Back To Reality: Cliff Bleszinski Leaves Epic

By Nathan Grayson on October 4th, 2012 at 7:51 am.

I was going to start with “Well, this came out of nowhere,” but given that this year has also seen the doctors depart BioWare and Peter Molyneux pack his bags for the green pastures of indie-dom, it clearly didn’t. Cliff “Biff Cliszenski” Bleszinski has been the face of (and a major portion of the brains behind) Epic, Unreal, Gears of War, and – most famously – Jazz Jackrabbit for 20 years, but now he’s calling it quits. Meanwhile, Epic’s finally making a renewed PC push with Fortnite, so clearly, CLIFFY HAS ABANDONED US. As for what’s next, he’s not quite sure at the moment.

Epic announced the departure in a brief post. Among other tidbits, it also included Bleszinski’s rationale behind the decision:

“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.”

So it’s nothing final, but Bleszinski’s obviously in need of a change of pace. Whether that means a brief breath of fresh air or a full-on pursuit of his destined career as an international superstar hair model, well, that’s not clear yet. He’s a pretty brilliant designer, though, so it’d be a shame to lose his prowess to burnout. Then again, he has been at it for ages, so he’s earned this – regardless of where he ultimately ends up as a result.

As for what effect that’ll have on Epic or the quality of its games going forward, who knows? Obviously, Epic’s far bigger than just one man, but there’s no denying that Bleszinski’s signature was all over many of the giant’s classics. And if this does end up being farewell, I’d like to thank Bleszinski for chainsaw guns, this image, and teaching me how to spell Bles… Blez… Bleszinks… Fuck.

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147 Comments »

  1. Vexing Vision says:

    Can someone go and investigate what that means for Bulletstorm 2? :(

    • Fanbuoy says:

      Continued cancellation?

    • povu says:

      Cliffy was the one who said there wouldn’t be a Bulletstorm 2 because of those dirty PC pirates who didn’t buy the game, so this news isn’t going to harm the chances of it ever being made.

      • Unaco says:

        He did? You have a link to him saying that, please? I’ve been reading back on the stories about BulletStorm2 being canned… Seemed to be a combination of the first one not being as commercially successful as Epic were hoping, and wanting to put PCF to work on something else.

        • thecat17 says:

          Add to the fact that you can’t even get past the title screen or even exit the game without logging in to GFWL. Yeah. I recently gained an hour and a half long headache trying to figure out how to just play this game.

          Installed from the DVD, everything was fine and dandy until GFWL reared in, unwanted, with that Xbox Live swoosh sound. And I was faced with a cryptic error message saying GFWL couldn’t download an update. Okay, no problem. I just won’t log in, then. But there’s no way to do that. Moreover, there was no way to exit the game aside from alt-tabbing or alt-entering or ctrl-alt-deleting. Annoying.

          I look up help from the webs. I’m told to try running the GFWL installer on the DVD. I do. It doesn’t change anything. Same error message. So I’m told to try making a new GFWL in offline mode. I do this twice, not finding out where I set my GFWL profile into an offline profile. Because apparently I need a whole separate profile just to run my single player games offline. The support page was no help, and I suspect outdated because I never saw the screen that they showed had the offline mode ticker box. I got the idea that maybe I have to run the game as an Administrator (Windows 7). That doesn’t get the update to download, either. Turning off anti-virus and firewall? Nope.

          I resorted myself to downloading some cracks that bypass the GFWL login screen. Not even that works.

          Never have I ever had to deal with DRM this fucking annoying. I just wanted to play the single-player campaign. That’s all I wanted. Why do I have to log in to a profile just to play offline? Why do I have to have a separate offline profile just to play offline? I was so psyched to play this game. And I’m still too grumpy to figure out how to make it past that goddamn title screen.

          (Edited to take out “Add to the fact that you can’t play in offline mode without a crack”, the original first sentence I wrote, which isn’t true the way I worded it.)

    • cronach says:

      How I love that game. I was extremely surprised as to how much I enjoyed it. It’s seriously one of the most environmentally beautiful games I’ve ever played. Ever.

      EDIT: As I was typing this, the Bulletstorm soundtrack came on my winamp o_O

  2. Metonymy says:

    I never played any of those games.

    A single time.

    Only the originators matter. The first people who do something. The copies are irrelevant, unless they are amazing.

    I can think about 20 or 30 developers who I have an opinion about, this guy isn’t one of them. I literally know nothing, and care nothing, about him.

    • f1x says:

      So you never played a game that uses the Unreal engine? I doubt so, its been quite a starter and a pilar of the game industry for the last decade
      Also, Gears of War was pretty fresh when it came out, of course it didnt invent TPS genere but I cannot see it as a “copy”

      • PopeJamal says:

        To be fair, I don’t think Cliffy here has ever been the lead behind engine programming at Epic.

        I could be wrong, but he’s always been presented as more of a designer/product manager or whatever-you-call-it. An “idea man” basically.

