Competitive PC and PlayStation 4 shooter LawBreakers failed to find an audience at launch, and the situation hasn’t improved since. The studio, Boss Key Productions, announced today that the game will be supported in its current state, but the team will be moving onto other projects.
The numbers for LawBreakers are dire. The game had nine players on the PC in the past 24 hours, and peaked at 7,482 concurrent players during its lifetime, according to data from SteamCharts.
“The fact is LawBreakers failed to find enough of an audience to generate the funds necessary to keep it sustained in the manner we had originally planned for and anticipated,” the developer said in a blog post. “And while a pivot to free-to-play may seem like easiest change to make, a change of this magnitude takes publishing planning and resources to do it.”
It seems unlikely that publisher Nexon will be willing to invest any more resources into the game.
“Our results in North America in the third quarter were below our outlook, mainly due to the sales from LawBreakers being below our expectations,” the company said in an 2017 earnings call. Nexon said it would not be taking on any additional losses from the game in the future; which indicates a lack of ongoing support.
In fact, LawBreakers had already shifted from a free-to-play to a premium model during development.
“We did a lot of discussions and even more research. There are some core free-to-play games that do well, but for us, we didn’t want to go down the well of players buying ‘energy’ or other sleazy things,” studio founder Cliff Bleszinski said in 2016. “A lot of core gamers have a negative reaction when they hear free-to-play because they think they’ll get ripped off.”
So whats going to happen to the game now? It sounds as if active development is ceasing, although the language of the statement leaves some wiggle room.
“The team here has worked hard on this game over the past three and a half years and our studio is determined to give this game the second life it deserves,” the post says. “However, between now and then, we cannot sit idle. We will continue to support the game in its current state, but we also need to focus on other projects with fresh creative leaders. We have been working on something new and we can’t wait to share more about it! It’s a passion project that we’re in complete control of.”