updated 10:12 pm EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
First game is a free-to-play action shooter called BlueStreak, published by Nexon America
In 2012, Cliff Bleszinski departed his Epic Games design director position with no indication of what would be in store for his career. For 20 years, Bleszinski worked with the company, growing up with the industry, before announcing that he was stepping away to take a break. That break appears to have ended, as Bleszinski revealed that he is making his return to gaming.
I'm officially coming out of retirement to make video games again.- Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) June 30, 2014
Stay tuned here for details in the next 7 days!
Instead of going back to home turf at Epic Games, Bleszinski has started his own studio, named Boss Key Productions. During a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) online discussion, Bleszinski stated that Boss Key would run as a lean startup, with only 15 to 20 members on staff. Former Epic Games designer and Guerrilla Games co-founder, Arjan Brussee, joined Bleszinski in creating the new studio.
A few details on the studio's first game, codenamed BlueStreak, were released this week. Information is slim, but the game is said to be a free-to-play science fiction arena shooter. Boss Key Productions entered into a strategic partnership with Nexon America to publish the title. In the AMA, Bleszinski added that user-made maps would be supported "at minimum."
During the question-and-answer session, Bleszinski went through the thought process to partnering with Nexon. While he did consider triple-A publishers, he was counseled to avoid large publishers when considering his return. Instead, deals with other well-known studios like Splash Damage, and their feedback on creative freedom, helped push the fresh studio toward Nexon and its free-to-play offerings. The desire to stay away from the pressure involved with triple-A games also fueled the decision.
In the publishing deal, Nexon acquired a minority stake in Boss Key. The publisher gets the exclusive worldwide rights to publish BlueStreak through Nexon America. Chief Executive Officer of Nexon Owen Mahoney said the company is "delighted" to team up with Boss Key for the next generation of first-person shooters. No other details on the agreement were expanded upon.
"No one knows the free-to-play market better than Nexon, which is why they were the obvious partner to publish BlueStreak," said Bleszinski. "It's a game and concept I think will really resonate with players who have been clamoring for a new take on an old favorite. After all, I've had a year and a half to plan it."