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Psygnosis and Evolution Studios founder Ian Hetherington dies

todayJune 21, 2022 6

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Ian Hetherington, a pioneer of the British video games industry, has died.

Hetherington was a founder of Imagine Software, Pysgnosis and Evolution Studios, and worked on games such as WipEout, Lemmings and Shadow of the Beast.

Ian Hetherington.

At Psygnosis, Hetherington’s vision of how the future of video games might evolve helped position the studio as a key early partner for PlayStation – and led to the studio’s work on the first PlayStation developer kits.

In 1998, Hetherington moved on from Pysgnosis to found MotorStorm and WRC developer Evolution Studios, where he worked until 2007. After that, Hetherington served stints at Realtime Worlds, mobile game maker Midoki and VR outfit Immotion Group.

A GamesIndustry.biz report on his passing includes numerous recollections from past colleagues and peers. Here’s one, from Digital Extremes’ Richard Browne, who worked with Hetherington in the early nineties:

“Ian knew where the future was headed, he knew we’d have demos like the UE5 Matrix one even then; he invested insane money… All of this led to Sony, to our first glimpse of the PlayStation before anyone else.

“Ian fought for every pound we invested in development. Psygnosis was totally run by development and little by marketing… More games. Better games. More studios – we expanded first in Liverpool, then Chester, Gloucester, London. Every team had its own identity but we all shared the Psygnosis ethos of quality.

“He gave so many individuals the kickstart to incredible careers. Dave Jones and the DMA team. Martyn Chudley and Bizarre Creations. Jon Burton and Andy Ingram of Travellers Tales. Martin Edmondson and Paul Howarth at Reflections. The list goes on and on. Small teams he’d move all obstacles out of the way of so they could focus purely on writing the games of their imaginations. He was Willy Wonka!”

Hetherington’s fellow Imagine Software and Psygnosis founder David Lawson sadly also passed away this year, in August.

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