Cliff Bleszinski has left Epic Games, according to a post on the studio's website and confirmed via Bleszinski's Twitter account. Bleszinski, who has been with Epic for over 20 years, from Jazz Jackrabbit through Gears of War, appears to taking a "break" as opposed to working for another company or retiring. The position he officially leaves at epic is titled Design Director.
A portion of Bleszinski's note to his fellow co-workers was made publically available:
I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop. 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.
If or when Bleszinski will return to the industry is anyone's best guess, though considering how much time he has invested into making games it's doubtful he'll stay away for long. Bleszinski himself has shown weariness on a number of occasions at his life on the road, both as a face of Epic and of his role as producer instead of creative design. Pehaps his departure is akin to Inafune's from Capcom.
Hopefully we'll hear more on Bleszinkski's plans for the future soon, and considering his addiction to Twitter it's doubtful he'll stay silent long.