Few names are as well known around the gaming community as Epic’s design director, Cliff Bleszinski. Today, however, it has been announced that Cliffy B’s title will now include the word “former,” as he has officially departed from the company he’s helped run for the past two decades.

The announcement went out through the Epic blog, which states that Bleszinski will be charting “the next stage of his career.”

Several of Epic’s head honchos shared some kind words regarding Bleszinski’s time with the company, including CEO and technical director Tim Sweeney.

“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,” Sweeney said. “Cliff leaves Epic with our gratitude for his many contributions, and our wishes for continued success in the next chapter of his life.”

I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself, as you are no doubt sobbing like a small child following this surprising news and those moving words.

The post goes on to include a couple of paragraphs from a letter Bleszinski wrote for his Epic colleagues, saying that it’s time for a “much needed break” after going non-stop in the gaming business since he was in his teens.

“I will miss the projects, the playtests, the debates and, most importantly, the people,” C.B. said. “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.”

Do you need another moment or is that just some dust particles irritating your contacts?

No word yet on what comes next for Bleszinski but, at this point, the dude has certainly earned that break he was talking about.

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