Cliff Bleszinski, the Epic Games design director behind the blockbuster Gears of War franchise, has stepped down from his position after 20 years at the company.
While Epic did not reveal exactly why Bleszinski has stepped down, the company announced on its official blog that he is moving on to begin the "next stage of his career."
While working at Epic, Bleszinski led development on the first three Gears of War titles, helped create the 1990s PC platformer Jazz Jackrabbit, and contributed to many other Epic franchises such as Unreal Tournament, Infinity Blade, and more.
"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 [Epic Games president Mike Capps] likes to say. And now that I’m grown up, it’s time for a much needed break," Bleszinski wrote in a letter to his colleagues.
"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."
Bleszinski first joined Epic (then known as Epic MegaGames) in the early 1990s, and worked on PC games like The Palace of Deceit: Dragon's Plight and Dare to Dream before moving on to create the cult classic Jazz Jackrabbit titles.
When Bleszinski later stepped forward to helm the Gears of War series, he took a much more prominent role at Epic Games, and often served as one of the faces of the company alongside executives Mark Rein and Mike Capps.