Everyone sees Cliff Bleszinski aka Cliffy B as the father of Gears of War, and its sad that this is what everyone attaches his name to, why? Well simply put, the man is also responsible for the Unreal Tournament franchise. A game that means a lot to me, every computer I’ve had from childhood until now has had one game on it, and that’s UT2k4. For this very reason, I owe a lot to Epic, and Cliff for showing me the ways of the FPS!
Today Cliff who was the Design Director for Epic Games announced his departure from the company to take a break from his 20 year career with them. This news coming just about a month after Epic’s Director of Production, Rod Fergusson, leaves the company to come to wonderful Boston, MA and join Irrational Games as the Executive Vice President of Development. It’s a bit odd that two big names leave Epic so close to each other and just leaves everyone questioning what is going on behind the scenes. We’re not here to make speculations but either he truly wants a break, or something sketchy is going on.
Here’s an excerpt 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.
Luckily I got my chance to meet the Cliff during PAX East 2010 as seen below, and there’s a big story that goes with this image that I believe was discussed in an earlier podcast, but yeah, this is the infamous “Death Grip” picture that goes with that story.
Regardless of what is going on, he has left Epic, and we wish him the best of luck in any future projects he’s a part of.