Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski has resigned from the Gears of War studio some two decades since joining.
In a prepared statement, Epic Games said Bleszinski had departed to "chart the next stage in his career". No further explanation was given aside from the exec saying he wanted to "take a much-needed break" after many years of dedicated work at the studio.
Bleszinski had worked on numerous projects at Epic Games though his breakthrough came at the advent of the current generation of consoles. Epic allowed the increasingly experienced developer to spearhead a new third-person shooter series, which now is known worldwide as Gears of War.
It has not yet been revealed what Bleszinski will turn to next.
Three board members at Epic have each prepared farewell messages for Bleszinski.
The studio's founder Tim Sweeney said 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".
Company president Mike Capps said the developer's passion for creating video games of the highest quality has been "unflinching".
"We are grateful for all of his hard work, and remain committed to making our fans happy and to always raising the bar in everything we do at Epic," he added.
Company vice president Mark Rein said it was sad to see Bleszinski move on. He added: "I know that everyone here has benefitted greatly from his passion for gaming and the depth of his expertise and experience. I'll miss watching his star shine from such a close vantage point but I'll still look forward to watching his continued success."
An except from Bleszinski's personal message to his colleagues has also been published.
He said: "I've been doing this since I was a teenager, and outside of my sabbatical last year, I have been going non-stop. I literally grew up in this business, as Mike Capps likes to say. And now that I'm grown up, it's time for a much needed break.
"I will miss the projects, the playtests, the debates, and most importantly, the people.
"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. I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with a variety of disciplines, from code to art to marketing and PR - it's been one big, rewarding learning experience."