        Specifically gameplay ideas and not “triple vector sub shaded phong dongle blitting rasterizer” type of engine technology ideas either.

    • Premium User Badge

      TheApologist says:

      If games that are ‘copies’ are irrelevant and you don’t play them, your collection must be pretty small…

      Plus, you must miss out on games that are refined, the games that interweave older mechanics to make something other than the sum of its parts, games that consciously play with references. You must miss out on a lot of good stuff, in other words.

      • Rawrian says:

        I wonder what’s the only FPS in Metonymy’s collection then, Maze War of Wolfenstein 3D?

    • Tommando says:

      It’s a bit silly to say you “literally know nothing” about him and then completely discount him.

    • Uglycat says:

      So…. you’re a console gamer then?

      • Premium User Badge

        BubuIIC says:

        Well, for me personally the Gears of War games (and also Bulletstorm) have always struck me as the typical incarnation of console games/gaming. (I’ve not played them and seen nothing more then promotional artwork, just my personal perception, whenever I see one of these games)

        • f1x says:

          I’m not afraid to say that I love Gears of War, (single player, multiplayer is not bad tho) also I respect different opinions obviously, nobody is forced to like or dislike it, but being honest I had really good times playing it

          On the other hand about being a console game, I’m not gonna defend Epic because they made stupid statements about PC gaming and piracy but I believe that the Gears of War issue is more related with that stupid era of “console exclusives”, the fact that Microsoft cock-blocked the game for everybody besides Xbox360 users, making it the flagship game of the console (they ported GW1 to the pc tho, like 1 year ago after the console release)

          • Premium User Badge

            BubuIIC says:

            Ah, that probably explains why I saw these as console games, because they were. (I’ve only looked up the first one before and noticed there was a PC version too). Mmh, never owned a console, never really knew someone who did. Hell, I don’t even own a TV. Will be a while before I get to try and play Gears of War 2…

        • Shadram says:

          If you can look past the meat-head machismo, the Gears games really are very good indeed. Especially the second one. Worth a look if you’ve got an XBox to hand.

        • Ragnar says:

          I couldn’t quite get behind Bulletstorm (plan to give it another try at some point), but I really enjoyed the Gears of War games. They were perfectly enjoyable single-player, and really shined in co-op.

          If Gears of War 1 wasn’t an Xbox exclusive for a year, and if Cliff B hadn’t said some anti-PC things at the same time, I think it would have been much better received by PC gamers. As it was, the perception at the time was that Epic had turned its back on PCs and sold out to consoles, and that perception still haunts Epic 6 years later.

          • PopeJamal says:

            It haunts me for sure. To the point that, until they show up at my doorstep with flowers and candy, they can stuff all their new titles.

            I’ve got Ubisoft to treat me like crap and take me for granted, so Epic will just have to get in line.

          • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

            I played the first GoW on PC. It would have been a great game, if they had spent more than 30 seconds thinking about the controls, and given me an option not to have every single possible movement and action bound to one key. Oh and also if they didn’t put in an invalid security signature into the .exe so the game didn’t launch, and then not bother fixing it for two months.

            I guess that it’s weird I’m sad to see him go, as bitter as I am over the last seven years of Epic Games. There’s a lot of CliffyB in Unreal Tournament, a twelve year old game that I still play, and might be one of the best shooters (in terms of raw, shooty mechanics) of all time. Hell, I even played against him online once. Turns out he’s really good, and rather fun.

    • Premium User Badge

      BubuIIC says:

      I’ve not played any of the games either. I don’t care about multilayer shooters at all, but I wonder how the first two Unreal games compare to half life. They’ve been released roughly at the same time and half life is one of my all time favorite games. Worth playing them at this point?

      • Nate says:

        Unreal 1 came out before Half-Life– it felt like it came out a long time before, but maybe that was because I was younger then :) It served an important role as a competitor to iD, and it did some things that Quake couldn’t have done, but game-wise, anything cool it did has been refined and improved upon in FPSs since. So it’s important historically, but unless you’ve been stuck without a computer for fifteen years, I doubt you’d get a lot out of it now.

        I never played Unreal II, but part of that was because reviewers said, “Ho, hum, okay game, nothing special.”

        • Uglycat says:

          Unreal was important because it sold the concept of dedicated graphics cards like no other game at the time.

          • Premium User Badge

            BathroomCitizen says:

            Unreal left a mark in my memory because it was the first game that I played that had two firing modes for each weapon. That was pretty cool back then. But Half-Life did that too when it came out.

      • RobinOttens says:

        I really, really like the first Unreal game. Mind you, it’s been a while since I played it, but I first played it well after it was released and loved it. It’s quite good at doing the “lonely exploration of a hostile, alien world” thing. And it had some interesting, non-linear level designs.

        The second was pretty ok for the time, but it’s gameplay and presentation haven’t aged too well. It’s also clearly built on an engine that was at the time still in development. With big differences in visual quality between the levels. It had some good ideas though, with it’s tower-defence-y sections and the between-mission interactions with your spaceship’s crew.

