“I may one day dip my toe back into the biz, ever so slowly and cautiously,” says Cliff Bleszinski.
Cliff Bleszinski, who rose to gaming celebrity status as the lead designer of Gears of War, has put up a reflective, but optimistic Facebook post based on the memoirs he’s actively writing.
Bleszinski worked at Epic Games from 1992 to 2012 and then co-founded Boss Key Productions in 2014. His time as CEO proved difficult, however, with Lawbreakers “failing to gain traction” and their battle royale effort, Radical Heights, “too little too late” to keep the studio afloat. Boss Key Productions closed in 2018, and in a Twitter exchange with a Lawbreakers player disgruntled that there would be no refunds, Bleszinski swore off making another game:
“I get you’re sad, but god, this kinda shit is another reason I am NEVER making another game.”
When GamesIndustry.biz asked him how seriously people should interpret the tweet, he replied, “I’m done.”
It seems Bleszinski has had a change of heart whilst writing his memoirs, however, saying: “I am finding myself actually having a slight itch to scratch to maybe poke around and see about making a little game.”
The inspiration for the change of heart? The wild success 2020 has shown to the indie mega-hits this year, apparently.
“…the success of Fall Guys and Among Us give me hope that not everything needs to be insane AAA that requires crazy crunch that ruins families and mental health on a 100m budget.”
He also says he’s “madly in love” with the fabulous The Touryst and its art style. (I can only concur.) He recalls, “when Minecraft blew up when I was at Epic… we were all befuddled by its success because the graphics were so simple.”
He concludes on an optimistic note:
“Games like these give me hope that I may one day dip my toe back into the biz, ever so slowly and cautiously.”
Can we expect a more indie-esque venture from the veteran designer, celebrity and entrepreneur? It would certainly be interesting to see a designer once at the forefront of mainstream triple-A development downscaling to address the unsustainability of the triple-A (or now quadruple-A) model. Here’s hoping he doesn’t fall prey to survivorship bias, however. For every unexpected (and delayed) success like Among Us, there are thousands of games that could have taken off but don’t.