We've recently learned that Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski has left the company following 20 years of service. Bleszinski has been in the gaming industry since he was a teenager and simply said it was time for a much needed break. He was responsible for a number of key titles that include Gears of War, Jazz Jackrabbit and Unreal.  

Bleszinski said in a personal note to colleagues that he will miss the projects, the playtests, the debates and the people at Epic Games the most. He's thankful for his time with the company and the opportunity to have met and worked with people spanning virtually every job position.

Vice president of Epic Games Mark Rein said he was sad to see Bleszinski move on but knows that everyone has benefitted greatly from his passion for gaming and the depth of his experience and expertise. Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney echoed those sentiments, pointing out that his contributions to Unreal and Gears of War helped shape the gaming industry into what it is today. He said everyone at Epic wishes him continued success in the next chapter of his life.

It's unclear at this hour what Bleszinski's plans are for the next stage of his career. Based on the tone of his memo, it's hard to believe that he would have taken a job with another developer nor do we think he will start his own development studio in the near future. He's still young though and likely has a lot left to offer the gaming industry when (or if) he decides to return.