Cliff Bleszinski

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Cliff Bleszinski
CliffyB at GDC 2016 (25846174186) (cropped).jpg
Bleszinski presenting at the 2016 Game Developers Conference
Born 1975 (age 42–43)[1]
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.[1]
Residence Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.[2]
Other names CliffyB, Dude Huge[3]
Occupation Game designer
Spouse(s)
Lauren Bleszinski (m. 2012)
[4]

Cliff Bleszinski (/bləˈzɪnski/; born 1975), popularly known as CliffyB,[1] is an American video game designer. Former design director for the game development company Epic Games and the co-founder of Boss Key Productions, he is known for his role in the development of the Unreal and Gears of War series.[5]

Career[edit]

His first game was The Palace of Deceit,[6] an adventure title he started at the age of 15.[7][8] Programmed in Visual Basic, its second version came out when he was 16.[8]

Epic Games (1992–2012)[edit]

Bleszinski got his start at Epic Games in 1992, after submitting his next game, Dare to Dream, to the company's CEO, Tim Sweeney.[1][9] Though Dare to Dream did not achieve the success Epic had hoped,[9] it led Bleszinski to work on Jazz Jackrabbit, a platformer co-developed by demoscene coder Arjan Brussee.[9][10] The title, which came out in 1994, became Epic's biggest selling game at the time, earning him enough money to get his first apartment and car.[9][11] It was also around this time that he began working with Sweeney and James Schmalz on what would become Unreal,[12] which received a sequel, Unreal Tournament,[13] and expanded into a series of games.

Bleszinski at the Gears of War event at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 2006

In addition to his work on the Unreal series, Bleszinski served as creative consultant on Rune,[14] and as lead designer on the first three installments of the Gears of War franchise, which has sold over 22 million copies and earned over one billion in revenue as of January 2014.[15] Gears evolved out of the development of what was going to be a game called Unreal Warfare.[16] As Bleszinski explained in a speech at GDC 2007 entitled "Designing Gears of War: Iteration Wins," the game started out as another first-person shooter in the Unreal universe.[17] Over time, however, influenced by the cover mechanic in Namco's 2003 game Kill Switch and the third-person Resident Evil 4, Unreal Warfare became the game known as Gears of War.[18]

After 20 years with the company, Cliff announced his departure from Epic Games on October 3, 2012, saying he had been making video games since he was a teen and wanted to take a break.[19][20] According to a 2015 interview, his original intention was to retire permanently. "It was a combination of gamers feeling jaded, as well as working with some very talented people who were also very jaded," Bleszinski told Destructoid. "I could pitch the most amazing idea to anybody back when I was at Epic toward the end, and they'd be like 'I don't buy it,'" he further added.[21]

Boss Key Productions (2014–2018)[edit]

On June 30, 2014, Cliff announced on Twitter that he was "coming out of retirement to make video games again" and would be unveiling his next project in the next week.[22] The new game, a free-to-play, PC-focused arena shooter code-named BlueStreak, would be published by Nexon and developed by his new studio, Boss Key Productions, which he co-founded with Brussee the same year.[23][24] A year later, Bleszinski revealed that the arena shooter would be called LawBreakers.[25]

Cliff Bleszinski was offered an opportunity to work on the Silent Hill franchise by Hideo Kojima, vice president of Konami Digital Entertainment.[26] "I was flattered but declined," he wrote on Twitter.[26] In May 2016, he joined the board of advisers for Fig, a mixed crowd-funding/investment platform for video games.[27]

On May 14, 2018, Bleszinski announced the dissolution of Boss Key Productions, citing lackluster sales.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Cliff is married to Lauren Bleszinski (née Berggren), a former professional gamer and id Software employee.[29] One of his brothers[a] is Tyler Bleszinski, the founder of Polygon sister site and Vox Media progenitor SB Nation.[30] Their father, who died when Cliff was 15,[31] was an engineer for Polaroid.[1] The nickname "CliffyB" was given to him derogatorily by "some jock kid" when he was a shy teenager; he then took it and developed a tougher persona around it.[1] However, in 2008 he expressed a desire to retire the moniker, saying it's "time to grow up a bit".[32] On April 12, 2010, he appeared on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where he showed the debut trailer for Gears of War 3 and cited Space Invaders as the game that initially inspired him.[33][34]