        I’ll be interested to see if Epic ever goes back to making something like the first Unreal’s singleplayer. And of course to see what Cliff B does next.

        • Reapy says:

          You know its really funny but until I read your comment I had completely forgotten unreal was actually a game and not an engine. Damn it has been a while, hasn’t it?

      • Ragnar says:

        At the time, Unreal shone both because of the graphics, and because of the creature AI (or at least evasiveness) – the creatures would dodge back and forth, rather than standing still or running at you, as all the previous shooters had them do.

        Also, I absolutely loved Unreal Tournament despite never playing it online. It was a frenetic, frantic, FPS arena shooter, and the bot AI meant that you could play it and be challenged (unlike Quake 3, where the bots were either brain-dead or ungodly killing machines). The first time I played UT, on a low-grav map with three disconnected platforms of different heights, I had cold sweats from the tense and thrilling gameplay. If you can overlook the dated graphics, I think it’s no less enjoyable today.

        • Obc says:

          One Word: FACE

          seriously, that map alone is worth to replay it. UT was balls out crazy at that time. it was also the first mutliplayer FPS i played on LAN. so fuckin awesome. me and my friends played on Face all day long.

        • sinister agent says:

          Agreed, and I never played it online either. It still holds up really well, with inventive, fun weapons, challenging and customisable AI, fantastic level design, and some excellent music. Runs on Windows 7 without any pissing about, too, remarkably (though you’ll need a small patch if you want to play it without the CD. And every PC is different, your results may vary, etc.). I still fire it up for a few hours every now and then. And of course, it had billions of mutators (small mods) and mods (mods). 4 way capture the flag was particularly fun.

      • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

        The first Unreal is still pretty great. The graphics have aged, but the art style is still something to behold. When it was released, there were a lot of moments that would make your jaw drop, though now they’re less impressive. Still, the scale and scope of the game are both pretty immense, and it features some of the best level design I’ve seen. The AI is still remarkably challenging and engaging for the most part. It’s got a lot of those things that RPS seems really big on, like being less-than-linear, and not having a set storyline that moves you forward on a track.

        The second Unreal is, uh, not so good. All it has in common with the first game is some of the guns and one enemy type. In many ways, it has the exact same problems as Deux Ex: Invisible War had; it wasn’t a terrible game, it was just a big departure from the first game, and a very generic and disappointing followup to an incredible game. Epic didn’t do much of the development on Unreal 2, they handed it off to Legend Entertainment, who were shuttered not long after. Shame, since the multiplayer was pretty fantastic, even if the single player was bad.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      I love these kinds of comments. ‘I know nothing about the subject, but I feel inclined to say something anyway.’

      Say, how do you know whether he’s an originator or not if you know absolutely nothing about him or his work? Why are you even here in an article about a guy you don’t know anything about leaving a company whose games you never played?

      • meatshit says:

        As a public service, I’d like to remind people that this site features a block button. I blocked metonymy months ago and every time I see a dozen replies calling him an idiot, I’m glad I did.

        • spindaden says:

          Now come on meatshit, when you see those dozen replies, doesn’t it make you curious what he said?
          Don’t you click the little button to read it anyway even though you blocked him?

          I haven’t blocked anyone because idiocy is the spice of the internet, and whilst i’ll fight to the death for your right to block the idiots, i doubt it’s practical efficacy in a blog commentary environment.

          Idiocy is the spice, big words used for no reason are the meat.

          …typos and spelling mistakes are the veg…
          …Anonymity is the casserole dish, new games journalism is the gas hob of dubious reliability and safety.

          I got a bit carried away, I’ll stop with the metaphor now and go get some lunch.

          • Premium User Badge

            BubuIIC says:

            That comment was brilliant, thank you :-)
            On topic, I only block spambots (Which you completely forgot to mention in your culinary analogy ;-)) here, so I really don’t have to unblock any of the further comments to view them.

        • PopeJamal says:

          Agreed. I tend to block the chronically disagreeable. The ones who argue.
          At length.
          With everyone.

          It’s made my stay here quite comfortable.

          I get enough of my kids with the “ARGUE ALL THE THINGS!” routine, so I don’t need it from “angry internet men” as well.

    • Amun says:

      Go play Jazz Jackrabbit. Have a glorious fun time.
      Thank me later!

    • fish99 says:

      You never played Unreal, UT or UT2004? Three fine games.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Thank you for your insightful post, my life is changed forever.

    • Jenks says:

      “Only the originators matter. The first people who do something. The copies are irrelevant, unless they are amazing.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gears_of_War#Awards
      http://www.interactive.org/awards/award_category_details.asp?idAward=2007&idGameAwardType=109

      I’d call Gears of War pretty amazing, by industry standards. As for your standards, no one gives a fuck.

      • Phantoon says:

        Industry standards are pretty low then. I was very unimpressed with those games, even more so when I was forced to actually play them.

        They’re not terrible, they’re just also not that great, either.

