Cliff Bleszinski, known for his work on Gears of War and Unreal Tournament and one of this gaming generation’s most influential figures, has stepped down from his position as design director at Epic Games, the studio he has helped steer to massive success over the past twenty years.
Affectionatley known to gamers as “CliffyB”, Bleszinski explained the reasoning behind his decision on the Epic Games website:
“I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop. I literally grew up in this business, as Mike [Capps, president of Epic] likes to say. And now that I’m grown up, it’s time for a much needed break.
“I will miss the projects, the playtests, the debates, and most importantly, the people. Epic only hires the best of the best, and it has been a joy working with each and every one of you on a daily basis, whether you were hired weeks ago or decades ago. I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with a variety of disciplines, from code to art to marketing and PR – it’s been one big, rewarding learning experience. I’m confident that each project that is being built, whether at Epic, Chair, PCF, or Impossible will be top notch and will please gamers and critics alike.”
Epic’s founder, CEO and technical director Tim Sweeney, shared his fondness for Bleszinski:
“In 20 wonderful years with Epic, Cliff Bleszinski has grown into a true design luminary, and his contributions to the ‘Unreal’ and ‘Gears’ series have helped shape the game industry into what it is today. Cliff leaves Epic with our gratitude for his many contributions, and our wishes for continued success in the next chapter of his life!”
Epic vice president Mark Rein shared similar sentiments:
“Cliff has been my friend and business associate for the past 20 years and, while it is sad to see him move on from Epic, I know that everyone here has benefited greatly from his passion for gaming and the depth of his expertise and experience.”
Though Bleszinski hasn’t made it clear yet what the future holds for him, the timing of his departure tallies interestingly with another high-profile gaming move. Adrian Chmielarz, founder of Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment developer People Can Fly, also recently left the company he helped found. Could the two be planning the formation of a new studio?