By Joseph Leray
Since his departure from Epic last October, “Jazz Jackrabit” and “Gears of War” designer Cliff Bleszinski has been traveling with his wife, hanging out with his dog, and, according to a new interview with Venture Beat, exploring the option of creating his own game development studio.
“One of the main things I’ve been considering is opening my own studio,” he says. “But the complication to that is, heavy is the head that wears the crown. 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.”
Bleszinski says he’s still interested in developing so-called AAA games, but heeds the warnings of cautionary tales like 38 Studios, which had to file for bankruptcy last year, and Ion Storm, whose fortunes turned south in the late nineties after “Daikatana” flopped.
“The last thing I would want to do -- and no offense meant to Curt Schilling and John Romero -- is to do what those guys did,” he explains. “‘Let’s throw 300 bodies at it! Sure, we’ll just make it work!’ That’s the equivalent of taking a garage band having them play Wembley Stadium on day one.”
He also admits that he’s been studying business and thinking about the structure of his hypothetical new team: “I’m a pretty smart designer who has a good sense and a good track record, but unless I’m surrounding myself with my Avengers, I’m useless. I would need a ninja producer. I would need a ninja president for the company. I’d need a ninja lead programmer.”
The industry rock star can afford to wait a while before pursuing his pipe dream, though. While having access to Microsoft’s marketing budget was nice during his time at Epic Games, Blezsinski admits that the industry is “in a state of massive flux,” citing mobile and tablet gaming, and the rise of independent development.
“The beauty of it all is that I can sit back and wait for the dust to settle a little bit over the next year or so, with all the next-generation consoles and everything else coming out, before I make a proper commitment.”
In the meantime, the artist-formerly-known-as Cliffy B has been prototyping his own small projects and visiting with other studios like Zynga and Double Fine to gauge “the potential fit in regards to possible professional future,” and drinking coffee in the Carribean.
The rest of the VentureBeat interview covers a wide range of topics, and Bleszinski reveals himself to be a charming, savvy, and personable businessman. Check it out to read about why he’d want his next game to be like Adhesive Games’ “Hawken” and “Halo,” or what game designers might learn from watching NFL football.