        • Jenks says:

          “They’re not terrible, they’re just also not that great, either.”

          Of course, anonymous blog commenter opinion > AIAS. I’ve seen the light now, and realize that the gaming industry and press standards are incredibly low. I’d love to read more about what really is and isn’t great, where can I find more of your fantastic commentary?

          Sarcasm about your crappy opinion as fact aside, there are plenty of games that I don’t enjoy but am able to concede are great.

          • PopeJamal says:

            Did you really just reprimand someone for dismissing the opinions of others while telling them that their opinion is invalid?

          • Jenks says:

            Nope

  3. KauhuK says:

    After so many brown shooters it must be very tiring indeed. Epic should have made a new 2D Jazz Jackrabbit.

    • Hypernetic says:

      Which of Epic’s games would you consider a “brown shooter”? Gears of War.. maybe? I’m not even sure.

      • DSR says:

        Anything after UT2004. Bulletstorm does not count because People Can Fly made it.

      • KauhuK says:

        Grey might be more dominant colour now that I checked again. But that goes mainly for the Gears of War series. Maybe I should have said only shooters. I don’t even remember what else than shooters have they done these last few years.

      • Premium User Badge

        BathroomCitizen says:

        With Tribes: Ascend I hope the trend is that games are getting a bit more colourful.

        Why, oh why can’t I have Sonic’s levels colours in my FPS??

    • povu says:

      Since we probably won’t see another Jazz Jackrabbit we should all just buy ‘Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit’ instead. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPilH9S6reo

  4. Hypernetic says:

    The Cliff “Biff Cliszenski” Bleszinski part makes me wonder if I’m not the only one who thinks we should put an end to people constantly doing that, for example “Markus ‘Notch’ Perrson”. We get it already, Notch is an actual person with a real person name.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      To an extent yes, but I’m pretty sure Bleszinski went through stages of “call me Cliffy B” then “stop calling me Cliffy B” and so on, so it’s probably quite fun to wind him up a bit!

      • lijenstina says:

        “That guy that was in Epic and now it isn’t” sounds good :)

    • Aardvarkk says:

      Odd that people take on pseudonyms, I wonder how that all started..

      On a completely unrelated note, I wonder if Hypernetic is an actual person.

      • ankh says:

        Good question. Earthpig. lol

      • Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

        I think Cliffy B was his nickname on Something Awful??

        Anyway, he should be called Yung Clifford now.

  5. Jim Rossignol says:

    There’s going to be a lot of pointless bile in this thread, clearly. And hey, I am not a fan of the Gears Of War games either. But to dismiss the contribution that Bleszinski made with the first three UT games would be foolish. And I say that as a Quake III guy.

    I’ve met Cliff on a number of occasions, and he speaks articulately and enthusiastically about games, and about PC games.

    Back when I reviewed UT2004 he sat and talked to with me about a bunch of game ideas he had that Epic would never likely do, and they were a world away from Gears Of War, or any other shooter. I’m going to be interested to see what he does next.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Without the whole meeting Cliff part I was about to say the same thing.

      Well OK, there was something a little off with UTk3 but it was still fun and whatever it was they had it sorted for UTk4. The original remains one of the few games that actually had me enjoying competitive online multiplayer, which hasn’t really happened since.

    • Drayk says:

      Like what ? Do you remember some ideas he had ?

      I played the 3 GOW games, but i am not too fond of them.

      I liked bulletstorm and Unreal.

      • frightlever says:

        Maybe people forget how great the original Unreal was. I think I’ve re-played it just slightly less than Half Life.

        • Ridnarhtim says:

          Unreal is still my favourite game ever. I’ve probably played it once every 1-2 years since it’s been released. There’s just nothing like it to me, even Half-Life doesn’t come close.

          Still, I can’t think of anything particularly good that’s come from Cliff or Epic since UT2k4.

    • fightclubdoll says:

      Likewise… I can’t imagine we’ve seen and heard the last of Cliffy B. I look forward to seeing where his new path leads. If indeed he’s dreamed of projects of his own that are a departure from Gears and the like, I’d be intrigued to discover what they may be. He is passionate about games and he’s very cozy in the spotlight, so I expect he’ll be announcing plans in the not too distant future. In the meantime, he can enjoy his honeymoon, he is a newly wed after all. A more mature Cliff Bleszinski seems to be emerging.

    • Treff says:

      I first discovered Epic Megagames by way of BBS, where I found Jazz Jackrabbit and Jill of the Jungle. They were quickly forgotten, however, when I discovered the work of iD Software.

      Unreal had its moments, but could not compete with my love for Quake 2 (and Half-Life). Unreal Tournament was strongly overshadowed by Quake 3. That said, it was always “Number 2″, and a lot of the people I played with got very interested in UT. I fondly remember the Redeemer.

      I have always had respect for the polish and balance that Epic Games achieves, both in design and technology. Gears of War was a great title, with super-polished cover and multiplayer. More importantly, nothing could compete with UnrealEngine3 for many years.

