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(Pocket-lint) - The creator of Gears of War on the Xbox 360, Cliff Bleszinski, has announced that he is leaving the company to pursue other interests.

"Today we are saying farewell with warm regards to Cliff Bleszinski, who is departing as Epic’s design director to chart the next stage of his career," Epic Games confirmed on its website.

Bleszinski has been at Epic Games for more than two decades and had a hand in creating and producing not only the GoW franchise, but also other titles such as Unreal Tournament and Jazz Jackrabbit.

READ: Gears of War 3 Design Director talks the future of gaming

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"I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop," says Bleszinski on the decision to go rogue. "I literally grew up in this business, as Mike likes to say. And now that I’m grown up, it’s time for a much-needed break," 

The sudden decision to leave will shock many. Bleszinski was "super stoked" to be working on the next iteration of GoW franchise, Gears of War: Judgment, when Pocket-lint interviewed him in July. The game, still in development, is due out in March 2013, and it seems strange that Bleszinski would be leaving before the project has been completed.  

READ: Gears of War: Judgment won't rely on large set pieces, unlike other big name games

It is not known what comes next for the outspoken figure. According to Eurogamer, Adrian Chmielarz - founder of Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment developer of People Can Fly - last month also left the company he helped to create, suggesting the two could be working on a new project together.

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Writing by Stuart Miles.