Cliff Bleszinski wants to return to triple-A gaming, probably at his own studio

But he's not going to hurry his trunks off yet.

Doors open in the video games industry for someone like Cliff Bleszinski. He's famous in these parts. He left Epic Games in October and got away from it all, put some trunks on, went on holiday and spent time with his wife. Now he's had his break, what does he plan to do?

Games, in short, although he's still forming his masterplan and working out how.

"One of the main things I've been considering is opening my own studio," he told VentureBeat.

cliff

"I call my look Destroyed Beauty."

"I want to be creative in some sort of fashion. 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.

"The thing is, I would want to get back to the triple-A space eventually, but the last thing I would want to do - and no offence meant to Curt Schilling [38 Studios] and John Romero [Ion Storm] - is to do what those guys did: 'Let's throw 300 bodies at it! Sure, we'll just make it work!'

"That's the equivalent of taking a garage band and having them play Wembley Stadium on day one."

Starting as a small independent studio "has its strengths" but means working your butt off for nothing like triple-A exposure - the sort of thing he's used to, and the sort of thing he likes.

"I'm not gonna lie," he lied, oh wait, no he didn't. "Doing Gears of War, I loved the large-scale aspect of it. We could leverage Microsoft to get the American Chopper TV special and have big launch events and see our ads on TV during Monday Night Football. That level of relevance comes with being triple-A."

Cliff Bleszinski can literally afford to wait, and in an industry that's in "a massive state of flux", that helps. He can see what happens with next-generation gaming, with tablet and smartphone gaming, with online and free-to-play. He can sit back, make a plan, then strike.

"In the meantime, what I can afford to do is get a small team of contractors on board and start iterating on a few things here and there," he said. "Even if I had a publisher tomorrow who said, 'Hey Cliff, here's $50 million dollars: go make your dream game,' I'd still only ramp up with a handful of people.

"I'd prototype defined goals and a number of assumptions that I thought would be cool as far as what kind of game I'd want to make. Only until I had something that was actually playable ... .

"Then, once you have that goal, you start dumping amazing talent onto it. Then you start ramping up quickly. But before you do that, if you have a full team, you're just wasting money."

One thing that irked Bleszinski about his role at Epic was that he wasn't responsible only for Gears, but as design director he influenced all games coming out of the studio.

The sort of set-up he looks at and likes is how Ken Levine has it at Irrational Games - if, that is, he could stomach being boss of the company at the same time.

In the meantime Bleszinski has "multiple investments" to watch as well as some real-life learning to do: things like loans, like mortgages, the sort of important stuff you need to know but no one teaches you.

When the time comes, there'll be no shortage of publishers interested in a Cliff Bleszinski game. Maybe it will be Microsoft, publisher of Gears of War, looking for big new exclusive for its next-generation Xbox console. Whichever company it is, Bleszinski will be back.

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