In 1988, at 13, Cliff appeared in the first issue of Nintendo Power for earning the high score of 9,999,950 in Super Mario Bros.[1][35] Regarding the achievement, in a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone he commented: "That was probably one of the moments when I realized, deep-down and subconsciously, I wanted to be a "name" in this business of video games."[7] He also went to the Nintendo World Championships when he was 15, coming in second in Massachusetts.[36] In 2000, PC Gamer called Bleszinski one of the "Next Game Gods" in its November issue, believing that he would eventually become an "industry legend."[14] Wired magazine awarded him a Rave Award in 2007 for his work on Gears of War.[37]

Bleszinski has opened two bars in Raleigh, North Carolina, one in 2014, called The Station,[2] and another one in 2015, The Raleigh Beer Garden.[38]

Bleszinski stated that he is an atheist.[39]

Credits[edit]

Bleszinski at PAX Prime 2012

Video games[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ His other brother is Greg Bleszinski.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Bissell, Tom (November 3, 2008). "The Grammar of Fun". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Gaudiosi, John (July 22, 2014). "From Gears to Beers: A Video Game Mogul Opens a Restaurant". Men's Journal. Archived from the original on July 27, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (April 8, 2010). "Why We Call Him Dude Huge". Kotaku. Archived from the original on September 17, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ Alexander, Leigh (February 18, 2014). "With new perspective on life and games, Cliff Bleszinski plots next move". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on June 28, 2017. Retrieved July 13, 2017. 
  5. ^ Gaudiosi, John (July 21, 2014). "Interview: Legendary designer Cliff Bleszinski discusses the future of free-to-play shooters". PC World. International Data Group. Archived from the original on October 15, 2014. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Freeman, Will (December 5, 2011). "FAQ: Cliff Bleszinski". Develop. Retrieved July 21, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Suellentrop, Chris (May 22, 2017). "Cliff Bleszinski on 'Lawbreakers', 'Overwatch' and Feeling Like a Disney Princess". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 21, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Cliff Blezinski Reddit AMA (transcript)". September 14, 2012. Archived from the original on February 5, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Edwards, Benj (May 25, 2009). "From The Past To The Future: Tim Sweeney Talks (page 8)". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 21, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Fahs, Travis (January 9, 2009). "...And All That Jazz". IGN. Archived from the original on August 24, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Bleszinski, Cliff. "The Summer That Launched My Career". Control500. Archived from the original on July 6, 2017. Retrieved July 21, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b Keighley, Geoffrey. "Blinded By Reality: The True Story Behind the Creation of Unreal". GameSpot. Archived from the original on May 19, 2001. Retrieved July 22, 2017. 
  13. ^ a b Reinhart, Brandon (June 9, 2000). "Postmortem: Epic Games' Unreal Tournament". Gamasutra. UBM plc. Archived from the original on October 17, 2016. Retrieved October 11, 2016. 
  14. ^ a b c d PC Gamer. "Meet The Next Game Gods". PC Gamer. Vol. 7 no. November 2000. Future plc. pp. 1, 70 & 84. 
  15. ^ Xbox Wire Staff (January 27, 2014). "Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise". Xbox Wire. Archived from the original on September 6, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017. 
  16. ^ Dobson, Jason (March 12, 2007). "Post-GDC: Cliff Bleszinski Says Iteration Won Gears of War". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on January 26, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2016. 
  17. ^ McGarvey, Sterling (March 8, 2007). "Everything You Wanted to Know About Gears of War..." GameSpy. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 6, 2017. 
  18. ^ Thorsen, Tor (March 12, 2007). "GDC 07: Cliffy B disassembles Gears, mentions sequel". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 21, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2017. 
  19. ^ Epic Games (October 3, 2012). "Cliff Bleszinski Departs Epic". Epic Games Community. Epic Games. Archived from the original on October 4, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  20. ^ Makuch, Eddie (October 3, 2012). "Cliff Bleszinski out at Epic Games". GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 26, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  21. ^ Makedonski, Brett (September 1, 2015). "Cliff Bleszinski says he retired because everyone was too jaded". Destructoid. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2017. 