      Overseeing all design for a company the size of Epic is a big job, and I’m sure a lot of his time would have been spent on coordination and oversight, rather than getting to drive a particular creative agenda. Being in charge takes a lot of energy and time, and rarely leaves much in the tank for personal creative projects. I look forward to seeing how he spends his new freedom.

    • Alexandros says:

      That was a long time ago Jim. And as Batman’s girlfriend would say, “it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you”.

    • derbefrier says:

      how could you not like gears of war?!!!?? I’l admit I only played the first 2 but I really enjoyed the first one. While it was nothing groundbreaking it was an extremely well polished game and still probably the best use of a cover system I had ever had the pleasure of using. I remember buying it with a buddy not knowing anything about it. 8 hours later we had beat it exclusively playing in co-op. Gears of War is still on of the best co-op experiences out there. Too bad it never came to PC though it could have been incredible as a PC exclusive. sorry for the fanboy rant :P Just have a lot of good memories with the series.

      • Ragnar says:

        It did come to PC, just a year after it debuted on Xbox. The PC version also seemed to receive little or no advertising, which is why I only learned of a PC version 2-3 years after it’s release (and only because my house-mate told me about it).

        • therealspratt says:

          Yeah People Can Fly did that port, had a bit of extra content filling in a storyline gap.

          Oh for the days when Microsoft would actually put games on the PC!

    • The Random One says:

      So do you think he left to join 22 Cans?

    • Freud says:

      He was a very good level designer for Unreal and Unreal Tournament before he became Executive Dudebroducer for Gears of War.

  6. Paul says:

    Lately Cliff was speaking a lot about how he would like to make more open and systemic games as opposed to scripted shooters…I would not be surprised at all if he went on few months vacation and then announced new startup studio with the goal of making those. I guess even being Design Director does not give one enough power to push through projects of their own desire.

  7. Dowr says:

    I’m glad CliffyB left Epic.

    After Gears of War, I feel the company went downhill and was just holding him back; he has shown potential in the past and now I wish the best for him.

    • f1x says:

      Unless Fortnite sucks, everything they released lately was quite good to be honest,
      included Bulletstorm (actually from people can fly)

  8. Uglycat says:

    I shall miss his loud shirts.

    And catscan.com.

  9. Chubzdoomer says:

    Cliffy — or at least his company — hasn’t done a goddamned thing for PC gaming since the days of Unreal Tournament 2004. That was nearly ten years ago.

    • merc-ai says:

      Aside from having the Unreal Engine used by many awesome games. Oh, and its free version (UDK) used by range of indie titles.
      But yeah keep on hating

      • fish99 says:

        Yep UDK is awesome and the rates are very reasonable for indies.

  10. Alexandros says:

    Lest we forget, this is Cliff “PC Gaming is in disarray” Bleszinski we’re talking about. It’s kind of hard to feel sad about this.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Cliff “oh shit, PC is still alive, and I have to work with it again, I’m outta here!” Blezinski

    • Unaco says:

      That was a long time ago Jim Alexandros. And as Batman’s girlfriend would say, “it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you”.

  11. SquareWheel says:

    “I literally grew up in this business”

    He is a plant.

    • roryok says:

      him growing up in the games industry (specifically epic) probably explains a lot about how childish he is.

      also plant is a great insult

  12. Hoaxfish says:

    On a similar note… another one dropped out of Bioware as well: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-10-04-creative-director-departs-bioware (though he seems to have only been involved with SWTOR, and came in from another branch of EA)

    • reggiep says:

      So, some guy that no one cares about that only worked on one game that no one cares about left Bioware? OK. Thanks?

  13. Sinkytown says:

    Gears of War was the best game last decade. Godspeed Cliff!

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      really?

    • Premium User Badge

      Stellar Duck says:

      Gears of War is certainly entertaining, in it’s own rather simplistic way but the best game of the last decade?

      The decade that includes Deus Ex, Baldur’s Gate 2, Rome: Total War, STALKER, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory and Beyond Good and Evil. Better than those? No, it’s not.

      • Sinkytown says:

        I believe Gears of War to be a more thoughtfully designed piece of entertainment than any you have listed.

        • fish99 says:

          Gears is a fun game, but it’s shallow and linear compared to a game like Stalker SoC. I would also rate Demon Souls and Dark Souls, and probably the whole Uncharted series as better and more important than Gears. Actually come to think of it Half Life 2 + EP1 + EP2 were in the last decade too, and again I rate them above Gears. Same thing with Far Cry and Crysis. GTA4 too. Bastion. Trine. Braid. Civ 4. Portal 1+2. Fallout 3, New Vegas, Oblivion.

          Of course it’s all just opinions.

          • Sinkytown says:

            Shit, Half Life 2 was pretty great! I’ll concede that one.

