The former Gears of War developer still wants to produce AAA titles.
Cliff Bleszinski's days with Epic Games may be over, but he's not ready to quit the gaming industry just yet. Since his departure, he has been visiting game studio after game studio and occupying his mind with the business side of videogames, from planning out new projects to learning how to manage a business. While Cliffy B has no immediate plans to jump back into game development, he's been giving serious thought to both what kind of game he'd like to make, and what kind of position he'd like to occupy.
"One of the main things I've been considering is opening my own studio," says Bleszinski. The main thing standing in his way, however, is the fact that being a company owner comes with much more emotional responsibility than being a designer. "If you have 150 people that you're responsible for, with their families and their children and all that, that's a lot of weight." In order to become a studio head, Bleszinski would need to learn a whole lot about loans, mortgages, and how business finance works. While he's willing to put the work in to do so, he isn't necessarily married to the idea. "Being an employee of somebody else or being a consultant are also options."
Should Bleszinski start his own studio, he would want to start small, but has no interest in staying that way for too long. "I would want to get back to the triple-A space eventually," he explains. After the immense support Microsoft threw behind Gears of War, Bleszinski grew to enjoy having the budget and prestige necessary for making a game launch a big event. That said, his next AAA project wouldn't necessarily be a retread of his previous work, citing Halo's physics - and the multitude of YouTube videos it spawns - as inspiration. "Moving forward, the type of game I want to build would not be this super-linear Gears or Uncharted type of campaign game. It would be something that's much more free-flowing in regards to the number of systems that work together to create new and emergent gameplay."
Whatever Bleszinski's next project is, he's built up enough of a reputation in the gaming world that a number of people will eagerly invest in it. We know that Gears of War didn't necessarily turn out to be the exact product that Bleszinski wanted, so it will be interesting to see what he develops under his own power.