149: Cliff Bleszinski: The Escapist Interview

Cliff Bleszinski: The Escapist Interview

I sat down with Cliff Bleszinski in his action figure-adorned office, where he talked about how awesome the new Gears installment will be, the difficulties involved with being one of the last of the rock star designers, the movie Poltergeist, how many developers have ripped him off, why some online gamers are dicks, the importance of not playing games from time to time and his dog. I also tried to make him cry.

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Is this a good read for EPIC and Cliffy B. Haters like me? - or should I pass on this so I can keep my sanity without turning into "hateful fanboy" mode?

It's pretty much an eight page Gears 2 ad.

Dom Camus:
It's pretty much an eight page Gears 2 ad.

No, no it isn't.

This Interveiw was an inlook into CliffyB's life and his veiw on games and the Game Industry. This is what I would expect from an interveiw of a game developer. The fact that the time he is working on Gears of War 2 does not make it an add, he talks about what he is doing in Gears 2 but it isn't filled with statements like "gears 2 is great, your readers should buy it" it was filled with "I really like what we have done with Gears 2 and I hope it does well".

It might bring Gears 2 to the attention of the Escapist community but what article dosn't bring the attention to a game or a company.

He seems to be an honest fellow, but I just can't agree with his ADD-riddled head when he dismisses anything that doesn't let you shoot something every 30 seconds.

ElArabDeMagnifico:
Is this a good read for EPIC and Cliffy B. Haters like me? - or should I pass on this so I can keep my sanity without turning into "hateful fanboy" mode?

I know what you mean I am a pretty mild mannered gamer but something about this guy drives me up the wall. The cliffyB nickname, the GDC entrance, the fact that anyone cares what car he drives or how old his girlfriend is, everything just makes him look like a complete tit.

It also irritates me how i even know his name other designers had to produce consistantly awesome games to get that kind of recognition ie Peter Molyneux or SId Meier, will we remember Gears 1 and 2 in 5 years except as a footnote?

Pipotchi:
It also irritates me how i even know his name other designers had to produce consistantly awesome games to get that kind of recognition ie Peter Molyneux or SId Meier, will we remember Gears 1 and 2 in 5 years except as a footnote?

I dunno, man. Unreal Tournament came out in 1998. We still remember that pretty well.

edit: oops, UT was 1999. The original Unreal came out in 1998.

Ian Dorsch:

Pipotchi:
It also irritates me how i even know his name other designers had to produce consistantly awesome games to get that kind of recognition ie Peter Molyneux or SId Meier, will we remember Gears 1 and 2 in 5 years except as a footnote?

I dunno, man. Unreal Tournament came out in 1998. We still remember that pretty well.

True but I never knew he was involved with Unreal until recently, was he well known in 1998 as the man behind Unreal?.

Pipotchi:
True but I never knew he was involved with Unreal until recently, was he well known in 1998 as the man behind Unreal?.

He was lead level designer for Unreal. He's been pretty well known since then.

http://liandri.beyondunreal.com/Cliff_Bleszinski#Unreal_Tournament

Dom Camus:
It's pretty much an eight page Gears 2 ad.

And you're pretty much an ingrate who doesn't bother to read articles before commenting. First impressions are a bitch. ;)

It's true Cliff wanted to spend a lot of time talking about Gears 2, but that's what he's supposed to do. What we're supposed to do is get him to talk about other stuff. Which we did.

You should really give it a read. It's quite interesting what he has to say about life, the importance of getting out of the house from time to time and idiots on the internet who don't think before they speak ...

Ian Dorsch:

Pipotchi:
True but I never knew he was involved with Unreal until recently, was he well known in 1998 as the man behind Unreal?.

He was lead level designer for Unreal. He's been pretty well known since then.

http://liandri.beyondunreal.com/Cliff_Bleszinski#Unreal_Tournament

I was starting to think maybe I was wrong about him until i read that link and i quote

"There are pictures of Cliffy in DM-Asbestos, DM-Codex and AS-BP2-Outback
Cliff's name is on the Nexus Missiles in AS-Convoy and on a few street signs in ONS-Urban
One of the unused taunts in UT2003 and UT2004 is "You're almost as good as CliffyB"

The man is clearly a complete pleb, who puts pictures of themselves in their games?

The man is clearly a complete pleb, who puts pictures of themselves in their games?

You've never beaten Quake 2!

but I just can't agree with his ADD-riddled head when he dismisses anything that doesn't let you shoot something every 30 seconds.

To each their own. I can see where his own perspective is from, and naturally he designs games around his own tastes and interests.

However, not every developer is going to agree with him, either, and that's where we get to make a difference in games and game development.

You don't have to agree with a developer to like them.

I know what you mean I am a pretty mild mannered gamer but something about this guy drives me up the wall. The cliffyB nickname, the GDC entrance, the fact that anyone cares what car he drives or how old his girlfriend is, everything just makes him look like a complete tit.

It also irritates me how i even know his name other designers had to produce consistantly awesome games to get that kind of recognition ie Peter Molyneux or SId Meier, will we remember Gears 1 and 2 in 5 years except as a footnote?

Well, it's really going to vary on a lot of things. I mean, why do people know Miyamoto's name? Because it's on just about every Nintendo game, even if it is as a producer. What do we know of Miyamoto's personality? Well, I've learned that I disagree with a lot of his game design ideas and choices, and that's about it since he keeps every interview rather professional and polite. Oh, and he smiles a lot. But really, you don't know him outside of being a businessman.

