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Cliffy B Leaves Epic Games

October 3, 2012

Yep, Rod Fegusson was the first to bounce in favor of Irrational Games (Ken Levine & crew). Then the three core members of People Can Fly flew the coop. Now we have the Design Director, Cliffy B, has decided to take his leave.

What’s really going on in North Carolina? Epic has revenue sharing, a cool studio, and an extremely successful middleware engine that’s widely used in countless current generation games. So why are they experiencing such a high profile exodus? With the upcoming next-gen consoles being unveiled next year, this doesn’t bode well for Epic Games.

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6 Comments
  1. October 3, 2012 4:54 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up, Kenny.

    His official reasons are stated here (via EvAv).

    As he says, he has grown up in the industry, and in Epic Studios in particular. As he is now financially independent, and has led the design of one of the most famous IPs of the past 10 years. It is not a big surprise that he might be looking to do something else, or the same thing elsewhere. Maybe he just wants to have a family and be available to raise his children.

    What this means for Epic, however, is that “The Samaritan” may end up being just a tech demo after all.

    Fortnite is all Epic has announced at this time. With Mark Rein being interested only in money, and Tim Sweeney being only interested in making middleware, game design and IP development will definitely take a back seat at Epic.

  2. October 3, 2012 6:26 pm

    I think it’s actually a good thing. They need fresh blood, people with hunger to prove themselves. It lowers expectations a bit, and hopefully that helps to turn things around. I think Cliffy’s stint didn’t have a sustained foothold in the industry, and by now his status was a lot less stellar than before.

    I don’t see Video Games like other franchises in other media, where one director departure can hugely change things. There’s plenty of people that can step in and follow the template maybe to an even better degree than those that have been doing it too long.

    Plus I don’t think it’s realistic for anyone to expect another big hit from him. Aside from Gears, he really didn’t have big crop of hits. Same thing happened to American McGee.

    That’s not to minimize his great ascension from just another level designer to where he got to in Epic.

    • Blankman permalink*
      October 3, 2012 10:04 pm

      There’s no doubt that other designers will continue to lead their teams because Cliffy’s duties encompassed every game that Epic was & has been working on. In a ways, he was everywhere & nowhere. However, Cliffy was essentially, Epic’s PR man. He was the face of Epic Games. Whether you love him or hate him, he possessed a level of charisma that equated to being a rockstar in the games industry. You can’t simply replace an ego like Cliffy. Now they can’t even turn to the community-friendly Rod Fergusson because he left before Cliffy. You have an extremely unlikeable jerk in Mark Rein & a tech geek that lacks any personality in Tim Sweeney. Epic lost a lot in terms of “image.” Cliffy’s departure is surprisingly shocking.

      BTW: Cliffy was also responsible for Unreal Tournament besides Gears. UT was huge in its day & put Epic on the map. That’s something you can’t simply disregard.

    • October 4, 2012 2:55 pm

      That’s not really a loss for us then. It’s for them. That means there’s a lot less hype and “cool” vidocs which are aimed at the initial sales. One less mouthpiece promising the world, when in turn something basic like weapon balancing goes to crap.

      Plus one less ego to deal with if the initial design flaws need to be fixed.

  3. October 3, 2012 7:05 pm

  4. Average permalink*
    October 4, 2012 6:06 am

    This surprised me, WTF!

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