to go see Evil Within, you smiled, shook my hand, and very kindly posed for the photo -- while politely stating you were in a hurry. This moment really changed my perspective on many things. Here you were, in the flesh, my hero, and you were kind, humble, and willing to make a passerby smile. It really showed me that your heroes can be truly awesome people, and Cliff, you're awesome people. Thank you for doing what you do.

I guess if I had a question, it'd be what advice you'd give to someone about to release their first game? (Also I'll probably Tweet it at you when we go for Greenlight, so if you check it out then, I will literally squeal and document my reaction. I promise.)

BossKeyCEO29 karma

Wow, this post made my week, thanks.

In spite of all the shit talking that goes on in the virtual world I made a promise to myself many years ago that if I ever meet anyone who likes things I've worked on to be nice and say hey and thank them as much as possible. Without that support, I might still be working at McDonald's.

I have a thing with my friends, if I ever say "Do you know who I am" they have free range to kick me in the testicles right there and then.

Advice - pimp it as much as possible, hopefully it does well, chances are it might not, so don't let it discourage you and GET ONTO THE NEXT GAME. From a failed game sometimes comes magic - Codename Eagle yielded Battlefield 1942, after all.

Bat_turd20 karma

Are you as rich as people think?

Edit - just saw the picture. I want your dog. :D

BossKeyCEO45 karma

I do aight.

Neeeeple17 karma

I thought I did aight. But if you do aight then I do much worse than that

BossKeyCEO64 karma

Here's a life tip: It doesn't matter how much money you ever have, you'll still worry about things. Your loved ones, your health, etc... although the other fact of the matter is that not fighting about whether or not we can afford Whole Foods is nice for my marriage.

jadkor13 karma

Wait, so Matthew McConaughey alright alright alriiiiight or just aight?

BossKeyCEO32 karma

I can afford to open a Beer Garden in Raleigh in my spare time, so alriiiiiight.

brianjenkins9420 karma

Would you be open to a re-release of the Jazz Jackrabbit saga on I have no doubt it would be an insta-buy for a solid quarter of the community. Those games were an awesome part of my childhood.

BossKeyCEO20 karma

Epic's being coy and weird about their old back catalog, so go bug them. :)

FuKuy18 karma

Do you plan to distribute your new game trough STEAM?

BossKeyCEO26 karma

Distribution will most likely be left up to our publishing partner, Nexon.

I do adore Steam, though, and have the pile of shame of great games I've bought that I keep forgetting to play.

calibrono17 karma

What will you sell in the game?

BossKeyCEO52 karma

My body.

hornedfrogs4516 karma

Are you pro-video game developer unionization? Hearing the horror stories of unpaid bonuses, overtime, etc. and some of the issues of sexism and other things in the workplace, it makes me wonder if banding together would curb some of these startling issues.

BossKeyCEO21 karma

I've seen unions do great good as well as lots of bad, so I can't really say either way. All I can do from my end is provide a studio that has a great culture and hopefully folks can flee from places that suffer from some of the issues you've pointed out.

mattburdette15 karma

What was the chain of events for Blue Streak to come into inception? Had you been noodling with the game for a long time while in retirement and then decided it was time to put a studio together and get this game made? Or vice versa, you and Arjan decided to form a studio and this was what you guys decided the first project would be?

ALSO: Gonna use UE4? Hmmmmmmm?

BossKeyCEO53 karma

See engine question elsewhere.

Here's the brief story.

I know so many folks at EA, Ubi, MS, etc... After I left Epic I felt like the belle of the ball, EVERYONE wanted to meet with me when to be honest I just needed time off. But I have a very good agent who did the deal with Nexon, and he was eager, so after stalling him as long as I could (and knowing I'd want to come back eventually) I met with nearly all of the old guard. Even Zynga. (Mark Pincus came into my meeting 45 minutes late.)

Knowing developers who've worked with the traditional publishers I'd take them out, feed them a beer, and they'd do the "look around to see if anyone's going to hear this" look and tell me "Run away. These guys aren't the best to work with, and they'll try to design your game and just get involved where they shouldn't be."

With nearly EVERY one of the established big publishers I heard this from MANY developers. And no, I can't name names.

When Nexon came calling I laughed. "The fucking Maple Story guys?!"

And then I met Min Kim, president of Nexon US. And then Owen Mahoney, who runs all of Nexon. And I saw the direction they were going - Brian Reynold's new game, Robotaki's one, Splash Damage etc... and I spoke with all of these western devs who are working with them.

They all had glowing things to say about working with Nexon. They said they just let you build the game you want to build and when the time comes to see if you can monetize they'll help.