            Gears isn’t ‘shallow’, it is ‘focused’. It takes its few simple mechanics, refines them to razor sharpness, and lets the ‘depth’ emerge from their application (i.e. level design). It isn’t ‘linear’ in any meaningful sense, either. The game gives the player total freedom to decide how best to shoot the hell out of stuff.

          • fish99 says:

            Linear as in level design. Also a polished simple game is still simple.

            Look we’re not going to agree here, but every one of those games I listed are superior to Gears in multiple ways *IMO*. Gears is fun, very fun even, and well refined but that’s about it. It also has a really poor nonsensical story.

          • therealspratt says:

            I would agree that Gears is indeed one of the best polished games of the last decade but not the implication that polished==best.

      • Jenks says:

        Gears of War isn’t my absolute favorite game of the last decade, but it’s certainly more highly decorated than every game you listed.

    • Yosharian says:

      Hahaha

    • zeroskill says:

      Gears of War was a really good game…..on consoles. The PC port was embarrassing especially for Epic Games who should know how to make games for PC. Throw GFWL on top of that and you got a huge disappointment.

      Also, the fact that Gears of War was good is because it was basically a People Can Fly game.

      • Jenks says:

        AFAIK People Can Fly didn’t have anything to do with developing GoW, they just ported it to the PC, which you said was embarassing.

        • zeroskill says:

          I was pretty sure People Can Fly helped develop the game, since it felt like a People Can Fly game to me. So I guess i’m wrong there. I only ever played the PC version which I had to buy twice so GFWL would acknowledge that I am a legit customer and let me play online.

          The PC port was careless and rushed and without any love, which is wierd, since People Can Fly care for the PC (or at least they used to).

  14. Radiant says:

    RIP Catscan.com

    NEVER FORGET

  15. Badgercommander says:

    If you don’t know anything about the guy then instead of pointlessly stating that here, go and listen to him and Ken Levine have a good old chin wag:
    http://irrationalgames.com/insider/irrational-interviews-episode-4/

    • Yosharian says:

      Some of the things they’re talking about there are exactly what I hate about the industry’s attitude. ‘We have to sell games’. No, you have to make good games and let the games do the selling.

  16. rocketman71 says:

    10 years ago, I would have been sad.

    After the last 10 years I can only say: GOOD RIDDANCE.

    Perhaps there’s a tiny bit of hope for Epic after all.

  17. merc-ai says:

    Why is it that whenever Epics are mentioned, half of the comments turn into a sea of ignorance and childish remarks?

    I understand that it’s easy to knee-jerk and stay butthurt on some stupid phrase said years ago*, but come on guys! Is this the response you give to company that created tech many of our favorite games are built upon (Unreal Engine), the company that supported modding scene (MSUC) and now indie development (UDK)? That’s just uncool.

    *saying PC is dead is almost always stupid, except special context cases.
    **I don’t like Cliff as a person, though.

  18. BobsLawnService says:

    This reads more like a eulogy than anything else. Do we really need this sort of thing. He is certainly a competent designer and he has been around forever but this is all a bit over the top.

    Must be a slow news day.

  19. SpaceAkers says:

    UT99 is perhaps my all-time favorite multiplayer shooter. And that says a lot as it’s probably my most played genre, but it had so much wackiness!

    4-team Deck16 Instagib, Crazy assault maps. Asymmetrical CTF maps. Translocater madness. Endless mutators / mods. The awesome rocket launcher / grenade launcher combo gun. The biogun. The Flak Cannon. The shock rifle…IT REALLY WAS ALL JUST SO GREAT THANKS CLIFFYB AND TIM SWEENEY AND WHOEVER ELSE!

    UT2k4 was also dope and Gears of War is probably the best cover-based TPS (never played the sequels), so Mr Cliffy is alright in my book!

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Not to forget when it’s all going wrong and you just decide to run around like a madman with the impact hammer. Sure more often than not you’ll get killed before you reach anyone but when all you have to do is touch them you could soon rack up a few good scalps!

      • pepper says:

        Aaaah DM-Deck16, how I love thy! I had a most unexpected victory on that map on a LAN party where UT99 got brought out. Some of the guys there played it in a clan for a long long time, so I was a bit of a underdog. During warm up it became clear that it was going to be tough.

        So, last man standing, deck16 and suddenly I realize im still alive, and the best UT player in the room is also, so now it has turned in a game of manhunt. He shoots me, I shoot him, and we both go down in lives as much. Then the timer runs out and he wins for having one life more.

        Good memorys…

    • crinkles esq. says:

      Yes, the first Unreal Tournament is my favorite first-person shooter. Hands down, it had perfect gameplay, and even games on good public servers were a blast (I ran one for a while). I spent so much time in this game…joined a clan, we got up to 2nd place in the rankings briefly. Then I got into level editing and I met Cliffy in IRC. Ended up playing Quake 3 with him. Real nice guy, wasn’t arrogant at all. I don’t really like where Epic took UT later on, and definitely not the whole Gears series, but I have much respect for his contributions on UT.