  22. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (June 30, 2014). "Cliff Bleszinski says he's "coming out of retirement"". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on August 2, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2017. 
  23. ^ Campbell, Evan (July 8, 2014). "Gear of War Designer Cliff Bleszinski announces F2P shooter BlueStreak". IGN. Archived from the original on July 27, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  24. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray (July 4, 2014). "Cliff Bleszinski creates Boss Key game studio with Guerrilla Games co-founder". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  25. ^ Webster, Andrew (August 26, 2015). "LawBreakers is the next game from Gears designer Cliff Bleszinski". The Verge. Archived from the original on August 2, 2017. Retrieved August 1, 2017. 
  26. ^ a b Vincent, Brittany (February 16, 2016). "Cliff Bleszinski Turned Down A Chance to Work With Hideo Kojima on Silent Hills". Shacknews. Archived from the original on March 14, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  27. ^ Makuch, Eddie (May 10, 2016). "Gears of War Designer Cliff Bleszinski Invests in New Crowdfunding Site Fig". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 23, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  28. ^ Bleszinski, Cliff. "A statement:". Twitter. Retrieved May 14, 2018. 
  29. ^ Kumpan, Sean (March 12, 2013). "EL337 Level: Interview with Lauren Bleszinski". PS Home Gazette. Archived from the original on 15 March 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  30. ^ Sarkar, Samit (December 11, 2013). "Cliff Bleszinski wants to make a first-person arena shooter on PC". Polygon. Archived from the original on July 31, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2017. 
  31. ^ a b Jones, George. "Keepin' It Unreal". Computer Gaming World. No. 233. Ziff Davis. p. 118. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  32. ^ Totilo, Stephen (May 21, 2008). "'Gears of War' Designer Cliff Bleszinski Done With The 'CliffyB' Moniker". MTV Multiplayer. Archived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2018. 
  33. ^ Butts, Steve (April 12, 2010). "Gears Of War 3 On Jimmy Fallon". IGN. Archived from the original on October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  34. ^ Narcisse, Evan (April 13, 2010). "The Techland Interview: Cliff Bleszinski, Part 1". Time. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  35. ^ Sheffield, Brandon (October 21, 2005). "Gearing Up for Next-Gen: Cliff Bleszinski Chats About The Epic Future". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on July 31, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  36. ^ Berghammer, Billy (August 18, 2004). "AU: The Cliffy B Interview". Game Informer. Archived from the original on August 19, 2004. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  37. ^ Wired (April 24, 2007). "The 2007 Rave Awards". Wired. Archived from the original on August 24, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2017. 
  38. ^ Weigl, Andrea (July 17, 2015). "Raleigh Beer Garden to open Tuesday". The News & Observer. The McClatchy Company. Archived from the original on July 19, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Twitter / therealcliffyb: And I'm not Jewish. I'm an Atheist". Twitter.com. 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  40. ^ "Games: Unreal Tournament 2003". Nvidia. Archived from the original on August 23, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  41. ^ Official Xbox Magazine. "CliffyB Interview" (PDF). Official Xbox Magazine. No. 32. p. 16. Archived from the original on August 2, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
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  44. ^ Brown, David (February 18, 2011). "Bulletstorm developer interview: Cliff Bleszinski". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
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  46. ^ Espineli, Matt; Butterworth, Scott (March 15, 2017). "Cliff Bleszinski Talks Making Medics And Inception-Style Hallways In LawBreakers". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 25, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
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  50. ^ "SAKAGUCHI'S FINAL FANTASY". YouTube. Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
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  56. ^ "The Golden Sins Of Horror Games (The Jimquisition)". YouTube. October 31, 2015. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 
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External links[edit]