CliffyB has gotten a name with not only other developers, but with Journalists as well, as simply being a really fun guy that likes to talk about a lot of things and do a lot of things. Yeah, people first know him for his work, but he makes it a point to be more than just a game designer. His entrance into GDC was a pure example. "Well, any other businessman would just walk on stage and start reading off the cards, but I'm going to do something that makes people remember me".

I've also read his blog, which I'm disappointed hasn't updated in a while, and he's honestly got interesting thoughts on a lot of different things.

Basically, people like CliffyB. because he has given people a personality to like, an actual person, instead of a guy with a suit and a name. If I were to be offered a chance to meet a developer, Cliffy B. would probably be at the top of the list, even if I don't agree with everything he says. The fact of the matter is he has done enough that I have an idea of what kind of discussion I could have with him.

Second would probably be Peter Molyneux, since I'd love to wax intellectual on the artistic side of game development.

As for all those small little details in the UT games (that mostly aren't noticed unless you look for them), well, I dunno what kind of games you play, but little easter eggs like that are just part of what I expect and even hope to see in games. It's how you know the developers are having just as much fun making the game as you are playing it.

ccesarano:
You've never beaten Quake 2!

Or Doom, for that matter. It's just a goofy old school FPS thing.

"At the same time, man, I love this medium; I think it's the most compelling medium to ever exist in the history of entertainment. To be a good creative, you need to be a well-rounded person. You need to have life experience. You need to have your heart broken. You need to experience loss. You need to raise puppies and have a family eventually and know what it's like to put the top down and drive 120 mph on a beautiful day with the leaves kicking up behind you, with the music playing. Because if you don't know what that's like, how are you going to have a real-life frame of reference to compare it to when you try to bring that level of excitement into your games? I think it's definitely good to live life and be a well-rounded designer"

A well rounded designer? You would almost think he designed games that had a storyline more advanced than a saturday morning cartoon or characters with more depth than a puddle. Good action games I guess though

You seem to have confused being a game designer with a writer. You see, one focuses on designing good elements of gameplay and level design, which CliffyB has in spades, and the other, well, the other is a writer.

Christ, how many sticks could you possibly have shoved up your ass?

ccesarano:
You seem to have confused being a game designer with a writer. You see, one focuses on designing good elements of gameplay and level design, which CliffyB has in spades, and the other, well, the other is a writer.

Christ, how many sticks could you possibly have shoved up your ass?

Several i suppose, I find his games to be above average at best, Gears has passable action scenes but its pure hackneyed twaddle, generic space marines and enemies that feel like they have no weight. The games one true innovation is a game with a chainsaw attached. But fine it had some good action scenes, I liked the last act espicially.

My main problem is the very fact that he has this legion of worshippers who think he is some kind of visionary, compare his interview to that of Steve Jackson who is a genuinely an interesting guy with something intelligent to say and also wrote some of the fighting fantasy books which makes him a winner in my book

Notice how I dont know what car he has or how old his girlfriend is? Good why should I? Just like I dont know what Peter Molyneux's favourite food is or Wherever Warren Spector has a fixed rate mortguage or if he rents? Because its not important as they have enough Kudos to be judged on their games and their opinions

It reminds me of the excesses of John Romero and Ion storm and how they tried to be famous and design games when one should lead to the other naturally.

But hey just because i think hes a tit doesnt mean I wont buy GOW2, I just think he epitomizes a lot of whats wrong with "the Xbox360 generation"

You seem to have completely missed where Cliff has basically allowed himself a personality, whereas everyone else has none. I don't know anything about Peter Molyneux except he views games as art. While some of his ideas give me a small idea of who he is, it doesn't give me a great perspective.

I don't think Cliff is the greatest person in the world, but Jesus Christ considering how God damned judgmental you are I'd much rather have a talk with him than, well, the majority of the people on the Internet. All you've given is "HIS GAMES R FUN BUT NOT ART SO HE SUCKS!", which actually tells me you are most likely just a pretentious dickhead with nothing to be pretentious about.

I have tried to be civil with you here and have expressed support for his action games but you have boiled my entire consistent arguement down to "HIS GAMES R FUN BUT NOT ART SO HE SUCKS!",

I would summarise my arguement as I feel his arrogance is unjustified by the games he produces and I will leave it at that

Pipotchi:
A more accurate summary would be I think he is an arrogant tit because all evidence lends credence to this theory,

And all evidence lends credence to the theory, "it takes one to know one". Seriously, it's been you who's dripped nothing but personal insults in this thread, directed at CliffyB and other posters. Please do me a favour and dial it back a notch.

-- Steve

Anton P. Nym:

Pipotchi:
A more accurate summary would be I think he is an arrogant tit because all evidence lends credence to this theory,

And all evidence lends credence to the theory, "it takes one to know one". Seriously, it's been you who's dripped nothing but personal insults in this thread, directed at CliffyB and other posters. Please do me a favour and dial it back a notch.

-- Steve

Fair enough I have slung a few insults at Cliff but i always supported them with quotes etc.

I also feel that I tried to be Civil to other users until called a "pretentious dickhead", but point taken, the former post is edited and will leave it at that

After the 'horrors' that I've heard about 'CliffyB', I definitely didn't expect to see what I read in this interview. He seemed quite an amiable guy. Gonzo and somewhat over-the-top? Mayhaps, but I would actually love to meet him. What does his status as a video game celebrity/playboy game designer has to do with anything? Why does it necessarily make him a dick? Honestly, I've digested so much bile regarding Cliff Bleszinski that I expected some over-confident prick, another Romero. Instead he seems to know his material and he makes several valid points that shouldn't be disregarded.
Anyway, great interview and a nice in-depth look at an interesting individual.

 

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