In a surprising turn of events, long-time Epic Games employee and Creative Director Cliff Bleszinski has revealed that he is departing the company.
In an official announcement at Epic Games, the studio writes that Bleszinski is leaving Epic “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,” reads the statement.
While Bleszinski may have started his game development career in his teens, it was Epic Games (known as Epic MegaGames at the time), founded by current CEO and technical director Tim Sweeney, that helped the young designer reach his full potential, allowing him to work on titles including Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal and Unreal Tournament, as well as the Gears of War series.
Tim Sweeney said in a statement:
“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!”
Finally, here’s an excerpt from Bleszinski’s 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.”
El33tonline is very sad to see Cliff Bleszinski leave Epic Games and we hope the Gears of War franchise has been left in good hands, but we simultaneously wish the famed developer nothing but the best in his future endeavours – good luck!