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.”
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This Guy Is Not 'CliffyB'"Gears of War 2" lead designer Cliff Bleszinski no longer wants to be called "CliffyB," a name he's used since the 90s.

Yesterday he confirmed to me that he is dropping the old nickname.

It's "time to grow up a bit," he wrote in a quick note. The name may have suited a 20-something Cliffy B who used to make work on "Unreal Tournament" games and run a website featuring cats sandwiched in copy machines.

Cliff Bleszinski, however, is an early 30s developer at the top of his game. He and his team are working on getting "Gears 2" done for the fall and they're well past nicknames -- at least any they want to be known by publicly.

And that, fellow gamers, means it's time to learn how to spell Bleszinski.

Gears of WarWhat do you talk about with "Gears Of War" lead creator Cliff Bleszinski when he's got nothing official to announce?

You talk about life, as he and I did last week at the DICE gaming summit in Las Vegas.

And you learn something(s).

You learn that there's a whole new Cliffy B, that the game designer, who has a birthday this week, is looking at gaming and non-gaming in a whole new way: "I'll turn 33 next week and I kind of had the same realization strangely enough when that silly movie 'The Bucket List' came out. There are things you check off in life. Work hard and play hard. I've had to work hard to put the hours in, but to be a better person and a better designer you need the real life experience… I think that's one of the problems with the business. It's very very insular. Developers only ever hang with other developers. A lot of developers I know don't really do anything outside of work. It's an unhealthy pattern."

That's why, three weeks ago, Cliffy was taking a Zero-G flight over Florida. And the dreams he's had of flying every night since then may inspire him to new game developments.

But is the new Cliffy B -- the one refreshed for 2008 -- not the kind of guy who would put his name on a "Gears of War" or an "Unreal Tournament" anymore?

Folks, he was raving to me about beating "Super Mario Galaxy" and really likes "Zack & Wiki." Has he changed?

Read on to learn how he thinks this will affect his game development habits. (And catch some interesting PC vs Console talk in the process)

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