Earlier this month Cliff Bleszinski revealed his next project: a free-to-play, PC-focused arena shooter called Project BlueStreak created by Boss Key Productions, his new studio. Following a Reddit AMA that answered some surface-level questions about the game, I spoke with Bleszinski about what sort of shooter he’s hoping to create.
Every Sunday, Tyler publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. More classic reviews here.
It's unbelievable now, but PCs were once seen as less-attractive gaming machines than Nintendo consoles. Heresy! But it's true. I'd probably never preface a review with 200 words of context, but I'm glad our 1995 review of Jazz Jackrabbit gives us some perspective. Sadly, Cliff Bleszinski's new studio is not making a new Jazz Jackrabbit, so we still don't have it that good.
Former Gears of War guy Cliff Bleszinski didn't have much to say about his return to game development beyond the fact that he's doing it with a free-to-play arena shooter called BlueStreak. But yesterday he took to Reddit for an AMA in which he touched on topics ranging from how he'll handle the "pay to win" challenge to how he ended up in a publishing deal with the company behind Maple Story.
Cliff Bleszinski is returning to the videogame business with BlueStreak, a free-to-play sci-fi arena shooter for the PC.
In addition to making the Unreal series, Cliff Bleszinski is also an investor in Oculus VR. He admits in a recent blog post that, as an early investor in the company, he stands to make a lot of money from Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition. But he also thinks the deal is great for Oculus VR overall.
Oculus VR, the company that's developing the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles you want for Christmas, has secured another $75 million in Series B funding. This is in addition to the $16 million it raised in Series A in June, which it must have placed on top of the $2.4 million pile of cash it raised in the initial Kickstarter campaign.
One possible advantage of making a very public retirement announcement is that otherwise invisible supporters begin to emerge from the shadows. Game designer Cliff Bleszinski, co-creator of Unreal Tournament and Gears of War, wants Fez-developer Phil Fish to re-think his decision leave the gaming industry. Fish announced Saturday he was cancelling a planned sequel to Fez and had reached "the end of a long, bloody campaign."
The ongoing debate over the ethicality of microtransactions is hot enough to make the sun look like an ice cube, but it's difficult to overlook the financial benefits of prolonging a game beyond its launch content—just ask EA, which recently stated it's seeking to add purchaseable items in all of its games. Consumer concern is natural, but former Epic designer Cliff Bleszinski thinks wallets are a stronger measure of approval than complaints. In a lengthy blog article, he specifically brings up the business practices of EA and Valve, stating he's "tired" of the former taking the brunt of ire surrounding the subject.
Cliff Bleszinski on what's next after Epic: "I would want to get back to the triple-A space eventually"
Veteran designer Cliff Bleszinski split ways with longtime employer Epic Games back in October, seeking a "fresh start" after 20 years. Though Bleszinski wants to keep making games, the finer details of his next move haven't appeared yet. In an interview with VentureBeat, Bleszinski didn't rule out a return to triple-A production, explaining any such effort would have a slower rate of ramp-up.
Cliff Bleszinski on the prospect of a new studio: "It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when and with who."
Back in October, developer/gaming rock star Cliff Bleszinski announced that he would be leaving Epic Games after 20 years. The question that immediately started circulating was, unsurprisingly, what's next for Cliffy B? In a recent interview with X-Play on G4, he made it clear that his days in game development are far from over.
As we noted yesterday, Epic veteran Cliff Bleszinski has left Epic, but you don't last that long in this business without learning to psychically project yourself into several places at once. Even as Cliff walked into the sunset with a bundle of Lancer Assault rifles slung over his shoulder, his ghost was over in the Game Informer offices talking up Unreal Engine 4.
"When you ask me what next generation is, it's really the sum of all its parts," says ghost Bleszinski, lounging on the couch like psychic projection ain't no thing. Advanced particle effects, destructibility, light refraction and shinier shininess will bring the next generation closer to visual realism, but Bleszinski highlights Unreal Engine 4's Kismet system as an especially big step forward for developers.
Epic Games, now purveyors of grunting masculinity, offal and chainsaws, once had a line of family-friendly shareware platformers and pinball titles. The reason we no longer think of them as the guys who made Jazz Jackrabbit is solely due to Unreal. It’s an overlooked great. A journey through an alien landscape with a sense of wonder, grandeur and mystery that almost no shooter has since achieved.
Epic Games frontman Cliff Bleszinski conducted a crowdsourced interview with Reddit over the weekend in the popular "Ask Me Anything" subreddit. A number of noteworthy responses cropped up regarding Bleszinski's thoughts on revisiting older IPs, modding's explosive popularity, and (though very definitely not announcing this) an open-world reboot of Unreal, among other answers. Check out a few choice quotes inside.
As reported on Kotaku and RPS, Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski has been talking up PC development at E3.
The Gears of War developer reckons PC should be the first port of call for upcoming indies, pointing out that it's a less restrictive platform than console and mobile. “Xbox Live and PSN, skip both of them because you’re at Sony or Microsoft’s will as to what’s on the dashboard.” he said. “iOS, maybe but you have to have Apple’s approval. There’s way to much piracy on Android. No-one has a Windows phone.
“It's not about what you show on the screen, it's what you cause to appear in the player's imagination.”
That’s what Firaxis’ Sid Meier took from The Seven Cities of Gold, a game he lists as a major inspiration. “Even today ... it's still the player's imagination that's the most powerful tool we can stimulate and use to bring the experience to life,” he says.
As reported on Gamasutra, Side Meier, John Romero, Will Wright and Cliff Bleszinski have been talking gaming inspirations at GDC.
Update: the original text of this story quoted Cliff as saying "game developers are assholes." This was incorrect. He was talking about internet trolls. They're assholes. We offer our apologies.
Speaking at GDC, Cliff Bleszinski has expressed the dramatic impact his personal life has had on his design decisions. He also offered some sage advice for upcoming developers.
"Assess yourself. Know your weakness. As a creative, I am not a spreadsheet designer. I am a holistic designer, and you must find complementary talent, the yin to your yang. And build mutal respect.
"Make your product personal. I’m not having a fucking debate, this is art. If you look at Gears, you can tell I was a child of the 80s, I was raised with Transformers, He-Man, I saw Predator when I was 13 and it melted my face off. I was actually going through a very tough time when I was working on the first game. I was actually going through a divorce. There’s a reason Marcus has daddy issues; I lost my dad when I was a kid."
Read on for more from Epic Game's charismatic design director.