Gears 5 Multiplayer Director Leaves Due To "Personal Issues"

The six years that Ryan Cleven spent at The Coalition took a toll on him. "I can't continue to work the way that I have."

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Gears 5 multiplayer design director Ryan Cleven has announced he's leaving Gears developer The Coalition to go on a sabbatical after what he described as six years that took a toll on him.

Writing on Twitter, Cleven said he's enjoyed his time at The Coalition but he has chosen to leave due to "personal issues" and the toll that his time at the studio took on him.

"The last six years have been amazing. Gears 4 and 5 have been the highlight of my development career, but those six years have also taken a toll," Cleven said. "Due to personal issues, I can't continue to work the way that I have. I need to [take] time for myself."

Cleven said that after The Coalition studio boss Rod Fergusson quit to work on Diablo 4 at Blizzard, he took a step back to think about if he, too, wanted to move on. "With the departure of my mentor, Rod Fergusson, it's given me an opportunity to reevaluate my priorities. While I will forever miss Gears, it's time to pass the torch," he said.

Cleven said he will "return" after his sabbatical, but it won't be to work on the Gears franchise. In fact, he didn't even say he plans to return to games at all.

Cleven leaves The Coalition following the release of Gears 5's new Gridiron update, which he said is his favorite Gears experience to date. It includes new characters and extensive tuning updates; check out the full patch notes here.

The next Gears game is the XCOM-style strategy game Gears Tactics, which launches on April 28 for PC (and eventually for Xbox One). For lots more, check out GameSpot's interview with the developers covering the story, microtransactions, PC requirements, the impact of COVID-19, and more.

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