When your developer friends vouch for a publishing partner like that, you trust them.

It was a bit awkward meeting Min Kim considering that the one Asian character we had in Gears was named that and died in the first hour.

cloudbeard14 karma

Is the game going to have cool playable alien/demon/whatevers or just be a muscle-bro fest? I miss the old days of Unreal & Quake where the characters were very diverse.

BossKeyCEO29 karma

Yes, I have a document I've been working on that is targeting having characters for all sorts of different tastes, not just BroZone.

creitve12 karma

User generated content?

BossKeyCEO16 karma

Arjan and I (my COO) are HUGE fans of this sort of thing. On the PC it's easier than ever to have this sort of thing, let's just say we need to "walk" before we "run" in this department. We need to make a great game with a community around it, sort out if people actually want to spend a dime on it and then figure out how to get to user made areanas, at a minimum.

I miss the old days when I'd find new LD's via the Ownage page. Half of the bets LD's at Epic Games were found through that method.

xamir_badx12 karma

I always see people tweeting you pictures of cars with spoilers that say "spoiler alert". How did this start?

BossKeyCEO14 karma

I don't really know, one day I thought it was funny and it made me chuckle, now it's become A Thing.

There are truly some heinous things that people have done to their vehicles in the name of aerodynamics.

jactertor11 karma

Will your new studio continue on from Gears' ridiculous dude-bro characters?

BossKeyCEO30 karma

NO. Can you go shout that from the rooftops?

JVLfilms11 karma

How did you choose making a First Person Shooter over a Third Person Shooter?

BossKeyCEO33 karma

From my casual research online and offline I generally have found that Third Person Shooter players will often play First Person Shooters.

MANY First Person players WON'T play Third. It's a weird thing.

Plus, I miss the "down the barrel" view and the flow of first person.

DanishxAssassin10 karma

What about the FTP model made it an attractive venture for you?

BossKeyCEO28 karma

Anyone can just jump in and play your darned game. I'm DETERMINED to not do Pay To Win. Since this game is a shooter I want that one player who likes the game and doesn't feel like spending any money to be able to take down the trust fund kid that's spent a ton of money to have All The Stuff.

ejner10 karma

Are you aiming for a highly competitive game? And if the answer is yes, will you involve former pros / high level players from other games for example Quake and UT in the game creation to get feedback from people that actually understand competitive gaming (no offense, but there's not many devs, if any that've played games at the highest level and therefor they don't understand it)

BossKeyCEO22 karma

I want to make a skill based game whereas someone who is really, really good is seen as a player with nearly godlike abilities. Sure, once in a while the person who sucks might get lucky with a stray shot and take that person down, but I want to craft a game that has weapons and moves that are easy to learn but to really make them sing takes thousands of hours of play just like a professional athlete would. Anyone can toss a football, but Drew Brees can get it through the tire at X yards every time.

Projekt219 karma

Hi Cliff,

I know you're building a team and all that, but what are you excited about and nervous about BlueStreak?

I'm excited to see a shooter with your direction!

BossKeyCEO46 karma

It's pretty sobering to be the one staring at the bank account and knowing that every month it's going to chip, chip away until you manage to make a profit somehow.

FUNFACT: I'm taking a salary of 1$ a year until we can turn a profit.

BenAtkinsChafer9 karma

Yo, Cliff and Co. What will you do in order to set BlueStreak apart from the over over over over saturated market of shooters?

BossKeyCEO23 karma

There's still PLENTY that can be done in regards to environmental manipulation, weaponry, and player movement in the FPS space.

TitanFall tapped into some of the things that excite me in this area - wall running, double jumping, the smart pistol, the mech "absorb bullets and fire them back at people." That's the kind of thinking the FPS market needs, less damned red dot iron sights.

When's the last time you led a target in a mainstream shooter? Pretty rare, it seems.

gryxitl9 karma

Do you still want people to call you Dude Huge?

BossKeyCEO13 karma

It stuck for a reason.

qizah9 karma

How did your time away from the industry affect your outlook on game design?

BossKeyCEO27 karma

Yeah, it made me almost bitter about scripted games, honestly. All the time and effort that goes into yielding only one Youtube video.

That's why I now believe there's a direct correlation between how good your game is and how many unique Youtube Videos it can yield. Maybe amazing competitive matches, or fantastic things the users have built themselves, or even a crazy physics bug that was caught on a live stream.

The YouTubers have taken over, folks!

Stevendaly8 karma

What made you want to go the free to play route?

oVerde13 karma

I'm not himself, just bared thinking about it too, so commenting on you.

