Cliff Bleszinski: "I'll Never Make Another Disc-Based Game"

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Cliff Bleszinski: "I'll Never Make Another Disc-Based Game"

cliff bleszinski

Former Gears of War mastermind Cliff Bleszinski says his future lies with the PC, but not with games in boxes.

Nobody is quite sure what Cliff Bleszinski has been up to since he split with Epic Games in 2012, but whatever he has planned for the future, maintaining a close connection with the community is at the top of his priority list. That, to him, means making games for the PC.

"PC is where I'm going to wind up. That's where the community is," he told Gamasutra. "The trend will always be the core. If I start a studio, I want a community manager there day one. I want weekly video or podcasts; I want task lists available on the subreddit."

And what he doesn't want are games on discs inside boxes sitting on shelves. "The whole 'old guard,' where you get a Game Informer cover and an E3 reveal, is dead," he continued. "I'll never make another disc-based game for the rest of my career, and [at E3] they're trying to woo buyers from Target and Walmart?"

Bleszinski's comments have a certain timeliness to them, coming as they do on the heels of Ken Levine's announcement earlier today that he's pulling the plug on Irrational Games in order to launch a new venture that will "focus exclusively on content delivered digitally." But is conventional triple-A development really dead (or even dying), or is it just something you can afford to abandon once you've made your name (and your fortune) at the top of major hit-making studio? I imagine it's a lot more fun to be a starving artist when you're not actually starving.

Source: Gamasutra

Permalink

I'm calling it here; his first game will be Unreal Tournament: Mobile Edition.

The guy is good at sensing which way the wind is blowing.
His sincerity, I'm not sure about.

Off topic; wasn't he part of the "used games are killing the industry" crowd

I'm glad he thinks everyone lives in a place without download caps and horrible speeds.

I'm lucky, I've got moderate high speed internet.
-Averages around 500-900kb/s.

Some of my friends don't even get 100kb/s.
There's NO WAY they're going to be able to deal with a 15GB download or whatever.

C.B. is nuts.

Mr Ink 5000:
wasn't he part of the "used games are killing the industry" crowd

That's probably one of the reasons why he's going to develop for PC. He sees the increasing popularity of PC gaming. And PC gaming only has to deal with some piracy problems. And even that's not a problem according to scientific research on the subject. Everything is simpler and more rewarding on the PC. Steam is dominating with more than 75 million users and it's friendly to both consumers and developers. There's less corporate bullshit to deal with.

"I'll never make another disc-based game for the rest of my career, and [at E3] they're trying to woo buyers from Target and Walmart?"

He's worded that one carefully. If his PC ventures fail then at least he can fall back on making games for the 3DS! Gears of Mario 3D here we come.

I like to actually hold and have an actual copy of the game to admire. I'm also a bit nervous about having everything I buy being a part of some amorphous digital-distribution cloud.

Fuck me, right?

I'm not entirely opposed to digital copies, I have several in fact. Sometimes, it's a lot more convenient for someone in my position who doesn't have many retail shops in his area. But, considering the fact that a lot of publishers still have the balls to charge the same price for the digital copy as they would the physical, as well as a lot of rigs just not being able to handle it, it just doesn't always seem worth it. Am I really so old fashioned because I want to hold my game, as well? Really?

Also, just so I'm clear on this Mr.Bleszinski, are you trying to say that the console/retail market, the one that netted 'Grand Theft Auto V' a billion dollars in three days... is irrelevant? Because, that's the impression I'm getting.

Is he going to make ANY games again? Honestly I wish he'd shut up and make a game. What does it matter to me if he's not going to make a disc based game if he isn't making any games anyway?

Didn't he only a few years ago say all PC gamers were pirates, and that everyone was a crybaby when bulletstorm had no PC demo?

I think he also said he didn't want to develop on PC cause consoles sold more (in relation to gears), which is why 2 and 3 weren't on PC?

What a cunt.

edit: yeah, I wasn't dreaming it
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2008/09/30/epic-no-gears-of-war-2-pc/1

Tanis:
I'm glad he thinks everyone lives in a place without download caps and horrible speeds.

I'm lucky, I've got moderate high speed internet.
-Averages around 500-900kb/s.

Some of my friends don't even get 100kb/s.
There's NO WAY they're going to be able to deal with a 15GB download or whatever.

