Epic Games has announced that Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer of the Gears of War series and contributor to Jazz Jackrabbit and Unreal, will be taking a break and leaving the studio “to chart the next stage of his career.” The decision is said to be amicable and is driven by the fact that Bleszinski desires a “much needed break” after working at Epic Games for the last two decades.
An excerpt taken from Epic’s blog includes a piece from Cliff’s personal note to his colleagues:
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.
Michael Capps, Tim Sweeney, and Mark Rein shared their own sentiments, which are included in the above link, and all wish their former colleague luck on his next endeavour. It is unknown at this point, however, where and what Bleszinski will be working on next.
Analysis: I can’t really fault the man for wanting to move on and do something different after spending such a significant portion of his life within one studio and working on the same IP’s day in and day out for such a long period of time. Toss in the fact that the man seemingly never stops working and that he recently got married only a few months ago, and really, anyone in that situation would want to take some time off.
Judging by the personal note he left to his fellow colleagues and the comments left by Mike Capps, Tim Sweeney, and Mark Rein, they definitely paint a picture of a cordial departure between the two parties and that this is simply a case of changing priorities and desires to explore other avenues in life.
Although I’m not the biggest fan of Bleszinski work at Epic Games, I’ve definitely had quite a few hours of mindless fun in the games he’s helped create, and the same can be said for countless gamers. Hopefully, his break will rejuvenate his desire to work in the industry and that he’ll come back to work on something he enjoys.