Cliff "Cliffy B." Bleszinski is one of the best success stories in the game industry today, starting out with Jazz Jackrabbit and essentially playing part in much bigger franchises, including the Gears of War trilogy.  That's why it was such a shock to hear yesterday that he was leaving the company that he's been with for over 20 years, Epic Games.

He offered no reason for leaving the company, and it doesn't appear to be on any bad terms, merely stating that it was "time for a break".  

“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," Epic Games CEO and Founder Tim Sweeney said in a statement.

Bleszinski's statement in full is below…

"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."

We wish Cliff nothing but the best of success, and a well-deserved rest.