C.B. is nuts.

with 1.2m units of Rust sold, 15m units of Minecraft sold, 13m of Diaablo, 7m of Battlefield,80m World of Tanks players, 60m lol players, and 75m Steam accounts......I think CB has more than enough of a market to.....market toward.

Why can't I go a month without reading about this hotshot's overblown statements? Yes, despite foolish claims of it dying, the PC game market is thriving, especially thanks to downloadable games and sales. But, there's still boxed copies of PC games being sold, even if it requires Steam or Origin the full data(minus updates) is on the disc. It helps someone with a shitternet connection, since they can buy a game in a meatspace store or order it online and save their precious little bandwidth.

This guy isn't necessarily stupid, but the caustic way he states his opinions just pisses me off.

"The whole 'old guard,' where you get a Game Informer cover and an E3 reveal, is dead," he continued. "I'll never make another disc-based game for the rest of my career, and [at E3] they're trying to woo buyers from Target and Walmart?

Uh, E3 is closed to the public and meant for the press to evaluate new games and tech. The average Joe and Jane aren't reading game journalism to decide what they want. They look at the prettiest boxes and follow word of mouth from friends. I can see he hates E3 'cause in the last few years they've been hyping up everything more and more while not showing too much that we having seen in other trade shows. His reasons are just off.

Weaver:
Didn't he only a few years ago say all PC gamers were pirates, and that everyone was a crybaby when bulletstorm had no PC demo?

I think he also said he didn't want to develop on PC cause consoles sold more (in relation to gears), which is why 2 and 3 weren't on PC?

What a cunt.

edit: yeah, I wasn't dreaming it
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2008/09/30/epic-no-gears-of-war-2-pc/1

The PC space was terrible then, and if it continued downward we would not have CB, let alone any developer releasing titles on PC. Every tom dick and harry was getting out of that space, it was not a fun time as a gamer. Luckily Steam continued to grow, GoG emerged, and studios like Sega, Blizzard, CDPR, and Capcom continued to release titles. Not to mention Youtube personalities LP'ing and reviewing PC titles as well as Minecraft taking off and turning many a young gamers into PC gamers.

Sounds more like he is starting a reality show with all the latest trendiest tag lines, I'm guessing his next move will be to finance everything via Dogecoin, or Obamacoin or whatever meme bullshit someone made this week.

I get the facebooks generation is all hyped about nonsense like this but I remember all this happening before, and it never ends with good results.

Weaver:
Didn't he only a few years ago say all PC gamers were pirates, and that everyone was a crybaby when bulletstorm had no PC demo?

I think he also said he didn't want to develop on PC cause consoles sold more (in relation to gears), which is why 2 and 3 weren't on PC?

What a cunt.

edit: yeah, I wasn't dreaming it
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2008/09/30/epic-no-gears-of-war-2-pc/1

Yeah, no need to be so harsh, and that's hardly appropriate language in this case (or at all, an I'm normally fine with swearing). Are people not allowed to change their minds? I actually agree with him in part on the Bulletstorm demo issue, if only because compared to the games of yesteryear we rarely see demos now anyway except via XBL/PSN. I wish that wasn't the case, I do wish we had regular demos like we used to, but there's no ned for everyone to criticise one man when he doesn't do one demo in this modern game industry (although maybe 'crybaby' was a bit harsh of him). As for the other factors, even though I disagreed with him, everyone has the right to change their minds. You can either hate the guy or not, but hating him no matter what he does is just unfair. And definitely not worthy of the C word.

At any rate, I'll personally be looking at this with trepidation. I don't like the idea of disc based games going the way of the dodo, but that's because I've always been a traditionlist with media. I use Steam and GOG but otherwise I want my games in a box, my movies in a box on DVD or Blu-Ray, my books in paper, and my music on a hard CD. That being said, much as I may dislike it, I can't deny that we are inching ever closer to the day when they stop making CDs/DVDs/etc. altogether. All Cliffy B is doing is making a perfectly valid prediction of this and then gettin in on the curve before the majority decide to do so. It doesn't help the situation, but he's unerstandable and smart in his thinking. I don't always agree with what Cliffy B says (I actually disagree a lot of the time), but I do listen because he is often correct, even if he's not (in the) right...

Trivun:

Weaver:
Didn't he only a few years ago say all PC gamers were pirates, and that everyone was a crybaby when bulletstorm had no PC demo?

I think he also said he didn't want to develop on PC cause consoles sold more (in relation to gears), which is why 2 and 3 weren't on PC?

