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Cliff Bleszinski (formerly known as Cliffy B or CliffB) is a game developer known for his stint as a lead level designer and later game designer for Epic Games, playing a key role in the development of both the Unreal and Gears of War franchises.[4] He's also the founder of his own studio, Boss Key Productions.

Bio Edit

Clifford was born in 1975 and lived in Andover, Massachusetts before moving to La Verne, California at the age of 15. During his time in La Verne he released his first title, called The Palace of Deceit: Dragon's Plight (1991), an adventure title he started at the age of 15, through his self-owned company Game Syndicate Productions.[5][6][7] Programmed in Visual Basic, its second version came out when he was 16.[7]

He then sent his next game, Dare to Dream (1993), to Tim Sweeney, then CEO of the then-named Epic Megagames.[2][8] Despite the game not achieving the expected success, Bleszinski then went on to work on Jazz Jackrabbit, a platformer co-developed by demoscene coder Arjan Brussee.[8][9] The title, which came out in 1994, became Epic's biggest selling game at the time, earning him enough money to get his first apartment and car.[8][10]

He has been with the company since, working as the lead designer for several franchises such as Jazz Rackrabbit and especially Unreal and Gears of War. Cliff got less involved with Unreal's later installments (such as Unreal II, UT2004 and UT3) and instead worked as the lead designer for the Gears Of War franchise.

In addition to his work on the Unreal series, Bleszinski served as creative consultant on Rune[11], and as lead designer on the first three installments of the Gears of War franchise.[12] Gears... evolved out of the development of what was going to be a game called Unreal Warfare.[13] As Bleszinski explained in a speech at GDC 2007 entitled "Designing Gears of War: Iteration Wins", the game started out as another first-person shooter in the Unreal universe.[14] Over time, however, influenced by the cover mechanic in Namco's 2003 game Kill Switch and the third-person Resident Evil 4, Unreal Warfare became the game known as Gears of War.[15]

On April 12, 2010, he appeared on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where he showed the debut trailer for Gears of War 3 and cited Space Invaders as the game that initially inspired him.[16][17]

After 20 years, Cliff announced his departure from Epic Games on October 3, 2012, saying he had been making video games since he was a teen and wanted to take a break.[18][19] According to a 2015 interview, his original intention was to retire permanently:

"It was a combination of gamers feeling jaded, as well as working with some very talented people who were also very jaded (...) I could pitch the most amazing idea to anybody back when I was at Epic toward the end, and they'd be like 'I don't buy it'"
- Cliff Bleszinski[20]

On June 30, 2014, Cliff announced on Twitter that he was "coming out of retirement to make video games again" and would be unveiling his next project in the next week.[21] The new game, a free-to-play, PC-focused arena shooter code-named BlueStreak, would be published by Nexon and developed by his new studio, Boss Key Productions, which he co-founded with Brussee the same year.[22][23] A year later, Bleszinski revealed that the arena shooter would be called LawBreakers.[24]

Cliff Bleszinski was offered an opportunity to work on the Silent Hill franchise by Hideo Kojima, vice president of Konami Digital Entertainment. "I was flattered but declined", he wrote on Twitter.[25] In May 2016, he joined the board of advisers for Fig, a mixed crowd-funding/investment platform for video games.[26]

Involvement with the Unreal series Edit

Around the time of Jazz Jackrabbit, he teamed up with Sweeney and James Schmalz of Digital Extremes in order to create what would be known as Unreal (video game). The first demo came in 1995, the completed game in 1998,[27], the then-expansion later-standalone Unreal Tournament came in 1999, and the rest is history.[28]

Cliff was the lead level designer on Unreal and contributed to Unreal Mission Pack: Return to Na Pali, Unreal Tournament, Unreal II: The Awakening, Unreal Tournament 2003, and Unreal Tournament 2004.

Works Edit

Maps created by Cliff Bleszinski

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Unreal Tournament:
AS-Guardia • CTF-Gauntlet • CTF-Tutorial • DM-Barricade • DM-Brickyard • DM-Codex • DM-CurseII • DM-Dust • DM-GearBox • DM-Girder • DM-Google • DM-HealPodII • DM-MojoII • DM-Paladin • DM-ShrapnelII • DM-Tempest (UT map) • DM-Turbine (UT map) • DOM-Bullet • DOM-Cinder • DOM-Gearbolt • DOM-Tutorial • RA-CliffyB
Unreal Championship:
CTF-Chrome • DM-Asbestos • DM-Curse3
Unreal Tournament 2003:
CTF-Chrome • DM-Asbestos • DM-Curse3 • DM-Icetomb • DM-IronDeity
Unreal Tournament 2004:
CTF-Chrome • DM-Asbestos • DM-Curse4 • DM-Icetomb • DM-IronDeity

Every map in Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict and Unreal Tournament 3 is credited to Epic Games as a whole, hence why his own works for those games don't appear here.

