Cliff 'Gears of War' Bleszinski has been blasted into the videogame stardom spotlight after the huge success of his flagship 360 shooter and now has his sights set on the future (surely working on Gears 2).
We recently managed to snatch a few moments with gaming's best-groomed designer at the Game Developers Conference, where he nabbed three awards including best game for Gears and took to the podium to tell a gushing audience just how he thought up the UE3 chainsaw madness.
In our char Mr. B fields our obligatory "Where's Gears 2?!?!" and "is it coming out on PC?!" onslaught, as well as discussing the possibility of Jazz Jackrabbit on XBLA, what he thinks of PlayStation Home and the future of Epic Games...
Mark Rein spoke recently about how Epic is still a small company. With the success you're experiencing at the moment, is that going to be for long?
Cliffy B: We're hiring but it's not as if we're suddenly going to balloon into 300 people overnight; we pick the right people and we're really picky about who we hire - we take care of our guys.
We're steadily hiring about one new guy every couple of months so you can kind of extrapolate where that's going to go, but our building's only so big right now. I don't see us exploding overnight and becoming corporate if that's what you're asking. We selectively sell out (laughs).
UT has always been Epic's baby and with Gears no doubt dominating your lives right now, do you think you're ever going to have time to create more original IP?
Cliffy B: I have a 40ft hard-on for original IP and that's what Gears of War is. The fact that it was such a success proves to me that this business is driven by its own internal IPs and not licensed properties.
I think my plate will probably be full the next couple of years working on what I'm working on. I'm not really allowed to say anything about what I'm doing but I have 8 million intellectual properties floating around in my head and I'd love to have a few more developed at some point in the future.
Coming off of that, is there any genre other than shooters that you're itching to explore?
Cliffy B: I think there's a lot of room for something that's contemporary and urban without stepping on Grand Theft Auto, something crime-driven. I've always been excited by that Michael Mann-type movie feel like Heat or Collateral, things like that. There's a lot of room in that area.
I've been working in sci-fi worlds for so long with Unreal being so fantastic and Gears being still fantastic but a little bit more tangible. I want to do something completely tangible that feels like New York or LA - that would be very exciting.
Jeff Morris recently joked that the Gears team was left "probably making Gears for the rest of their lives". Is there any sign of fatigue inside Epic?
Cliffy B: That was a silly quote. Considering the fact that the game has sold over three million copies and has had such great reviews, if there were to be another Gears I don't think we'd see anybody being upset about it. It remains to be seen - we've been doing Unreal for years and Gears has been a tremendous success. I'm OK with having that problem.
Is Xbox Live Arcade something that interests you? Could we see Jazz Jackrabbit turn up at some point perhaps?
Cliffy B: I made a comment in my lecture today actually that if anybody out there has any spare cycles and wants to port Jazz to Live Arcade or PlayStation Network contact me. I was actually chatting with Arjan Brussee who's the original programmer on Jazz and we were kicking around if we could find somebody to do it we'd totally be down for it. Who knows man, we don't have a lot of spare cycles these days - we're very busy people. So maybe. Big, fat maybe.