I guess Cliff sees in Arena Shooters the competitiveness that MOBAs does have today. And he is chasing to review the Arena FPS as we know to the seamless skill ranked matchmaking system suit like LoL present us.

BossKeyCEO27 karma

This :)

StuFX8 karma

CliffyB! The man.

Whose idea was the chainsaw lancer? Was it a callback to the chainswords in warhammer?

Thats right, I ask the important questions.

BossKeyCEO29 karma

It was my idea, and it was originally planned for a cancelled game internally that I called "OverFiend." It was basically Doom in a City with a lot of my disdain for being raised Catholic thrown in to offend people.

I was young and confused.

honneylove8 karma

Are there any courses/areas of study you would specifically reccommend to say a 12-year-old who wants to get into game design? My kid says that is her dream job.

BossKeyCEO12 karma

Check out Unity and Unreal Engine 4 and tell her to just get going. There are books and online courses available to get started right away. I made a little game when I was 11 years old on my Apple PC, never too early to start!

Stevendaly8 karma

Cliff, I'm 17 and I really want to get into games development, what you would recommend? Like go to college, or just build up a portfolio of mods etc?

BossKeyCEO19 karma

Go to college while in the background you build up your portfolio until you have a sold enough offer that you can drop the fuck out and get on your feet and REACH FOR THE STARS!

Schwinn37 karma

Hey, Cliff! How did you guys choose the name Boss Key and settle on that awesome logo design? Can't wait to play whatever Blue Streak becomes!!

BossKeyCEO9 karma


I'm a Zelda fan, so it's a wink at that, as well as the old key on PCs that you'd hit to hide your game when the Boss came in. Boss sounds strong, Key sounds mysterious, so wham.

It was a toss up between "Boss Key" and KLTS "Kids Love That Shit."

Hexanine did the logo, they did the new one for IAm8Bit. We had to have something that looked good on a sticker, plain and simple.

SparksV7 karma

Will there be a big emphasis on story ? (Also what's the name of your dog ? :3)

BossKeyCEO13 karma

There will be an emphasis on story, but not in the traditional sense. Weapons will have manufacturing corporations, players will have lore/history, and the world will feel there and lived in. We also want to make live action shorts quarterly to help tell more about the universe outside of the game. If you're doing a Sci Fi IP you need as much of the fiction to come through in other mediums (and with lore) so people care about Plasma Rifle 3 or Player X.

TeeJ_P7 karma

What made you want to get back into the business?

BossKeyCEO24 karma

I miss the community and reading what people say about the work that I do. We as developers feed off of that. While there can be a lot of negativity online (which often rises to the top, sadly) the internet and gaming communities are overall good places.

Also, I don't want to be the guy who still hangs out at high school with his Trans Am talking about how cool he used to be. It's time to get off of my butt and make some more fantastic product with a great team.

shiruken7 karma

Will there be hats?

BossKeyCEO13 karma

There might be Fear of a Black Hat.

doxxmyself7 karma

Hi there Cliff, glad your doing an AMA, and good luck on your new adventure!

What made you want to do a F2P shooter as opposed to a traditional $60 console shooter like the ones you've worked on in the last? What do you think you can bring to the F2P shooter space that hasn't been done before?

Once again, thanks for doing this and also thanks for taking a picture with me at PAX East!

BossKeyCEO10 karma

I honestly think the $60 console game market is going to continue to become silo'd. I did a blog post where I spoke about this, it's looking like the American Restaurant Chain out there, you've got Applebees, Olive Garden, Cheesecake Factory, etc...and then there's indies.

In the console space, feels like COD, AC, Halo, Batman, etc... and that's it. And they're all trying to out market each other with hundreds of millions of dollars.

I'm like, forget that, let's go about this from a grass roots way. Might start small at first, but every journey starts with a single step.

Swindle45877 karma

What games have you been playing recently and what are you looking forward to playing not only later this year, but in 2015 and beyond as well? (Besides Bluestreak of course)

BossKeyCEO32 karma

The new Wolfenstein is one of the best single player FPS games ever made. Just started getting into HearthStone as well.

For some reason, many of the big AAA releases aren't exciting me as much as they used to. Not sure if jaded. Witcher 3 makes my pants tight, I assure you.


What do you think your new game will bring to the somewhat stale FPS genre?

BossKeyCEO6 karma

Heart, character, and polish.

Boss_Kowbel7 karma

What sort of positions is Boss Key hiring for right now? Primarily developers? Or also managerial positions, QA, etc.?

BossKeyCEO13 karma

::runs around sweaty like Steve Ballmer::

Developers, developers, developers.

MrEuAndo6 karma

What would you like that you don't have?

