Radical Heights

According to trademark filings, the promising and short-lived battle royale game Radical Heights could see a revival from Squanch Games, the studio co-founded by Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland in 2016.

First noticed by sleuthing fan itsGerth on the Radical Heights subreddit, Squanch Games quietly acquired the Radical Heights trademark from developer Boss Key Productions in August 2018. After a recertification process with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the updated trademark was fully ratified on May 7.

Despite its shutdown only three months after launching last year, Radical Heights was well-received by players and critics. In his statement following the shuttering of Boss Key Productions, founder Cliff Bleszinski described Radical Heights as “too little too late” to save the studio from closure.

It might seem random that a VR developer would pick up the trademark for a dead battle royale game, but Boss Key's ties to Roiland date back to its first project, Lawbreakers. In that game’s Blitzball mode, Roiland voiced the titular blitzball that players fought over to score points. In a 2017 interview with PushSquare, Bleszinski described Roiland's small role in Lawbreakers as favor from a friend.

Players who enjoyed Boss Key’s futuristic 80s take on the burgeoning battle royale genre were disappointed when it all went away so quickly. Now, in the ghost town of Radical Heights’ subreddit, what fans remain hope the game will see a proper return.

“If Radical Heights comes back I will uninstall every game on my hard drive just to have space for this glorious game,” reads a comment by panderinggamer on the original post revealing Squanch’s acquisition. It’s a nice idea, but it’s unclear what, if anything, Squanch will do with the trademark.

Since 2016, Squanch has focused on offbeat comedy VR games Accounting and Trover Saves the Universe. Taking the reins of a large-scale multiplayer project would be a very different challenge for the studio, if it does plan to use the trademark in that way. It’s also possible that the humor and style of Radical Heights will be used in a project more in line with the studio's past work.

One notable feature of the trademark is the address on the filing, a building in Raleigh, NC. Squanch is based out of Burbank, CA, but is currently hiring for its Raleigh office. That's significant because Raleigh was where Boss Key itself was based before closing.

Still, nothing's certain until we hear something out of Squanch. PC Gamer contacted the studio to clarify its plans for Radical Heights, but has not heard back. We'll update this article if we learn more.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

Battle royale games. For a long time the RPS treehouse was unable to comprehend these chaotic, destructive influences on society. Shooters, yes, we understand. Survival games, we get it. But 100-person death marches in a shrinking zone of hate? What s so good about that? Well, this week we ve got a young person* to help us decipher this most murderous of riddles.

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Khee Hoon Chan)

lawbreakers-deserved-better-1

Among the avalanche of trigger-happy competitive shooters, LawBreakers is an obvious homage to the twitchy, run-and-gunnners of yesteryear like Quake and Doom. Set in an over-the-top, zero-gravity arena, it encourages and demands from its players a mastery of sharpshooting and bullet-pumping. It s a pity this may have deterred many aspiring LawBreakers players, and a double pity that the ill-fated studio is shutting down its servers in September. To be at the receiving end of a dizzying, acrobatic assault is the zenith of this breakneck shooter. There s an artistry to be found in the sleek movements, the speeding bullets, the quick surveying of enemy positions, and the frenetic, instinctive reaction against a flurry of attacks. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Dragonflies

The games industry is an oft-cruel place. For every game that gets greenlit for production, another dozen ideas are rejected. With his studio – Boss Key Productions – now closing its doors after the failure of Radical Heights, head man and former Epic lead Cliff Bleszinski has been sharing concept art and pitches on Twitter for a trio of games that publishers rejected before Nexon decided to fund development of LawBreakers.

(more…)

PC Gamer

Cliff Bleszinski pulled the plug on Boss Key Productions yesterday, after both LawBreakers and Radical Heights failed to achieve the critical mass required to keep the studio afloat. He said that he was going to "take some time off and reflect," but apparently that doesn't mean he'll be taking a break from Twitter, because today he began sharing some of the ideas he and other members of the studio had for future Boss Key games. 

DragonFlies is probably my favorite of the bunch: Ninjas on dragons launched from giant airships fighting hordes of zombies in a feudalpunk world of floating islands is a very specific niche, but also very much my niche. (Although to be honest I'm not perfectly clear on what "feudalpunk" is.) 

DogWalkers also looks cool, at least as far as a couple of pieces of concept art can carry such an impression. Faint echoes of the Battle of Hoth, but on Earth, and... bigger

Donuts, the "silly" one, might seem a little out of character for the designer of Unreal Tournament and Gears of War, but remember that before all that he did Jazz Jackrabbit, and there are a lot of people who wish he'd get back to that kind of thing.

