What will Cliff Bleszinski do next?

Former Epic Games designer discusses challenges of opening new studio, allure of AAA game development.


Ever since Cliff Bleszinski left Epic Games in October, fans may have wondered what the outspoken industry veteran would do next. He's not saying just yet, though the designer opened up on his career options in a new VentureBeat interview.

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"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."

This is not the first time Bleszinski has spoken of opening his own studio. Last month, he revealed he would like to set up a shop to work on a new intellectual property codenamed Silverstreak. Though this could happen, Bleszinski said working for another studio or being a consultant are also options he is considering.

"At the end of the day, I just want to do something that motivates me, that gets me out of bed. I've been able to be financially successful enough that the only work I have to do is the work that I want to do. It's a fortunate position," he said.

"At the end of the day, I just want to do something that motivates me, that gets me out of bed."

Bleszinski said he is interested in getting back into AAA game development, but noted he hopes to avoid the pitfalls that beset Curt Schilling and John Romero.

"The thing is, 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," he said. "'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."

Asked if he would consider becoming an indie developer and build something on a smaller scale, Bleszinski said the sink-or-swim nature of the indie scene is "beautiful," but he would prefer a more mass-scale endeavor.

"Doing Gears of War, I loved the large-scale aspect of it," he said. "We could leverage Microsoft to get the American Chopper TV special and have big launch events and see our ads on TV during Monday Night Football. That level of relevance comes with being triple-A."

Since leaving Epic Games, Bleszinski has visited the offices of Activision, Zynga, Double Fine, and Electronic Arts. He has also met with God of War and Twisted Metal designer David Jaffe and been courted by Ubisoft.

Bleszinski will give the keynote address at PAX East 2013 in April.

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