What a cunt.

edit: yeah, I wasn't dreaming it
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2008/09/30/epic-no-gears-of-war-2-pc/1

Yeah, no need to be so harsh, and that's hardly appropriate language in this case (or at all, an I'm normally fine with swearing). Are people not allowed to change their minds? I actually agree with him in part on the Bulletstorm demo issue, if only because compared to the games of yesteryear we rarely see demos now anyway except via XBL/PSN. I wish that wasn't the case, I do wish we had regular demos like we used to, but there's no ned for everyone to criticise one man when he doesn't do one demo in this modern game industry (although maybe 'crybaby' was a bit harsh of him). As for the other factors, even though I disagreed with him, everyone has the right to change their minds. You can either hate the guy or not, but hating him no matter what he does is just unfair. And definitely not worthy of the C word.

At any rate, I'll personally be looking at this with trepidation. I don't like the idea of disc based games going the way of the dodo, but that's because I've always been a traditionlist with media. I use Steam and GOG but otherwise I want my games in a box, my movies in a box on DVD or Blu-Ray, my books in paper, and my music on a hard CD. That being said, much as I may dislike it, I can't deny that we are inching ever closer to the day when they stop making CDs/DVDs/etc. altogether. All Cliffy B is doing is making a perfectly valid prediction of this and then gettin in on the curve before the majority decide to do so. It doesn't help the situation, but he's unerstandable and smart in his thinking. I don't always agree with what Cliffy B says (I actually disagree a lot of the time), but I do listen because he is often correct, even if he's not (in the) right...

Sorry about swearing, I often forget how offensive that word is in the UK (not really so much here, in fact you'll find it's not even common in usage).
I make no excuse, I don't like Cliffy B.

The issue with the Bulletstorm demo was that the 360 and PS3 both had demos, the PC didn't. When people pointed this out Cliffy B. flew off the handle and called all those filthy pirates a bunch of whiners.

My other issue is the whole "PC gamers are pirates" thing was one issue in a several year "campaign" from him treating the PC, and the people who like to game on it, like total shit. To the point of mudslinging PC gamers weekly on Twitter.
I'd largely wager his attitude and decisions were responsible for much of the PC gaming community pretty much just abandoning any hope for Epic.

Yes, he can change his mind, but from someone who was so adamantly against an entire gaming platform he sure changed tunes quickly when it would suddenly benefit him.

I always loved the idea of digital distribution. Mainly because it exposes one interesting thing... Distribution using a P2P system like the one Blizzard uses, does not require server maintenance cost (well, some, but a very small one), hence the "unit price" for a game, essentially, does not exist.

With that in mind... What is the financial difference to the game's publisher, between selling 1.000.000 copies for 50EUR a piece and selling 5.000.000 copies for 10EUR? Won't both prices eventually make 50.000.000EUR?

Dear Cliffy B,

In the eyes of gamers, and the hardcore crowd specifically, you're only as good as your last game. Now I don't agree with everything you've said over the past 18 months, but I've enjoyed the products you've made in the past. I'd like to enjoy the products you will make in the future. But it's time to put up or shut up.

I'm not interested in another bit of Twitterverse theorizing from you Cliff. It's been fun and all, don't get me wrong. I even respected you're quitting EPIC to devote attention to your new lovely wife. You are a blessed man and I'm happy for you. But at this point in time, it's starting to feel like you're building hype for something that is currently in a vapor state of "one day, possibly, maybe".

Every time you break wind at an audible decibel level, it makes gaming news. But either show me a site, some concept art, a demo reel, or keep your blowhole shut. Seriously. I love ya buddy, GEARS was a great time. Unreal even more so. But c'mon buddy. C'mon. Zip it or ship it.

Warm regards,
-Paul

Wonder if Brosinski actually holds up to this one.

Mr Ink 5000:
The guy is good at sensing which way the wind is blowing.

After the wind has already blown.

Change that to "I'll never make another game" and I'm in.

Zachary Amaranth:
Wonder if Brosinski actually holds up to this one.

Mr Ink 5000:
The guy is good at sensing which way the wind is blowing.

After the wind has already blown.

Exactly, Michael Pachter has "predicts" things in the same way as well. Valve has had incredible growth over the last 8 years in the order of tens of billions of dollars, and Pachter predicted that the PC market will be strong in the next few years.

Totally blew the lid off that one.