BossKeyCEO30 karma

Immortality for my dog Teddy. He's getting up there, and he means the world to me. That dog was there for me during the worst and best parts of my adult life, and I'm going to be very sad when he goes.

HyperEagle36 karma

What was your inspiration to make this game?

BossKeyCEO5 karma

Part of it was falling in love with American Football and learning how the sport worked how it was marketed, and the tribal nature of humanity that says "Let's go get those guys over there." "Why?" "Because we live here and they live over there!"

jtbergs6 karma

Hey Cliff, Jazz Jackrabbit was one of my favorite games growing up! I've been working in the games industry for the past two or three years making advertisement games for clients and making independent games. Do you have any advice for someone like me who has dreams of making their own games but has yet to catch a big break?

BossKeyCEO8 karma

Keep at it. Remember, Rovio made like 51 games before they hit Angry Birds out of the park.

foolmoron6 karma

Favorite UT2k4 weapon?

BossKeyCEO14 karma

AVRIL because of the silly acronym.

FMJgames6 karma

Have you ever thought about writing a book about your game dev experience in the years up to and through Epic games? Also, I'm a huge fan of your work!

BossKeyCEO13 karma

Someday I'll write something that'll be semi autobiographical to chart my life along with the things I've done in games. Would be pretty personal and heartfelt, with a bit of a tell all about what sometimes really happens at game conventions. :p

Wb142455 karma

Hey cliff what made you want to come back and start making games again?

BossKeyCEO47 karma

I need to get out of the house.

When my wife are at dinner I ask "how was your day" and she says "YOU WERE THERE" and I'm like okay I'll go back to my chicken now.

zoidberg795 karma

How about a Ferrari next time?

BossKeyCEO14 karma

Ferraris are for dorks like Mark Rein.

DarkSlayer2245 karma

Will your game be coming to platforms other than PC?

BossKeyCEO29 karma

PC First, and then we'll see. PC is where the comments generally are, the community gathers, and it's got that big global audience.

In order to hit that global audience your game needs to look fantastic on the high end rigs but also run on a potato.

slashclee5 karma

What's your favorite sci-fi story?

BossKeyCEO11 karma

I really enjoyed book 1 of "Swarm."

Redsox123934 karma

Hi Cliff,

What Gears of War game do you consider your personal favorite?

BossKeyCEO14 karma

The first will always hold a special place in my heart of hearts.

eggfou4 karma

Tacos or burritos?

BossKeyCEO16 karma


Ohh_the_irony4 karma

How do you deal with all of the internet hate and douchebags on a daily basis? How has marrying Lauren changed your life? DogHuge is still a badass. Good luck, you're a legend and can't wait to hear/see more about this new shooter!

BossKeyCEO13 karma

I've talked my own share of controversial things online, and when you put yourself out there like that, it's bound to happen. I love it when someone trolls you on Twitter and you actually reply and they suddenly fan out on you, for instance.

In regards to marriage, it's the best thing I've done. After the honeymoon my brother asked me how it felt and I told him that "for the first time since we left our childhood home in North Andover I finally feel like I'm home again."


bc53893 karma

Judging from comments you have made on early access, can we expect to be playing BlueStreak before it's "gone gold"?

BossKeyCEO9 karma

I want this game in your hands as soon as possible.

I'd have no problem with users running around shooting each other in white boxed levels.

joelfisch3 karma

Why go back to shooters? What do you think you can bring something that no one else has brought?

BossKeyCEO11 karma

Well, I gave the world the Shock Combo and the Chainsaw gun, so I might have a few more tricks up my sleeves! :)

ActingIsLyf3 karma

Hi Cliff! I'm a recent IT grad living in the Raleigh area and was wondering how many people you are hiring? How long do you plan to keep looking? Are you looking for a set experience level?

PS. I am so glad you are back making games! I was actually in the hospital recovering from a kidney transplant when you made the announcement about Boss Key Productions and I applied right away anyway. Haha

BossKeyCEO7 karma

Goal is 15-20 folks for the first year - FIND THE FUN FIRST.

Then ramp to 60-70, ideally tops - TONS of outsourcing. One of my first hires was Chris Mielke, he worked at Epic and addition to being a great producer he also handled a ton of outsource work.

I don't want to work at a studio where I don't know everyone's name, and preferably their spouse's, again.

I believe there are thousands of developers out there working on established AAA game franchises that would hopefully love to come to a team where they can actually make an impact instead of being crushed under the cycle of the Big E3 Sequel reveal and inevitable annualization.

DrAwesome15043 karma

how far off is the BlueStreak release?

