Games industry luminary and Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski has left Epic Games.
Bleszinski, also affectionately known as Cliffy B, has been in development for 20 years creating hit titles such as Jazz Jackrabbit and one of Xbox's flagship franchises, Gears of War.
He said he had now decided to leave the studio to take a "much needed break".
No further information was given on his departure, or what his next venture may be.
"I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop," said Bleszinski.
"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."
Epic president Michael Capps said he was grateful for all of Bleszinski's hard work at the studio and his passion for creating games "of the highest quality".
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney added: "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.
"Cliff leaves Epic with our gratitude for his many contributions, and our wishes for continued success in the next chapter of his life."
Studio VP Mark Rein also said: “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 benefitted greatly from his passion for gaming and the depth of his expertise and experience.
“I’ll miss watching his star shine from such a close vantage point but I’ll still look forward to watching his continued success."
Cliff Bleszinski has worked for Epic since the age of 17. His first game was 1991 Windows adventure game The Palace of Deceit: Dragon's Plight. The game proved such a hit after he sent it to Epic that they offered him the chance to work on another title, Dare to Dream, which was released in 1993.
Since then, Cliffy B has worked on a number of big hits at Epic including Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal and later on creating the studio's hit franchise Gears of War, which has since spawned two sequels, with a prequel, Gears of War: Judgment, also in the works for release next year.
In total, Bleszinski is credited with work on at least 27 titles. His full list of games credits are listed below:
The Palace of Deceit: the Dragon's Plight - 1992
Dare to Dream Volume One: In a Darkened Room - 1993
Jazz Jackrabbit - 1994
Tyrian - 1995
Jazz Jackrabbit: Holiday Hare - 1995
Unreal - 1998
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 - 1998
Unreal Tournament - 1999
Tyrian 2000 - 1999
Jazz Jackrabbit 2: The Secret Files - 1999
Unreal Tournament 2003 - 2002
Unreal Championship - 2002
Jazz Jackrabbit - 2002
Unreal II: The Awakening - 2003
Devastation - 2003
Unreal Tournament 2004 - 2004
Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict - 2005
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 - 2005
Gears of War - 2006
Unreal Tournament III - 2007
Gears of War 2 - 2008
Shadow Complex - 2009
Fat Princess - 2009
Lost Planet 2 - 2010
Bulletstorm - 2011
Gears of War 3 - 2011
Gears of War: Judgment - 2013