How is this guy in any way relevant to game industry at the moment, sure he made Gears of War and popularized chest high walls but anything else aside from that and antagonizing a lot of people?

Mr.K.:
Sounds more like he is starting a reality show with all the latest trendiest tag lines, I'm guessing his next move will be to finance everything via Dogecoin, or Obamacoin or whatever meme bullshit someone made this week.

His next game will be funded through Cliff-starter; where all projects are paid for in Cliffycoin and have a stretch goal for a 'totally sick kegger with CliffyB braaaah!'.

Weaver:
I think he also said he didn't want to develop on PC cause consoles sold more (in relation to gears), which is why 2 and 3 weren't on PC?

Gears of War needed Games For Windows Live, it never really stood a chance of success outside of the console market because of that. It's just a shame CliffyB decided to blame it on the gamers rather than the DRM, but it seems he has changed his tune. Hopefully someone will ask him about that in an interview though, just to see him squirm.

CriticalMiss:

Gears of War needed Games For Windows Live, it never really stood a chance of success outside of the console market because of that. It's just a shame CliffyB decided to blame it on the gamers rather than the DRM, but it seems he has changed his tune. Hopefully someone will ask him about that in an interview though, just to see him squirm.

That, and it also released 1 year after it came out on 360. If anyone wanted to play it they probably played it on 360, especially since there was no news of the PC release until like two months before it came out (so no one would know to wait).

I've never played anything he had ever had a hand in. My life's intersection with his had purely been his jibber jabber on sites like this about stuff unrelated to any ACTUAL work in progress.

The tag line for these pieces should be "hey its that guy that made a few games like 3-5 years ago that no one you know ever played, who likes to bust out his sage wisdom on the industry he has barely been a part of compared to people that have been at it for longer than he has been alive. Take a moment to hear about what he is (not) doing next, because...reasons."

I'm sorry, who are you again? Gears of wha- Oh, I see. You made some games and stuff. Right, well... You're an authority on things how? Can I see some credentials? Some recent work that shows that you're on the hub of anything? No? Well then, stuff it, Cliffy. You're just an internet personality, and that's not saying much.

Zachary Amaranth:
Wonder if Brosinski actually holds up to this one.

Mr Ink 5000:
The guy is good at sensing which way the wind is blowing.

After the wind has already blown.

true. more responsive than some parts of the industry though

King Whurdler:
I like to actually hold and have an actual copy of the game to admire. I'm also a bit nervous about having everything I buy being a part of some amorphous digital-distribution cloud.

Fuck me, right?

I'm not entirely opposed to digital copies, I have several in fact. Sometimes, it's a lot more convenient for someone in my position who doesn't have many retail shops in his area. But, considering the fact that a lot of publishers still have the balls to charge the same price for the digital copy as they would the physical, as well as a lot of rigs just not being able to handle it, it just doesn't always seem worth it. Am I really so old fashioned because I want to hold my game, as well? Really?

Also, just so I'm clear on this Mr.Bleszinski, are you trying to say that the console/retail market, the one that netted 'Grand Theft Auto V' a billion dollars in three days... is irrelevant? Because, that's the impression I'm getting.

Nope I agree with you, I only get games at full price if I get a hard copy (usually a collectors edition), otherwise I wait for a steam sale. I won't pay more than $10 for a digital copy, it's too risky, there's no value in them at all and at the end of the day I have nothing to show for it other than data on my HDD. So I pay accordingly ($10 or less, $20 for a few special exemptions)

But...I like my disc based games... :-(
Guess I won't be buying any games from him or his company then for a while. Maybe if something is truly--oh, wait. PC only. Nope, never buying anything from him. I don't play on PC. I like my consoles.

Crimsonmonkeywar:

Weaver:
Didn't he only a few years ago say all PC gamers were pirates, and that everyone was a crybaby when bulletstorm had no PC demo?

I think he also said he didn't want to develop on PC cause consoles sold more (in relation to gears), which is why 2 and 3 weren't on PC?

What a cunt.

edit: yeah, I wasn't dreaming it
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2008/09/30/epic-no-gears-of-war-2-pc/1

The PC space was terrible then, and if it continued downward we would not have CB, let alone any developer releasing titles on PC. Every tom dick and harry was getting out of that space, it was not a fun time as a gamer. Luckily Steam continued to grow, GoG emerged, and studios like Sega, Blizzard, CDPR, and Capcom continued to release titles. Not to mention Youtube personalities LP'ing and reviewing PC titles as well as Minecraft taking off and turning many a young gamers into PC gamers.