Trivia Edit

  • The nickname "CliffyB" was given to him derogatorily by "some jock kid" when he was a shy teenager; he then took it and developed a tougher persona around it.[2] However, in an interview with MTV in 2008 he expressed a desire to retire the moniker, saying it's "time to grow up a bit".[29]
  • Cliff also used the nickname "Grand Master Ice Shaft" when he was designing the Unreal Beta levels, later on he changed his nickname to "Dude Huge". He was also the lead designer for Unreal.
  • There are hidden pictures of Cliffy in DM-Asbestos, DM-Codex and AS-BP2-Outback.
  • Cliff's name is on the Nexus Missiles in AS-Convoy and on a few street signs in ONS-Urban.
  • One of the unused taunts in UT2003 and UT2004 is "You're almost as good as CliffyB".
  • Changing the player's name to "CliffyB" in UT2003 or UT2004 botmatches will cause bots to have the names of various Epic Games employees.
  • CliffyB's favorite map in Unreal Tournament 2003 was between DM-Antalus and BR-Skyline, and his favorite mutator was Quad Jump:
"I'd have to say it is a tossup between BR-Skyline and DM-Antalus. The ways that skilled players move around in Antalus is nothing short of jaw dropping! (...) Quadjump baby! Once you try it, you'll never go back. "
- Cliff Bleszinski[30]

Gallery Edit

External links and references Edit

  1. "Why we call him Dude Huge?" @
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "The grammar of fun: CliffyB and the world of the video game" | The New Yorker
  3. "From Gears to Beers: A video game mogul opens a restaurant" @ Men's Journal
  4. "Interview: Legendary designer Cliff Bleszinski discusses the future of free-to-play shooters" @
  5. "FAQ: Cliff Bleszinski" @
  6. "Cliff Bleszinski on 'Lawbreakers', 'Overwatch' and Feeling Like a Disney Princess" @
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Cliff Blezinski Reddit AMA (transcript)" @
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "From The Past To The Future: Tim Sweeney Talks (page 8)" @ Gamasutra
  9. "...And all that Jazz" @
  10. "The summer that launched my career" @ Control500
  11. "Meet The Next Game Gods" @ PCGamer
  12. "Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise" @ Xbox Wire
  13. "Post-GDC: Cliff Bleszinski Says Iteration Won Gears of War" @ Gamasutra
  14. "Everything You Wanted to Know About Gears of War..." @ Gamespy
  15. "GDC 07: Cliffy B disassembles Gears, mentions sequel" @ Gamespot
  16. "Gears Of War 3 On Jimmy Fallon" @ IGN
  17. "The Techland Interview: Cliff Bleszinski, Part 1" @ Techland
  18. "Cliff Bleszinski Departs Epic" @
  19. "Cliff Bleszinski out at Epic Games" @ Gamespot
  20. "Cliff Bleszinski says he retired because everyone was too jaded" @ Destructoid
  21. "Cliff Bleszinski says he's "coming out of retirement"" @ Eurogamer
  22. "Gear of War Designer Cliff Bleszinski announces F2P shooter BlueStreak" @
  23. "Cliff Bleszinski creates Boss Key game studio with Guerrilla Games co-founder" @ Polygon
  24. "LawBreakers is the next game from Gears designer Cliff Bleszinski" @ TheVerge
  25. "Cliff Bleszinski Turned Down A Chance to Work With Hideo Kojima on Silent Hills" @ Shacknews
  26. "Gears of War Designer Cliff Bleszinski Invests in New Crowdfunding Site Fig" @ Gamespot
  27. "Blinded By Reality: The True Story Behind the Creation of Unreal" @ Gamespot
  28. "Postmortem: Epic Games' Unreal Tournament" @ Gamasutra
  29. 'Gears of War' Designer Cliff Bleszinski Done With The 'CliffyB' Moniker @
  30. "Tim Sweeney & CliffyB Interview" @ PlanetUnreal

See also Edit

Digital ExtremesEpic GamesLegend EntertainmentMidway GamesStraylight ProductionsStreamline StudiosUTPG
Alan 'Talisman' WillardAlexander BrandonAndrew SegaBastiaan FrankCedric 'Inoxx' FiorentinoDan GardopéeDave EwingDavid KelvinElliot 'Myscha' CannonJames SchmalzJeremy WarJesper KydJim BrownJuan Pancho 'XceptOne' EekelsKevin RieplMark ReinMatthias WorchMichiel van den BosNick DonaldsonPeter HajbaPhil ColeRich 'Akuma' EastwoodRom Di PriscoScott McGregorShane CaudleSidney 'Clawfist' RauchbergerStarsky PartridgeSteven PolgeTim SweeneyWarren MarshallWill Nevins