Days after announcing they would be moving away from the failed hero shooter Lawbreakers, Boss Key Productions began touting their next offering, Radical Heights, a free-to-play battle royale shooter steeped in neon and imagery straight out of The Running Man on Monday. Even more surprising was that the game was slated for a Steam Early Access release the very next day.
Even with the quick turnaround between the title’s reveal and launch, there was more than enough time for intrigued fans to voice their disdain for elements within the game that appear to support a pay-to-win model that has become the bane of gaming communities in recent history.
The game will attempt to carve its own slice of the battle royale pie by introducing a unique money system that allows players to carry over funds earned in-game, allowing them to access better weapons at a quicker rate during matches. The money used is not purchasable with real money, and accessing your “offshore account” during a match leaves players vulnerable to attack, creating a risk-reward aspect that Cliffy B and the Boss Key team hopes will differentiate themselves enough to find an audience this go-round.
The claims center on the game’s Founder’s Pack, a $14.99 add-on. Originally, it was set to include a 10 percent money multiplier, which would give those who purchased the add-on more money at the end of matches, and a $10,000 cash bonus. Within hours of this announcement, fans began labeling the benefits within the Founder’s Pack as the classic trappings of a pay-to-win model. Soon after, Boss Key tweaked the bonuses offered by the add-on, removing the $10,000 cash bonus, but that still didn’t remove the stigma that plagues many free-to-play titles in the eyes of the community.
Tuesday, hours before the game’s launch, Boss Key again altered its Founder’s Pack offerings, as Polygon points out, removing the multiplier and replacing it with exclusive cosmetic items and 1250 gems, the game’s real money currency that is only used to purchase cosmetic items.
The tweaks, labeled as the first instance of the Early Access process by the studio, make sense in the context of Boss Key’s current standing. After the failure of Lawbreakers to gain an audience upon release, the studio needed to produce a title that will curry interest with fans to the extent that it can sustain a sizeable player base. The company isn’t in a place to dictate to its audience.
Radical Heights is now live, and Boss Key can only hope that they’ve produced a title that will garner both fanfare and a substantial foothold within the crowded battle royale genre.