Gears of War lead designer keeping his options open for next venture

Cliff Bleszinski to return ‘when the dust settles’

Cliff Bleszinski, former designer at Epic Games and outspoken industry personality, has expressed his desire to return to game development, but not before he’s got a sense of where games are going next.

In a frank interview with VentureBeat, Bleszinski explained that he would be interested in starting his own studio, with a particular yearning to return to the grandeur of triple-A development.

“One of the main things I’ve been considering is opening my own studio,” Bleszinski said. “But the complication to that is, heavy is the head that wears the crown. If you have 150 people that you’re responsible for, with their families and their children and all that, that’s a lot of weight. The company depends on you.”

However, Bleszinski went on to express his reservations about starting a studio, which included being responsible for hundreds of staff, as well as navigating the tricky changes the industry is currently going through.

“I would want to get back to the triple-A space eventually, but the last thing I would want to do – and no offense meant to Curt Schilling [38 Studios] and John Romero [Ion Storm] – Is to do what those guys did. ‘Let’s throw 300 bodies at it! Sure, we’ll just make it work!’ That’s the equivalent of taking a garage band and having them play Wembley Stadium on day one. You have to learn how to work with people,” he added.

“If you look at the state of the industry, the industry’s in a state of massive flux. Do you go triple-A? Do you go indie? Do you go console? Do you go PC? Do you go tablet? Do you go phone? That’s where I am – looking at all of my options.

“The beauty of it all is that I can sit back and wait for the dust to settle a little bit over the next year or so, with all the next-generation consoles and everything else coming out, before I make a proper commitment to a possible publishing partner.”

This is not the first interview where Bleszinski has hinted at starting his own studio. He previously spoke to G4TV, where he also teased a possible new IP he is said to be working on. In VentureBeat’s interview, Bleszinski said he has been noting down game ideas, as well as spending some time visiting other game studios, such as Zynga and Double Fine. But his holiday snaps also give the impression that the veteran developer is taking it easy.

In addition, Bleszinski said he would need to surround himself with his “Avengers”, his choice producer, president and programmer, in order to make his creative vision a reality.

Elsewhere in the interview, the game designer discussed his outgoing personality and his stint going by the name of the, now, infamous ‘Cliffy B’, which has made him something of a celebrity.

Bleszinski left Epic Games last year after spending almost 20 years at the studio, where he worked on titles including Gears of War, Unreal Tournament and Jazz Jackrabbit.

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