"These were not purely my ideas, they were a collaboration between myself and BKP employees," Bleszinski wrote. "Tramell, Zach, Dan, etc.. all worked on them a lot."

Interestingly, he also touched on both the problem with publishers in the game industry, and why they're necessary. "You pitch something and the response is often 'too similar to something we have or out there so no' or ' this is too unique so we can't do a proper financial model for it.' I respect them but as a creative it's frustrating," he tweeted.

"Side note $40m budget. So not cheap."

LawBreakers was a very good game, and it really is a shame that Boss Key couldn't make a go of it. But when Bleszinski comes back—and I have no doubt that he will—I really hope he takes aim at something like one of these instead.   

Check out some more concept art (which includes female characters for both DragonFlies and Donuts) below.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Filmed in front of a live studio audience

After LawBreakers failed to strike it rich, many saw studio Boss Key’s decision to rush-release ’80s game-show themed battle royale Radical Heights as proof that the studio was in jeopardy, and that pushing the game out with only one half-finished map available was a wild spin on the wheel of fortune. While starting out free-to-play ensured that the price is right, it just wasn’t enough to hit the jackpot and save the studio from a complete wipeout.

Today on Twitter, studio head Cliff Bleszinski announced that Boss Key Productions is no more.

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PC Gamer

With the failure of the arena shooter LawBreakers behind it and Radical Heights apparently unable to gain a sizable enough playerbase, Cliff Bleszinski has announced that Boss Key Productions is being closed.   

"Four years ago I set out to make a world-class videogame studio and I hired some of the best talent in the videogame industry. They worked tirelessly to produce quality products and, while we had our ups and downs, I'd like to think we had fun doing it," Bleszinski wrote. 

"LawBreakers was a great game that unfortunately failed to gain traction, and, in a last-ditch attempt we scrambled to do our take on the huge battle royale genre with Radical Heights which was well received, however, it was too little too late." 

Bleszinski said he hopes to make another new game someday, but for now he's going to "take some time off and reflect."

"To those of you who supported myself and the studio these last four years, thank you from the bottom of my heart," he wrote.   

The Radical Heights servers will remain online "for the near future." Bleszinski's full statement is below.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brock Wilbur)

e7a8207b3c2a0eac373db8b822f22ee94569665d

Radical Heights is the 80s retro battle royale blastathon that’s the newest kid on the battle block. Whether you like shooting up arcades or shooting up other, different arcades, Radical Heights has you covered; all wrapped up in a sense of gnarly attitude not seen since Sunset Overdrive. That’s right, I invoked Sunset Overdrive in the first paragraph. I’m on a warpath today. Sorry, back to the issue at hand: Radical Heights has a second update that introduces a number of new elements to the game. This includes bug fixes (obviously) but also a range of BMX bikes and bike ramps and cosmetic options. There’s also a scanner that reveals enemy locations on the map. That’s the bigger thing. Unless you’re into battle royale games for the bike ramps. TBH a Paperboy Battle Royale does sound kinda great. I just want to deliver newspapers and murder indiscriminately. Give it to me.

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Radical Heights

Radical Heights is, by the sound of the team's time with it, a fun battle royale game that's very rough around the edges, which means it'll take a lot of patches to get it up to standard. The second of those patches arrived this week, bringing with it a new gadget, improved character customisation, and BMXs that won't flip out every time you so much as bump over a curb.

The new gadget is a scanner that temporarily shows the location of enemies within a "large" radius on your minimap. The blips won't move around as your enemies do—it'll just display their last known location after you put the scanner away, but it'll be a good way to find out roughly what area they're in. One of the team's criticisms of the game was that rounds evolve too slowly, with a big lull in the middle, and being able to see where your enemies are should help address that by making firefights more likely.

The update also adds bike ramps for you to fling your BMX off, and complements that with changes to the way the bikes handle. You'll have more control of them when they're in the air, curbs and bumps won't spin your bike as much, and you'll be able to vary the height of bunny hops by tapping or holding down the jump button. The bikes—currently the game's only vehicles—have been more trouble than they're worth up to now, so it's a good thing that developer Boss Key is trying to make them less unpredictable. 

Players can expect new cosmetic items next time they log-in, including hairstyles and dance moves, and you can now rotate your character after changing their appearance to see just how groovy they look from every angle. Customisation has all been moved to one place, the Prize Room, to make it easier to understand.

Perhaps most importantly, the patch aims to address a long list of bugs and performance problems. Aiming down sights should cause less hitches, players should get higher fps across the board, and the server selection has been tweaked so that players can find games faster.

Lastly, Boss Key teased some of the changes that will arrive in future updates, including a new game show event during rounds, more sensitivity options and major new buildings on the map. You can read about them, along with all the other changes, in the full patch notes.

