It is a sad state of affairs as developer Boss Key Productions shuts its doors for good, and in its wake, studio head Cliff Bleszinski is showcasing some artwork of what could've been.
Boss Key had a run of bad luck thanks to tumbling interest in the likes of LawBreakers and a lackluster debut of their rushed battle royale game Radical Heights. Considering that Bleszinski was a veteran designer who had worked on the likes of Gears of War, there was plenty of potential knocking around Boss Key alongside a plethora of ideas.
Taking to Twitter, Bleszinski was keen to show off a number of potential titles, including a rejected entry that he apparently pitched to Sony. While the designer is reportedly stepping away from gaming for the time being, there is no shortage of games to tackle should he ever decide to return to the industry. Here are some of his best below:
Here's the silly/fun one - basically a VR spiritual sequel to Toobin, only everyone are animals - and a way to fight Seasonal Affection Disorder. (Mario Kart on water with animals in VR.)— Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) May 15, 2018
Called "Donuts." pic.twitter.com/wNKef9QsS4
Firstly, there was a spiritual successor to Atari's Toobin' called Donuts which was effectively Mario Kart with animals on water. Offering power-ups through the use of drinking ginger beer and crushing cans on the head of colorful characters, there was a decidedly family tone to Donuts. Interestingly, the game was a little more realistic than Toobin', envisioned to be played on VR while in actual inner tubes.
Here's one of the games I wanted to do codenamed "DragonFlies."— Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) May 15, 2018
Basically you were ninja/samurai in airships riding dragons fighting zombies with friends in a PVE "feudalpunk" setting on floating islands. (the airships = your "aircraft carriers", the dragons = your "planes") pic.twitter.com/yX2ivPwezb
Elsewhere there was a project codenamed DragonFlies which turned players into ninja samurais, forced to live in airships while battling zombies through the use of dragons. Leaning on the PS3's Lair and the canceled Scalebound, it would allow players to customize their dragons and effectively do what Halo did for vehicles while playing cooperatively. It may sound like some sort of Rick & Morty adventure, but at least Bleszinski can't be accused of not having a unique idea. Sadly, Sony, EA, 2K, Activision and Warner Bros. all rejected the game.
Here's another one, initially planned for VR, codenamed "Rover" but was shaping up to be "DogWalkers" - DOG stood for Destructive Ordnance (on the) Ground.— Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) May 15, 2018
Inspired by WW2 tank crews/battles/the movie Fury. 5 v 5 v 5 v 5 v 5 Zoid looking walkers fighting it out in MP. pic.twitter.com/2UkGtwk2iH
A final interesting VR idea was a game called DogWalkers - standing for Destructive Ordinance on the Ground - placing players in giant mechanical walkers and facing-off against each other in a toxic environment fighting for survival. Inspired by the tank battles of WWII, gamers would have to work in teams and mend any leaks to their DOGs before the whole crew was gassed to death.
As for why none of these games ever came to be, Bleszinski cited several reasons. As well as some of the titles being too similar to games that already existed, budget constraints were a major factor. It is clear to see why the big names might not be interested in Bleszinski's games, and with some of the ideas reportedly coming in at around $40 million, they weren't exactly cheap titles. However, note that all of these potential games are a million miles away from how Boss Key limped out of fashion with LawBreakers and Radical Heights.
It is unusual for a designer to be so candid with their designs, suggesting that Bleszinski may have totally given up on them ever coming to fruition if he is so willing to share his drawings with the general public. With an impressive career at the likes of Epic Games before founding Boss Key in 2014, Bleszinski clearly has an eye for what can make a good game. Whether or not any of the above ever come to be, there is no denying that the designer clearly has a passion for video games.