Mike Capps, president of Epic Games, has retired, becomimg the latest high-profile departure from the studio behind Gears Of War and Unreal Engine. Capps will, however, retain a seat on Epic’s board of directors.
Capps, who has a child on the way and admits he doesn’t have much planned, announced his departure in a cheery post on the Epic Games community website, saying: “It’s hard to believe I’m writing these words, but here goes! After 10 crazy and wonderful years, I’m handing off my current presidential duties at Epic, and transitioning into an advisory role as well as remaining on the Epic board of directors.
“After dedicating a decade of my life to Epic, and with so many close friends here, it’s impossible to just walk away. I absolutely love this company … Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney and other board members asked me to stay on the board, and I’m thrilled to do so as I’m truly excited about our future games and Unreal Engine 4.”
Capps becomes the third high-profile staffer to leave Epic Games in the last six months. Rod Fergusson, executive producer on the Gears Of War trilogy, made a surprise move to Bioshock Infinite Irrational Games in August. Cliff Bleszinski quit his post as design director two months ago, saying it was “time for a much-needed break” after two decades with the company. Lee Perry, senior gameplay designer on Gears Of War 3, now heads up Bitmonster Games, which recently enjoyed App Store success with Lili.
Taken individually, each has clear reasons for leaving. Fergusson was parachuted in to Irrational days after several senior members of the Bioshock Infinite team left. Bleszinski had been with Epic for 20 years. Perry, like so many others, was doubtless drawn by the reduced risk and greater reward of mobile games. Those three were all deeply involved in the Gears Of War series, of course, which is now in the hands of Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly. Unreal Engine 4 has been unveiled and is well into development.
Perhaps, then, it’s just a logical time to leave; the end of a trilogy, the close of a console generation, and with the core development of UE4 well underway. But every time someone this senior steps back from the industry – Molyneux leaving Lionhead, the Bioware doctors retiring – we’re left with one question ringing in our ears. What, exactly, is so scary about the next generation?