BossKeyCEO11 karma

A fair ways off, it's safe to say, because we just got office space and furniture and we're doing our initial round of hires. It'll be a slow burn for the first year but we promise to show you as much as humanly possible in the process.

thehikros13 karma

What is your opinion on youtubers doing videos on video games and all that stuff?

BossKeyCEO9 karma

They can be the single thing that can propel a game to success or failure in this day and age. NO ONE PERSON SHOULD HAVE ALL THAT POWER!

WarpedEcho3 karma

What are your thoughts on Gears of War 2's online multiplayer and why was it poorly made?

BossKeyCEO9 karma

We were understaffed in our team online at the time, honestly, an error that was fixed for the 3rd game.

-Venser-3 karma

Is it going to be 1v1 or more of a team oriented game?

BossKeyCEO9 karma

Targeting 5 on 5, with FFA initially.

TemptMyTerror3 karma

Hey Cliff, will you have support for controllers or will it only be keyboard and mouse??

BossKeyCEO4 karma

All keyboard and mouse at first, but if the community demands controllers, we'll figure something out.

aggressivesimilies3 karma

Hey Cliff! BIG fan here -- thanks for doing an AMA!

How old do you think is "too old" to get into the video game industry? And what type of background would be the most beneficial for someone looking to get their foot in the door?

BossKeyCEO14 karma

It's never too old, it's just scarier to make a lateral movement in your career the older you get.

I like to use Gary Whitta as an example. Guy edited PC Gamer magazine for years, said "fuck it I want to write movies" and wrote Book of Eli and is now writing a Star Wars movie directed by Gareth Edwards.

So cool.

XboxNINJA172 karma

Hey cliff big gears fan here. What are some things you learned working on gears that has helped with the design of bluestreak?

BossKeyCEO11 karma

"Give them what they want."

The Lancer was so iconic from Gears, but to be honest, we made a shotgun game. We kept buffing the Lancer and other guns, but in reality, the fans just wanted to roll around and gib each other with the shotgun.


New Unreal Tournament? Please say yes, I need this in my life.

BossKeyCEO8 karma

Uh yeah, Epic's doing this now. :)

tswafford952 karma

Why leave and come back to do the same kind of game youve already made?

BossKeyCEO3 karma

Because it wouldn't make any sense to make Seagull Simulator, although I hope someone does make that game.

Shooters are in my DNA creatively. I'd make a terrible Panda Bear Fighting Game.

Bobthecatlol1 karma

What games do you suggest aspiring game designer's study?

What books on game design do you suggest?

BossKeyCEO2 karma

Play everything you can get your hands on.

Raph Koster's A Theory of Fun is great.

Arukemos1 karma

Hey Cliff thanks for taking the time to do this.

I had a question about your production plans for Boss Key.

Are you planning on having a traditional producer structure, or are you guys going to try something different? Do you know about how many producers you are looking for (if any?) Or is all of this still up in the air?

BossKeyCEO8 karma

Between my COO and my Senior Producer right now we're okay on producers.

Having the right balance of management is really important. Once you grow to a certain size you have People to Watch People to Watch People, and that's when the politics start showing up. I will not tolerate politics at this studio.

One of our other studio pillars? "No Bullshit."

Lhino1 karma

Glad to see you back in business and returning to your roots! I noticed on Twitter that you mentioned 'transparent development' and the ability for fans to watch development in real time, how will that work? How far along is the game and how open is development in regards to community feedback? I love arena shooters as I practically grew up with Unreal Tournament, so when can we expect to get our hands on the game in a possible Alpha or something like that? Will there be an option for community content or will all content be strictly monitored and provided by Boss Key?


BossKeyCEO2 karma

My COO loves to say about our coders, for example "Your task list for the week? Throw it up online!" That's the level we're gunning for.

A while back I saw American McGee posting concept art for a female character for one of his games on Facebook. The girl had high heels on, and it was an action game. A fan pointed out to him that that makes no sense, and the heels were lost.

That's the sort of magic I'm gunning for here.

When I'd get into work before I'd get a build note email that had all the tasty new things the coders had implemented, I'd look at each one, and go meet with them with some notes and things to change/tune.

I want fans of Boss Key/BlueStreak to have that very experience and excitement.

DocSeuss1 karma

What, in your mind, makes for a good weapon in a first person shooter? How about enemies?

BossKeyCEO6 karma

  1. Silhouette. You need to look at the gun and know what it does basically by the shape of it.

  2. Audio - HUGE.

  3. Crispness of animations. Fast muzzle flash.

All of that working together with great feedback when you shoot a foe or the environment.

And enemies? Silhouette, as well, every damned time. I learned that from Dave Perry many, many years ago.