Gears of War Designer, Cliff Bleszinski, Leaves Epic Games

By Ishaan . October 3, 2012 . 3:20pm

Longtime Epic Games veteran, Cliff Bleszinski, has parted ways with the company, Epic and Bleszinski announced today.


“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,” said Epic Games founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney.


“Cliff leaves Epic with our gratitude for his many contributions, and our wishes for continued success in the next chapter of his life!”


Bleszinski also offered a few words on the subject.


“I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop,” he said in a statement meant for colleagues and the press. “I literally grew up in this business, as Mike [Rein] likes to say. And now that I’m grown up, it’s time for a much needed break.”


He continued: “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.”


During his tenure at Epic, Bleszinski has helped create and popularize franchises such as Jazz Jackrabbit and Gears of War. He’s also an outspoken aficionado of Japanese-developed games and once said that, were he ever to leave Epic, he might like to serve as a consultant to Japanese developers.

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  • ronin4life

    Lots of shifting of employment occuring in the industry lately…

  • WHOA. The doctors are gone, Cliffy B is gone. This is getting interesting…

  • Crap! I just got in the industry, and all I’m reading lately is… Employment shifts D; 

  • samson7point1

    Clearly, he’s leavng because he’s upset over the discontinuation of Nintendo Power.

  • Solomon_Kano

    Oh WOW. I’d never have thought to see Cliffy B leave Epic.

    I don’t always like his games, but I’ve got immense respect for Cliff as a person. From all the interviews I’ve seen with him he always seemed like a really cool guy. I wonder if he’s leaving the industry altogether or if he’ll be back to games at some point down the line?

    He’s certainly earned this break and he’s a family man now too, so I wish him well.

  • Shadowman

    Such a sad moment indeed.

  • badmoogle

    “and his contributions to the ‘Unreal’ and ‘Gears’ series have helped shape the game industry into what it is today,”

    Eh,i wouldn’t be so proud of that.

    • Aoshi00

      Interestingly, I started playing Gears because the Gooch said he was a fan :)(I’m not a huge shooter fan to begin w/) and his Last Story was influenced by it too..  I do like the Gears universe a lot, got all the novels and artbooks.. and Unreal has certainly contributed to lots of good games if used well. 

      Cliffy B is a pretty cool dude too, spending whole life working on games since young age must be something..

    • Luna Kazemaru

       And he shouldn’t be proud because? Both series are good.

    • malek86

      Sigh. Of course, let’s completely dismiss the fact that Unreal Tournament was one of the most popular deathmatch shooters around, or that Gears of War is enjoyed by millions of people in the world. Clearly this guy doesn’t deserve any recognition cause his games appealed to the mainstream. The nerve of him! If only he had made a niche JRPG, surely now he would be much more worth remembering!

  • SirRichard

    Well, certainly didn’t see this coming. The industry’s going to be an interesting place this coming generation, it seems like.

    Still, as he said himself he’s been in the business for a long time and from a rather early age to boot. He deserves a good break, and whatever your opinion on his work, it can’t be denied that he has passion for the medium. I look forward to seeing what he does next, should he return to the industry.

  • “gears of war designer”
    ahaha, this game had one?

  • Zeromus321

    It’s kinda scary to see all these veterans leaving the industry. When Kojima, Sakaguchi, Takahashi and Howard decide to leave, is the day I will be scared for gaming. Granted when any one of those men decide to leave I will depressed.

  • Göran Isacson

    Wow. Wonder if there’s drama behind this or if he just decided it was time to move on. On the one hand I have such a hard time seeing Cliffy be despondent and dissapointed in his situation, on the other hand you just didn’t feel like he wanted to be anywhere but where he was, you know?

    • Solomon_Kano

      I’m thinking he just decided to leave. I was more than a little surprised when it was announced that People Can Fly were making the new Gears rather than his team, but this seems like a logical reason as to why that was. His team’s probably been building up to his departure. Happy with his craft as he always seemed, I just can’t picture him having left over some drama. Most likely he wanted to spend more time with settling in with his family, seeing as he just got married earlier this year.

  • Happy Gamer

    Wow this is one of the biggest things to happen to the game industry in the 2000s along with Keiji Inafune’s departure (altho its diff).

    I am not a devoted fan of his games BUT I have thoroughly enjoyed many of his titles and the unreal engine the company brought together that also spawned tremendous games based on it from Bioshock to Last Story.

    As another person though, I understand his position. This has been his life and as much as he put passion into it and effort, he has done nothing for “himself.” I think this is really important. An average gamer doesn’t seem to understand this however. I’m sure there are “zomg u will ruinz teh GoW!”

    I dunno perhaps Epic will not do as well in the future, but as a person, I hope Mr. Cliff B will find his calling again, whatever it may be.

    Or maybe he has made tons of money and wants to live the rest of his life comfortably with his friends and family, which imo he deserves. Unlike many of us who start “life as a worker” in their 20s and nowadays, 30s or more (esp due to grad school and other stuff), he started in his years where he could have done anything with his life. He happen to do something he loved and was successful in it, but like I said, a person’s vision changes as we grow.

    Whatever he does hope it’s all well and he def made a mark in recent gaming history at least for me.

  • Tom_Phoenix

    Most people will remember him for his work with first-person/third-person shooters. But personally, I will always remember him for his work on the Jazz Jackrabbit series.

    Too bad Bleszinski’s departure probably means we will never see a Jazz Jackrabbit 3. =(

    • Seconded. I spent so many hours with Jazz 2 and its level editor back in the day. <3

  • neo_firenze

    I’m more interested in his next move.  Would be really cool to see him collaborate with a Japanese developer – so many choices too.  Inafune, Itagaki, Mikami, Kojima, etc. 

    Or have someone like Capcom hire him to head up a project instead of using second tier western devs like GRIN (Bionic Commando), Airtight Games (Dark Void),  Slant Six (RE: Operation Raccoon City) Spark Unlimited (Lost Planet 3).  Not to mention the whole DMC/Ninja Theory fiasco. 

    Or… Clover x CliffyB.

    • Hexen

      Well it could be, after all, Resident Evil 6 has been influenced by Gears of War.

      • neo_firenze

         And Gears of War (particularly the original) felt very influenced by Resident Evil 4.  It really would be a pretty good match, I think.

        Capcom trying to have their internal Japanese teams do Gears-ish stuff doesn’t seem to turn out that great.  Capcom pairing their talents with Cliff Bleszinski?  Sounds like something I’d be interested in seeing.

      • Luna Kazemaru

         where did you get that Idea

  • Wait, so is he saying that he’s leaving the games industry altogether, or just his studio?

  • You will be missed, Cliff. He’s kind of an elder statesman of the gaming industry.

  • malek86

    This really surprised me, especially since it apparently came out of nowhere. I wonder if he’s already given all of his input on Gears of War Judgment. The game won’t be out for another while, so production can’t be finished yet.

    Anyway, he will most certainly be missed. Not many had his kind of vision and passion.

    (although I must admit, I was always more of a Quake guy myself :P)

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