Cliffy B is something of a bete noire, being as he is a grown man whose attitude towards gamers can be summed up with “Shut up and pay for my Ferrari, peasants.” And, after two years away, he’s back! With Blue Streak! A free-to-play first-person-shooter!
If the tone of this post seems a little mocking, it’s because ol’ Cliffy has been on the hype tour since 2013, and essentially talking smack about his old coworkers and damn near everyone else. He was going to make a real PC shooter, not any of this nonsense. And, instead, he’s turning out a game that leads with a dying fad in its description and is described as a “sci-fi arena shooter.” Comics fans know this as “Rob Liefeld Syndrome.”
There’s little doubt in my mind that Blue Streak will actually be a pretty fun game: Whatever his personal flaws, Bleszinski is an experienced developer who knows how to pick a development team. And it’s pretty hard to screw up an FPS when you’ve been building games about shooting people for two solid decades.
That said, there have been quite a few attempts to launch an F2P FPS and it’s proven a difficult market. Warface, Crytek’s entry in this derby, sank without a trace everywhere but Russia. Team Fortress 2 only went free-to-play after years of development, balancing, and polishing. Hawken appeared in a flood of hype and then promptly vanished just as quickly. Expanding the view, even a highly polished shooter with good ideas like Titanfall isn’t exactly shaking the pillars of heaven these days. The genre needs a lot more than “Hey, remember the ’90s?”
In addition, come on. He’s remaking Unreal Tournament. It may play differently and have a different aesthetic, but that’s essentially what he’s doing. After talking that much smack, you really need to come out with more than just a knock-off of something you’ve already done. We’ll apparently find out more next week, but either way, Blue Streak is starting somewhat on the back foot.