Counter-Strike Wiki

Jess Cliffe is a computer game designer, known for co-creating Counter-Strike with Minh Le in 1999. He has also been working on every game in the franchise since.


Before getting involved with the original Counter-Strike, Jess Cliffe was a very active gaming website designer. The earliest known gaming website he founded was Jedi Knight Multiplayer Addon Group (JKMAG) which he founded in December 1997.[1] After around a year of maintaining the website, he moved on to start the website Action Quake2 Map Depot.[2][3] It was during the time he was involved with this site that he got to know Minh Le as Le was part of the team developing Action Quake 2.[4] Around January 1999, Cliffe also founded the website Silo X devoted to Half-Life maps.[5]

During an IRC chat, Minh Le mentioned the fact that he was starting development on his own mod. Cliffe thought the theme of the mod sounded interesting and offered to design a website for the mod, which is how Cliffe got involved in the development of Counter-Strike.[4]

Cliffe's responsibilities while working on the original Counter-Strike involved maintaining the website and public relations.[6] He was also responsible for some of the graphics and sound effects.[6] Perhaps most notably, he created the radio and announcer recordings for the game.[7] Cliffe also served as the main line of communication between the level designers and the core Counter-Strike Team.[8]

After Counter-Strike had grown in popularity, Valve Software approached Minh Le and Jess Cliffe about purchasing the rights to the title in 2000.[9] Simultaneously Valve also offered both of them jobs. They agreed to the deal, but Cliffe would finish his studies before he joined the development team at Valve.[9]

Since joining Valve on-site in 2003, Jess Cliffe has been contributing to every Counter-Strike title so far.[10][7] His roles at Valve have included being a designer, 3D artist and a level designer.[7][11]


At 1:17 AM Pacific Time on the 2nd of February, 2018, Jess was arrested on charges of "sexual exploitation of a child" in the Southwest Precinct of Seattle. After the incident, Valve has suspended Cliffe's employment.[12] On October 8, 2018, Cliffe pleaded guilty to a felony and was sentenced on November 2, 2018 by Judge Julie Spector to 3 months in prison and 1 year of community custody to begin January 3, 2019.


  • In Counter-Strike and Condition Zero, the map description of Militia calls the setting of the map "Cliffe's Compound".
  • In expert mode, there is a bot named "Cliffe" who uses the AK-47 or the M4A1.
  • Jess Cliffe and Minh Le, the Counter-Strike creators, share the same birthday.[13]
  • He now sells watches.