Cliff Blezinski on Being a Control Freak

“One of the many mistakes I made with Boss Key was I was trying to make a AAA game with a tiny team. And by the time our game came out it was right in the path of the juggernaut that was Overwatch and we couldn’t compete.”

You know Clifford “CliffyB” Blezinski as the Lead Designer and face of Gears of War and Unreal Tournament. But in his life after Epic Games he has been a CEO, an angel investor, a restauranteur, a Tony-winning Broadway investor and producer, a memoirist and now, a comic book author. He is so much more than just the dude wielding the life-sized chainsaw gun. When I asked him which of these endeavors was the most difficult, his answer was unequivocal: CEO.

So what advice did he have for all the aspiring gaming entrepreneurs out there, like me, working hard to build the game studio of their dreams?

  1. Make sure to partner with the right people.
  2. You need to know your employees, but don’t get too close, because if you have to fire your friends it’s the hardest thing to do.
  3. Pay your employees fairly and keep the coffers full.
  4. Start small. Be careful with what you make and how you market it.
  5. Be really careful and considerate with your go to market strategy and timing. If you’re launching a multiplayer ecosystem you need to make sure you have your player mix just right.

For these and more amazing stories about the birth of Epic, the birth of Gears and the many creative lives of modern renaissance man CliffyB, you can listen to the full Deconstructor of Fun interview in the comments below. And if you enjoyed this conversation, be sure to check out his book Control Freak, I highly recommend it!