When Cliff Bleszinski announced his imminent departure from Epic Games, many figured the former Design Director had a new project or studio already brewing. As it turns out, however, Bleszinski was instead ready to take some time off from games, and enjoy life for a little bit before jumping back into the daily grind.
Now, Bleszinski is, little by little, teasing his latest endeavor, focusing mostly on grand ideas without giving too much away. But, in a recent interview, Bleszinski revealed where he expects he’ll end up, and what types of games he’d like to make.
In an interview with Gamasutra, Bleszinski shares a lot of his history as a developer, specifically his work on the hugely popular Gears of War franchise. As Bleszinski reveals, Gears of War was not originally envisioned as the dude-bro shooter that it became. Rather, the team at Epic Games hoped to craft something akin to Band of Brothers, only with giant lizard men.
However, things didn’t work out as planned, but Gears of War still went on to become a massive hit. And the emotionally resonant stuff still shines through, just not on the level that Epic Games might have been hoping for.
That isn’t to say Bleszinski left Epic for those reasons, only to shed some light on his original vision for the game. Now, that vision has changed, as has the games industry as a whole, but Bleszinski is prepared to respond that change.
For starters, Bleszinski is ready to embrace the YouTube and Let’s Play generation. He believes that the most successful titles are those with strong communities, who share experiences through all forms of social media. Games like Rust, for example, where the discovery and the sharing of ideas are equally as, if not more fun, than the actual playing of the game.
“Your game is as good as how many YouTube videos it can yield. My wife and I are totally hooked on Rust right now. It’s not about the ‘new user experience’; in these games the new user experience is utter shit, and it’s okay. There are two lessons people have not learned from Minecraft: Get the game out there and build it. Some kid will put out a video. Players will teach each other. You don’t need the ‘press A to jump.'”
The former Design Director also greatly doubts that he’ll work on any platform besides the PC. He wouldn’t rule out the Xbox One or PS4, mind you, but cites the success and growth of indie titles as a key appeal of that platform.
“PC is where I’m going to wind up. That’s where the community is. The trend will always be the core. If I start a studio, I want a community manager there day one. I want weekly video or podcasts; I want task lists available on the subreddit.
And finally, no more discs for Cliff Bleszinski. The dev says that he will never work on a disc-based game again, further proof that the PC is his preferred platform.
Strangely, Bleszinski’s comments about the games industry’s future, and how it factors into his plans, mirror those of Irrational Games’ Ken Levine, who today announced that developer Irrational Games will be winding down considerably. Both Bleszinski and Levine can clearly see the writing is on the wall, more so than those who are in front of the curtain, and are willing to adapt as a result.
What do you make of Cliff Bleszinski’s approach to his future project? What type of game would you like to see him make?