Mike Capps, the president of Epic Games, is stepping down from his day-to-day role at the Cary-based video game and technology development company.

The changing of much of the executive guard continues at Epic, which turned the Gears of War franchise into a billion dollar empire. Capps is the latest executive to depart in the past few months.

“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,” Capps wrote in a blog posted at Epic’s website on Tuesday headlined “Mike Capps Retiring to the Epic Board.”

He cites looming parenthood as the reason.

“If you haven’t heard, I have a baby boy on the way.

“I’m fortunate that with Epic’s success and generosity, I can be a stay at home dad for a while.

“My wife Julianne and I are very happy in Raleigh, and other than cleaning up baby barf, I don’t have much planned. I might do some teaching, spend more time on creative writing, and maybe get more active with a few charities.”

Now in its 20th year, 2012 has been one of huge change at Epic. Prior to Capps’ departure, the biggest loss was Cliff Bleszinski, its creative guru who helped bring millions of players worldwide into the Gears franchise and its predecessor Unreal Tournament.

Rod Fergusson, a top producer, also left Epic as did the recently appointed creative lead for the next Gears title.

Even as Epic has expanded by establishing new studios in Baltimore and on the West Coast, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Tim Sweeney has had to deal with these key departures.

All these changes have taken place since China-based Tencent, a growing video game and entertainment power in Asia, bought a minority stake in the company in June.

Obviously, the influx of cash into the privately held company that was distributed to shareholders has spread more wealth at an already flourishing company where fancy sport carts in the parking lot reflect the money that Epic continues to make while much of the video game industry itself struggles with declining or stagnate software and hardware sales.

However, Capps, who once posed in a shower for a photo to promote one of Epic’s games, wrote that he would remain involved in Epic.

“After dedicating a decade of my life to Epic, and with so many close friends here, it’s impossible to just walk away,” he explained.

“I absolutely love this company.

“If you cut me, I think I probably bleed nanoblack and Imulsion. (Wow, just think about what mixing those would do…)

“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.”

The Unreal game engine may prove to be a more powerful legacy to Epic than even the Gears franchise, which will produce a fourth title in 2013. Companies worldwide and across platform gear use the Unreal engine to produce the gee-whiz graphics and increasingly real-time game play that seemed impossible just a few years ago.

Capps also plans to offer advice and consulting.

“As I mentioned above, I’ll continue to be available as a resource to Epic, to provide context or advice where I can. Whatever I can do to help in Epic’s success, I’m in!

“I’ve got great confidence in our executive team – VP of Development Paul Meegan is new to our Raleigh HQ, but we’ve worked with him for years, and I can only contemplate this retirement knowing that he and VP of Operations John Farnsworth can manage development better than I ever did,” Capps said.

Capps also will remain a member of the board.

Meegan, formerly president of LucasArts, joined just a few weeks ago, bringing depth to Epic’s management team just ahead of Capps’ departure.

“Epic’s business has evolved incredibly over the past two decades, and throughout that time, our hiring philosophy has remained constant: ‘hire the best and the brightest,’” Capps said of that move. “Paul’s been a friend of the Epic family for years, and we’re delighted to have him join the team. His experience and leadership will have a huge impact on our mission to deliver great games and great technology.”

The relentless enemy of time brings change to every person, every company. Time marches on at Epic. And more change will occur. But in a year or two after changing diapers daily, perhaps Capps will rejoin Epic for another round of action.

“As a member of the board, I’ll help keep the ship pointed directly towards Na Pali (an Unreal game mission pack),” Capps concluded, “and make sure that everything we do is Epic.”

[EPIC GAMES ARCHIVE: Check out 10 years of Epic stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]