Cliff Bleszinski is departing Epic Games after 20 years with the studio, the developer has announced.

Bleszinski was leaving his current post as design director at Epic to “chart the next stage of his career”, said the company.

“I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop,” Bleszinski wrote in a note to his Epic colleagues.

“I literally grew up in this business, as Mike [Capps] likes to say. And now that I’m grown up, it’s time for a much needed break.”

"I will miss the projects, the playtests, the debates, and most importantly, the people. Epic only hires the best of the best, and it has been a joy working with each and every one of you on a daily basis, whether you were hired weeks ago or decades ago,” he continued.

“I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with a variety of disciplines, from code to art to marketing and PR - it's been one big, rewarding learning experience. I'm confident that each project that is being built, whether at Epic, Chair, PCF, or Impossible will be top notch and will please gamers and critics alike."

Epic founder Tim Sweeney said that Bleszinski had a large impact not only at Epic Games, but on the industry in general.

“In 20 wonderful years with Epic, Cliff Bleszinski has grown into a true design luminary, and his contributions to the ‘Unreal’ and ‘Gears’ series have helped shape the game industry into what it is today. Cliff leaves Epic with our gratitude for his many contributions, and our wishes for continued success in the next chapter of his life!” he wrote.

“In my 10 years of working with Cliff, his passion for creating video games of the highest quality has been unflinching. We are grateful for all of his hard work, and remain committed to making our fans happy and to always raising the bar in everything we do at Epic,” said Epic Games President Dr. Michael Capps.

Bleszinski’s last project was Fortnite, the first Unreal Engine 4 release from Epic. It is due out next year.