Cliff Blezinski is in the rare and enviable position of dictating his own professional fate, a situation made possible after a career spent creating games with a focus on gameplay above all else. In an industry where factors such as sponsored marketing and cross platform integration is increasingly important, Cliffy B still stands out as one of the old school of game development.
His keynote was created and delivered the same way, short and stripped of trappings such as lengthy monologues or fancy graphics. Cliff spoke from the heart about how being bullied and tragically losing his father at an early age were both affirmations of his deep love of video games, and how his struggles were absolutely important in shaping the man that he had become.
Failure is to be focused and formed upon, rather than feared. Bleszinski is a man who by his own admission has experienced more than most game developers, and it shows in the ambition of his work: it takes a rare breed of developer to add narrative nuances such as patriarchal dynamics and management of divergent personalities into a rapid fire, cover based 3rd person shooter.
Keynotes at PAX are not only major events in and of themselves, but can also set the tone for the rest of the show. In that respect, PAX East 2013 is a show that encourages exploration not only without a fear of failure, but an understanding of the importance of fear in achieving our goals.