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Cliff Bleszinski tossed out a bunch of unused game ideas on Twitter

Here’s the games that Boss Key couldn’t get any publishers to pay for

Boss Key Productions
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Just two days ago, game designer Cliff Bleszinski, co-founder of Boss Key Productions and a major force in the creation of the Gears of War franchise, announced that he is stepping back from the games industry for a time. He announced on Twitter that Boss Key, the studio behind LawBreakers and, most recently, Radical Heights, “is effectively no more.”

Then, just a day later, he began posting concept art for games that Boss Key wasn’t able to make. In clearing out his desk at the office, such as it is, Bleszinski has dropped a few closely-guarded secrets on the floor for everyone to look at.

The first concept is for something Bleszinski calls “DragonFlies.” It includes ninja-like player characters based in airships riding dragons into battle against the undead.

Bleszinski indicated the estimated working budget for the title was $40 million. He said that the concept was pitched to Activision, 2K, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony and Warner Bros., but Boss Key was never able to get anyone interested. Lots of concept art was created for those presentations, at least some of it included the work of artist Shawn Lin.

The goal, he said, would be to learn from the mistakes of Lair, a poorly received dragon flight-based combat game developed by Factor 5 and published by Sony as an exclusive title on the PlayStation 3 in 2007. Other inspirations included PlatinumGames’ Scalebound, which was canceled by Microsoft in Jan. 2017.

Another title was codenamed alternately as “Rover” and “DOGWalkers,” where DOG stands for Destructive Ordnance on the Ground. It was a title initially intended to be a virtual reality multiplayer tank combat game with five-man crews and five-crew matches.

Boss Key Productions
Boss Key Productions

The last project that Bleszinski leaked onto Twitter is codenamed “Donuts.” He described it as a successor to the game Toobin, a fondly remembered Atari classic published in 1988 where players ride inside inner-tubes. Bleszinski said that in the VR title players would take on the role of animals that were hoping to ride rivers together in an effort to fight off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

In yesterday’s Twitter stream, Bleszinski implied that these were just a few of the projects that the team had on the drawing board. It’s unclear whether he plans to return to them in the future, or how rights to this intellectual property will be handled now that Boss Key is being wound down.