Another weighty departure.
Add another person to the seemingly growing list of higher ups leaving the helms of the companies they've helped define. On Wednesday, Cliff Bleszinski, perhaps better known as CliffyB. announced his departure from Epic Games. Bleszinski had been the Design Director for Epic for the past two decades, and is most well known for his work in developing the Gears of War series, although he has worked on others like the Unreal Tournament, and Jazz Jackrabbit series, the latter of which he also co-created.
Bleszinski has arguably been the face of Epic Games for quite some time, and while the attention that he's garnered has been mixed at times, I believe that no one can really argue that he did a good job at drawing attention to the franchises that the studio wanted pushed. He was definitely outspoken and quite ready to always be at the latest event, even in cases where his games weren't at the forefront.
Unlike with Bioware's founders, Bleszinski isn't leaving to pursue other career paths, at least not immediately, as he outlined in a letter to those who he worked with at the company:
I’ve been doing this [game design] 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.
Whether this means that he's gone for good (something which I highly doubt, myself), or if you can expect to see Cliff going to a different studio or perhaps even starting one of his own is up for debate. Now that Cliff is gone though it will be interesting to see where the Gears of War series might end up going from here, because it's unlikely that it's done, even as the trilogy concluded the original story (as far as I know, feel free to correct me).
The thing that bugs me is that this is really starting to look like a trend. I think that Cliff has legitimate reasons for just wanting to take a break. That said, given the amount of people that seem to be getting out of the game as of late, I hope that this isn't something that indicates that there's a growing lack of faith in the sustainability or quality of the video game market.
Either way, I, like many I would wager, will miss his presence. That being said, I wish the man all the best. He's done some good work, and he deserves to kick back, if only even for a little while until something else catches his fancy.