      People also forget about the Unreal single-player game. I still think it’s one of the best single-player FPS games ever. I’m sure if I went back and played it now it would seem pretty low-res, but at the time it was very innovative in its tech and how that was utilized, and an amazing tour de force of level design.

      • HilariousCow says:

        When I was 17 I met CliffyB in IRC.

        I sent him a PM saying “I want to be a designer when I grow up”.

        He just said “Hahaha”

        And then “Oh wait… you’re serious?”

        And then logged off. I was sad for a bit and then dedicated my life toward proving to him that I had what it takes/getting him fired, which ever one came first.

        Now, 14 years later, my metacritic rating is 68%. Who is the one who is laughing now?

        (Yep, still him).

    • Prime says:

      4-team Deck16 Instagib, Crazy assault maps. Asymmetrical CTF maps. Translocater madness. Endless mutators / mods. The awesome rocket launcher / grenade launcher combo gun. The biogun. The Flak Cannon. The shock rifle…IT REALLY WAS ALL JUST SO GREAT THANKS CLIFFYB AND TIM SWEENEY AND WHOEVER ELSE!

      I adore UT99.. It honestly angered me more and more that the series moved away from everything this fabulous game got right – customisation up the wazoo – and instead took all that away from you in an attempt to become some kind of crass, personality-led American TV sports show that absolutely no-one wanted or asked for.

      Back when I worked in Bars dealing with large volumes of really irritating customers, it used to be cathartic to come home, fire up UT99, and play an Instagib level of Morpheus (one of my all-time favourite maps. Such genius). Purists preferred Quake, getting their brows all furrowed about level flow and movement physics (Looking at you, Mr Rossignol…) but for me UT was just such fun.

      I also loved how customisable it was. The bot lists could be endlessly modded. Red vs Blue meant absolutely nothing. Boys vs Girls…now that meant something! You could name every Bot character yourself, too. Within weeks I had fully customised bot lists of my friends, family and co-workers, each with new skins and in some cases new models as was appropriate to them. How much more satisfying it was to play a game of the Assassins mod when the targets being assigned, ‘Hunter’ and ‘Target’, were people you knew, who had an at-a-glance recognisable look that you had chosen for them! Friends vs Co-workers became one of my favourite setups. Take that, deeply stupid boss of mine! IN YOUR DEEPLY STUPID FACE!

      At one point someone had even made a couple dozen Transformers models for the game. I vividly recall a session of Team Deathmatch where suddenly I was defending my team’s position against the one and only Megatron, who had switched his trademark Fusion Cannon for the delights of the Flak Cannon! Then, out of nowhere, I hear a minigun clattering away to my right. I turn and there’s Jazz, legendary Autobot hero, helping me defend against the incoming evil. For a Transformers nut like me this was one of the very special moments of my gaming life, to fight with the characters I loved so much.

      Incidentally, Mods and mutators for this game were the ones that taught me, back in my formative PC Gamers years, of the power of modding, being able to alter a retail gaming experience in any way it chose. Dark Magic, Assassins, Chaos, Agent X….I’m half-tempted to fire these up again. I bet they stand out so well even today.

      Thank you, Mr Blezinski, for everything you gave gaming and for your part in UT99 in particular. If you never come back to Gaming know that we are infinitely richer for your contributions.

      (TL:DR – I love UT99 very very much.)

  20. jellydonut says:

    I still remember his vile comments against PC gaming.

    I’m sure Epic, and the community, will do fine without him.

    • Unaco says:

      What, exactly, was vile about what he said about PC Gaming? I know he dismissed the PC… at the time there were bigger audiences for AAA games on the console, and more sales on them, and the new generation of console hardware was showing itself well. But is that really ‘vile’?

      • NeuralNet says:

        Yes it was, because it took a huge dump on the fan base that made Epic successful in the first place.

        • Unaco says:

          How, exactly, did it ‘take a dump’ on people?

          He talked about the economics, with bigger audiences for AAA games on consoles, and that PC seemed to be shifting away from that type of game. Which part of his comments ‘took a dump’ on people?

          • sinister agent says:

            You don’t understand. There are two tribes – one who have PCs and play games exclusively on them, and the other who have consoles and play games exclusively on them. These tribes are polar opposites and are engaged in an eternal war. Anyone who shows anything short of slavish devotion to one tribe must be loyal to the other, and therefore the enemy. You are a PC gamer or a console gamer. There are no other possibilities, nor can there ever be.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Are there jets of flame in industrial or post-industrial landscape? I sure hope so!

    • Ragnar says:

      When you say that, I picture you coming up to Cliff B on the street and saying,
      “My name is Jelly Donut. Your comments 6 years ago killed PC gaming. Prepare to die!”

  21. Bobby Oxygen says:

    After watching the latest Bonus Round with him, Tim Schafer and Mikey-something-or-other over on Gametrailers, I got the impression that he wasn’t too happy with the current state of AAA games, with all their linearity and excessive handholding. I’d love to see him get to work on something that breaks with all those annoying design tropes, so I’ll wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.

