Co-founder of Boss Key Productions Cliff Bleszinski lashed out at his former employers Epic Games this weekend, in a tweet accusing the studio of attempting to poach his employees.
Bleszinski seemed to link Epic Games’ alleged poaching with Boss Key’s recent “Xtreme” early access game Radical Heights, a battle royale title that bares more than a passing resemblance to Epic’s hugely successful Fortnite Battle Royale. “"There's room at this genre for more than a few games SMH” wrote Bleszinski.
The two studios have more in common than two similar battle royale titles, however. Bleszinski didn’t travel far when he left Epic to establish Boss Key Productions: Both studios are situated in North Carolina, just a few minutes drive from one another.
It seems inevitable that two companies which are both located so close to one another and also working on similar titles would face a reasonable degree of staff migration. After all, not having to relocate for a new job or promotion is a massive boon – even more so in the huge expanses of America.
Boss Key itself was founded by staff leaving Epic Games, and so it makes sense that some might choose to leave Boss Key for Epic - particularly given their recent critical and financial success, contrasted with the poor sales of Lawbreakers, which even Boss Key was forced to admit “failed to find an audience.”
What the allegation also failed to mention is that staff have left Boss Key to join Epic Games in the past. The studio’s co-founder Arjan Brussee left Boss Key to return to Epic in December, with Brussee announcing he was to work on a “special secret project” for Epic.