A post on Epic Games’ official blog has revealed that Cliff Bleszinski, their outspoken and occasionally controversial design director has left the company after 20 years. Bleszinski was perhaps most notable for his work on best-selling franchise Gears of War and first became known for co-designing 1994’s Jazz Jackrabbit.

His departure comes soon after another long-standing Epic employee, Rod Fergusson, left Epic in in August in order to join up with Irrational Games and help finish work on BioShock Infinite. Could it be that Bleszinski in headed in the same direction? Whatever, given his status as one of gaming’s most recognisable faces, it’s almost certain we won’t have long to wait to find out.

The official post on Epic’s site reads:

‘Today we are saying farewell with warm regards to Cliff Bleszinski, who is departing as Epic’s design director to chart the next stage of his career. During the past two decades, Cliff has helped shape many successful games that have captured the imaginations of millions of players around the world. We are grateful for his influence on Epic’s legacy, from the wild adventures Jazz Jackrabbit to the visceral combat of 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’s founder, CEO and 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!’

The same post also reveals Cliff’s personal parting note to his colleagues:

‘I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop. I literally grew up in this business, as Mike likes to say. And now that I’m grown up, it’s time for a much needed break.’

‘I will miss the projects, the playtests, the debates, and most importantly, the people. Epic only hires the best of the best, and it has been a joy working with each and every one of you on a daily basis, whether you were hired weeks ago or decades ago. I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with a variety of disciplines, from code to art to marketing and PR – it’s been one big, rewarding learning experience. I’m confident that each project that is being built, whether at Epic, Chair, PCF, or Impossible will be top notch and will please gamers and critics alike.’