Cliff Bleszinski, head of Radical Heights developer Boss Key, is not happy with Epic Games’ hiring practises.
Bleszinski, who spent most of his career at Epic, left the studio in 2012 to establish Boss Key, the developer responsible for LawBreakers, and the recently released battle royale shooter Radical Heights.
Over the weekend, the developer took a few shots at his former employer after what he says is an attempt to hire his own team, presumably to work on Fortnite. “Hey @epicgames, could you please stop trying to hire away my team?” he said on Twitter.
“We just launched @Radical_Heights on #UE4 and are really happy with how it’s going.”
Bleszinski later added that “We have plenty of ways to make it our own but they may never see the light of day if they keep doing this,” indicating that the move to attract Boss Key developers was recent.
The similarities between Fortnite and Radical Heights, both of which are battle royale shooters with colourful aesthetics, are likely a factor. The two games are very different once you get down to playing them, obviously, but some similarities are hard to deny.
Boss Key lost more than one employee to Epic Games over the past few moths. Former LawBreakers programmer William McCarroll, who now works for Epic, replied to Bleszinski’s tweet by saying that it’s “presumptuous” to suggest Epic is poaching employees.
“With all due respect, assuming that Epic is the one starting contact / poaching is a bit presumptuous. We all had our own reasons for making the choice to leave BKP for Epic, and to act like we are commodities being stolen is a bit hurtful. We are people first and foremost,” said McCarroll.
In December, Boss Key co-founder Arjan Brussee left for Epic Games. Brussee is a high profile departures, but it’s not hard to see why Epic Games could benefit from the talents of other Boss Key developers.
Boss Key uses Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 to develop both LawBreakers as well as Radical Heights. It’s hard to judge the latter in its current state, but LawBreakers was one of the most optimised Unreal Engine games at release. It also looked and played better than other projects with similarly-sized development teams, with AAA-quality production values.
Radical Heights didn’t have the most explosive start on Steam, but it seems to be doing well so far with some 7,000 players or so online every day.