Gaming icon Cliff Bleszinski is leaving Epic Games, the company has just announced. The outspoken developer is best known for his work on Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal, and Gears of War. After spending 20 years at Epic, Bleszinski will no longer serve as the company's design director.
"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," Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said in a prepared statement. "Cliff leaves Epic with our gratitude for his many contributions, and our wishes for continued success in the next chapter of his life!"
"Cliff has been my friend and business associate for the past 20 years and, while it is sad to see him move on from Epic, I know that everyone here has benefited greatly from his passion for gaming and the depth of his expertise and experience," Epic VP Mark Rein added. "I'll miss watching his star shine from such a close vantage point but I'll still look forward to watching his continued success."
Given the language surrounding his departure, including mentions of "the next stage of his career," it seems likely that Bleszinski will remain in the gaming industry--unlike the recent departures of BioWare's doctors. However, Bleszinski is definitely taking a break for now. "I've been doing this since I was a teenager, and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop," he told fans on Epic Games' website. "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."