"I've been doing this since I was a teenager, and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop," Bleszinski said in a letter to colleagues, a selection of which Epic posted on its website. "I literally grew up in this business, as Mike [Capps] likes to say. And now that I'm grown up, it's time for a much needed break."
Neither Bleszinski nor Epic said what the next step would be; Epic refers only to his plan "to chart the next stage of his career." While at Epic, Bleszinski designed games ranging from the Jazz Jackrabbit series, to Unreal, to Gears of War.
"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," said Epic technical director Tim Sweeney. "Cliff leaves Epic with our gratitude for his many contributions, and our wishes for continued success in the next chapter of his life!"
Note: An original version of this story incorrectly stated that Bleszinski was a co-founder of Epic Games. This error has been edited and we apologize for the confusion.