Radical Heights - BKP_Ron
Buckle up those fanny packs, Contestants! It's time for a brand new Radical Heights update! We're bringing you more ways to customize, more optimizations and more ways to dance like you have never danced before today, May 3 at 12pm/ET.

Tell 'em what they've won, Roddy! Roddy...? Well it seems Roddy isn't here, so we'll try to do this in our best announcer voice.

Patch #2 includes things like...

NEW GADGET
Introducing the newest gadget from J.A.N.U.S., the Scanner. Deploy this to temporarily show the last location of enemies within a certain radius on your minimap.



MORE WAYS TO CUSTOMIZE
Dress to impress with new cosmetic items, including new hairstyles and dances! But wait there's more! Now you can turn your contestant to see just how rad you look from all angles. Wow, those stretchy zebra pants are stylin'! You'll also see that the customization process has been consolidated into one area. Now all you have to do is open your Prize Room to see all the items to customize your contestant and Kill card.



BIKE RAMPS
We're ramping up your bike tricks! New ramps made of a wood-like polymer that smells of pine and determination have been placed around the map so you can show off those rad, mad BMX skills.

That's a few honorable mentions added to our second patch. You can find more details on what else has been added and improved below! As always, be sure to let us know your thoughts after you get hands-on with the update!

GENERAL
  • Fixed parties disbanding after each match.
  • Performance optimizations when switching to and from aim down sight or scope view
  • General performance optimizations ongoing - players should see increased FPS.
  • Improved ATM interaction: You can now queue as much money as you want to withdraw or deposit!
  • Improved server region selection:
  • Fixed issue where no region could be selected if pings were too high
  • Now defaults to auto-select regions with a ping below 100ms
  • Increased maximum allowed ping to select a region to 200ms
  • Updates across the world!
  • Various collision and geo fixes
  • Art pass started on locations that were previously only greybox.
  • You can now rotate your character in the menu by clicking and dragging.
  • Online friends are now sorted at the top of the friends list
  • Reduced the range you can hear the supply line.
  • Zip lines can be grabbed from any point, instead of just the start.
  • New animations for healing/eating burgers in prone and crouch.
  • More crowd/announcer audio adjustments!
  • Audio options now work!

COSMETICS
  • Prize Room: All customization options have been merged into the Prize Room.
    • This now displays both owned and unlockable items.
    • There is now a sort option for "owned" items.
    • Kill Card and Character options are also now available from the Prize Room.
  • *NEW* Added 32 New Cosmetic Items
  • 4 Emotes - Rad Gems Only
  • 3 New Hairstyles - Rad Gems Only
  • 3 Glasses
  • 1 Fanny Pack
  • 2 Gloves
  • 3 Shoes
  • 2 Hats
  • 6 Pants
  • 8 Shirts
  • *NEW* Added 10 Kill Card Options - ALL FREE!
  • 3 Backgrounds
  • 3 Borders
  • 4 Profile Icons

BMX BIKES
  • Increased pitch up/down air control.
  • Easier to stop spinning/flipping in air.
  • Curbs and bumps won’t flip/spin the bike as much.
  • Variable jump height: tap for a small jump to avoid small obstacles or hold & release for a fully charged jump.
  • Lots of ramps added to the world to do sick flips on!

WEAPONS/GEAR
  • *New Gadget*: Scanner!
  • This gadget scans enemies in a large radius around the player. Enemies detected have their location at the time they were scanned revealed on the player's minimap temporarily.
  • Improved perspective of first person weapons in aim down sight
  • Balance adjustments
  • Aug: Damage reduced
  • FAL: Damage reduced
  • UZI: ROF reduced, Range increased, Price increased
  • HiTec: ROF reduced, Range increased
  • AK74u: ROF reduced, Range increased
  • M12: Range increased
  • M16: Range increased, Price increased
  • 1887: Spread increased
  • Stakeout Shotgun: Spread increased

COMING SOON!
While we can't share all the details of what we've been working on just yet, we did want to share a few things that you will be seeing in future updates. The team has heard your feedback and has been putting it into action! We put "!" behind all of them because we're really excited. Hope you Rad Contestants are too!
  • ADS sensitivity slider!
  • ADS and spring toggle options!
  • Ammo splitting!
  • Major changes around the map, new buildings, art passes across many areas!
  • Major changes to Lustful Pines Campground!
  • New Game Show event!

Okay, contestants, it's time to jump in and try out the newest additions and improvements in The Dome! Let us know what you think on our Twitter, FaceBook or the official forums. Oh, and keep sending those righteous gameplay clips our way! Who knows...maybe we'll share your rad moments.

That’s all for now, contestants. Go forth and reach those Radical Heights!
...

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