  22. Unaco says:

    All the best to him, I say, with whatever he chooses to do next.

  23. pakoito says:

    Industry needs more earrings.

  24. Risingson says:

    He’s so cute in that picture!

    /me leaves after that deep thought

  25. Persus-9 says:

    Good for him, I say. Sounds like a bit of a midlife crisis but in some ways he’d be a right boring sod if he had been completely content to keep himself chained to the same desk at Epic his entire career. He might as well exploit the freedom his success has bought him and take a break. If he misses it he can come back, if he doesn’t then he’s probably made an excellent personal choice.

  26. Calabi says:

    This is kind of a strange trend, do other industries burn out their people as much as the game industry does?

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I get the impression that software development in general has a pretty high burnout rate.

      • sinister agent says:

        Aye, everything I’ve read suggests this. He’s one of the lucky ones who’s made enough of a name for himself to get out, hopefully before it’s got to him.

  27. Yosharian says:

    Gears of War 1 had some good multiplayer… apart from that, not sure why Epic or this guy are relevant at the moment. Sure, they’ve been putting out some good engines… so what. If we’re going to throw stones at the industry, Epic and Cliffy B are part of the problem, not the solution.

    • Unaco says:

      What problem?

      • dE says:

        Mostly these problems (a popular quote, supposedly from CliffyB)
        “A beta is like hooking up with a girl just to say, ‘Yeah, I fucked her,’” he said. “I know that sounds crude, but it’s the honest-to-God truth. Once you play a beta, you can check it off your list – you can say, “Yeah, I played it.” Then you might not feel motivated to get that initial cherry popping from the proper, final game.”

        or

        “Forget 40 virgins, they should promise those terrorist idiots Katy Perry naked on a cloud.”
        https://twitter.com/therealcliffyb/status/22185042220

        Searching Google for CliffyB Quotes is a fun pastime for an evening or two. You just keep digging up these kinds of statements. The guy is a goldmine for comments like these and with an attitude like that and the strong focus of epic games on bro culture, it would be easy to dismiss him as a bit of a sexist douche. I don’t care either way, it’s just one guy – but whenever people get up in arms about “girlfriend mode”, I always feel compelled to point them CliffyBs way. Just for giggles.

    • Yosharian says:

      Perhaps I was a bit harsh including Cliffy in that paragraph, I guess he’s a talented guy, I can’t really judge him for Epic’s recently poor output.

  28. Premium User Badge

    Gabbo says:

    I was hoping he’d give his own twist to the modern platformer by way of a green, armed to the teeth rabbit. All in good time I suppose. Come back to us Cliffy, one day.

  29. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Hard to believe he’s been working on games for 20 years and he looks like that! I guess the photo can’t be that old or he wouldn’t be holding a GoW chainsaw gun.
    (I don’t think that’s how you should hold it, Clifford.)

    Hope I can age half as well.

  30. ocelot113 says:

    That’s good for him. Everyone needs time to reset. Usually a good break rejuvenates people with all kinds of creative juices and a reminder of why they got into the field they did in the first place.

    IMO he will be back and better than ever when he does.

    GL, Bleszinski and enjoy your time away.

  31. deadly.by.design says:

    This just in —

    Cliffy B to kickstart a vaguely-described, isometric “old school RPG” that will run on the Quake 2 engine.

  32. Randomer says:

    I didn’t realize that Molyneux left Lionhead. Good riddance. No matter how good the Dungeon Keeper games were, I can’t forgive him for his involvement with the Fable series.

  33. Ultra-Humanite says:

    I can only hope that this is permanent. Seriously, good riddance.

  34. sinister agent says:

    Good lord. You’d think the person who designed the chainsaw rifle would know better than to hold it like that.

  35. Text_Fish says:

    I’m a PC gamer so I care as much about CliffyB as he cares about me.

  36. Aaeron says:

    Damn that guy is hot.

  37. elnalter says:

    he’s like dane cook, only slightly less annoying. can’t say i’m going to miss his anti-pc douchebaggery. hope wherever he’s vacationing to experiences a large scale natural disaster. it’s great when the villains get whats comin

    • Premium User Badge

      lowprices says:

      Did you really just wish death on a man because he isn’t commited to your gaming platform of choice? How classy.

      • elnalter says:

        yup, and there isn’t a thing you can do about it, white knight.

        • Chris D says:

          No, I suppose you’re right. Much as we’d like to hope that one day you’ll grow into an emotionally mature individual, capable of recognising differences of opinion and responding productively, sadly it seems more likely that you’re doomed to spend the rest of your days spewing warmed-over insults and bile in a vain attempt to mask your crippling sense of inadequacy.

  38. grellanl says:

    The original Unreal was awesome. And inspired me (and many others) to purchase a Voodoo 2. That wide open alien world!

    Also, I really loved Bulletstorm, not sure why it didn’t do better, sales-wise. Although I guess CliffyB was more a figurehead for that one, rather than being involved in the project per se.