It is perhaps one of the most well-known combination of names in the gaming industry: Epic Games and Cliff Bleszinski. It’s almost impossible to think about Epic without automatically thinking about Bleszinski and vice versa. Even outside of gaming Cliff “Don’t Call Me Cliffy B” Bleszinski is a fairly well-known name, making him, alongside the likes of Peter Molyneux, an ambassador for gaming of sorts.
And yet now the dream-team that has been responsible for the likes of the Unreal and Gears of War series is splitting up. It was today revealed that Cliff Bleszinski is leaving Epic Games to take a break and then move on to the next stage of his career, whatever that may be.
The post on Epic Game’s website says: “Today we are saying farewell with warm regards to Cliff Bleszinski, who is departing as Epic’s design director to chart the next stage of his career. During the past two decades, Cliff has helped shape many successful games that have captured the imaginations of millions of players around the world. We are grateful for his influence on Epic’s legacy, from the wild adventures “Jazz Jackrabbit” to the visceral combat of “Gears of War.””
His colleagues naturally had only good things to say about Cliff. “In 20 wonderful years with Epic, Cliff Bleszinski has grown into a true design luminary,” said Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic. Epic President Michael Capps said, “his passion for creating video games of the highest quality has been unflinching.” And Mark Rein, Vice President of Epic, said, “I’ll miss watching his star shine from such a close vantage point but I’ll still look forward to watching his continued success.”
As for Cliff himself, he had this to say in an excerpt from a note to the team at Epic:
“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 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.”
The departing of Cliff has come of a bit of a surprise, and while it’s a shame to see him leave the company it’ll be interesting to see what he decides to do after his break. Founding his own company would seem to be a logical next step, but of course that’s just speculation.