Are we living in the same present? Im not being sarcastic, i genuinely am curious as to whether your experiences of the not-to-distant past are different from mine. The "PC space" as you call it has not changed, not one single bit. This is evident to anyone who has played any games on the PC platform in the last 10 years. GOG emerged quite a while ago, Steam has been a thing since 2004, his comments and opinions on PC as a platform? They are very much recent, which is the same for basicly everyone else. Alot of people were claiming that "Consoles are the future" and "The PC is dead", it isnt, it never was and never will be, most obvious proof? PS4 and Xbox One. The only true console left on the market right now, handhelds excluded, is the Wii U.

Yeah you read that right, Sony and Microsoft basicly made pre-built, cheap mass-produced PCs. Sure you still have the controller as the main input device but thats really it. In terms of software there was not really such a huge difference even during the last generation, granted its not Windows, or Linux as we know it, but there was a rather famous case of someone putting Linux on the PS3 and getting sued which led to a rather long blackout of Sony's online services, its not that long ago. And now the Hardware meets the same standard that has been the norm with PCs for several years and by that i mean the architecture, hell the Xbox One runs on Windows 8. The reason developers and publishers abandoned the PC platform was because of the misguided idea that consoles had become the next big thing, as we know now, they arent, they just are gaming platforms. And thats not even going into issues like second hand and piracy which he as well claimed to be a problem having not changed at all.

So no, the "PC space" hasnt changed, what has changed is his opinion because he now sees profit to be made in a market he has previously ignored, if not actively shunned.

Mr Ink 5000:
true. more responsive than some parts of the industry though

Can't argue with that. The gaming industry really sucks at the whole change thing.

That's weird, I do want boxes on my shelf, gives me a secure feeling that I actually own what I buy, it also looks nice in the room, and it sometimes brings back memories when you go over your collection.

Cliffy doesn't give two shits about any of that though.

Can somebody put that dumbass back in his cage, he's talking again, you know how well that always goes. They should put a muzzle on him or something, maybe more meds?

Hey, its more old devs whining from their armchairs in the retirement homes. Although unlike Molyneux, or Garriott, or whoever else, he doesn't seem to be actually doing much of anything to address any of his concerns(?, comments? random tangents?).

So you won't make a disc based game again. Okay? Is this supposed to differ you from all the other B-tier (in size/budget) devs and indie guys out there running on Steam/XBLA/PSN/whatever. This isn't a groundbreaking stratagem being proposed or anything, its already a decently large chunk of the gaming sphere.

Topping it off, he doesn't seem to have anything to actually sell, on disc or not. He's telling his customers (I guess thats who this random sputtering is aimed at?) what color bag the magic beans come in before he's even sold them on the beans.

Fair is fair, and CliffyB has made some big contributions to the game industry - bigger than most. But in predicting the future and trying to find his place in it, I think he's in basically the same boat as the rest of us: flailing about as he tries to figure out what's going on. Maybe he'll never make a disc-based game again, but maybe he will, especially if he comes up with a hit and Take-Two or EA shows up with the money truck.

I don't think conventional retail is dead. Lots of people, myself included, use it as their primary method of acquiring games. It's easy to have an "all hail digital" attitude when you live and work in an area with unlimited, super-fast broadband access, but when you don't - and believe it or not, lots of us fall into that category - it's a different situation. And as others have said, I like "owning" my games. I like boxes and manuals and quick reference cards and all that bullshit, and it infuriates me that I so often have to buy special editions to get that stuff these days, but I do it because it's an important part of the experience. A game that doesn't get a retail release is a game that I'm far less likely to buy.

He does make some interesting points, but I don't happen to agree with them - and more to the point, I hope he's wrong. A digital future is not my future.

Mr Ink 5000:
Off topic; wasn't he part of the "used games are killing the industry" crowd

Kinda. Read the whole article at his blog. It's very well written and has a lot of great points.

The thing is, Cliffy can be a jerk but he knows what he's doing. I like to think of him as the House of the gaming industry.

CriticalMiss:

He's worded that one carefully. If his PC ventures fail then at least he can fall back on making games for the 3DS! Gears of Mario 3D here we come.

Like anyone's gonna be making disc based games for any console in a year or two...

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