Industry pays tribute to Fergus McGovern

Christopher Dring
Industry pays tribute to Fergus McGovern

The UK games industry has paid tribute to Fergus McGovern, who tragically passed away at the weekend at just 50.

An influential man in the business, Fergus has many friends at the top end of the games industry. In fact, he had given many of them their first jobs.

A few of his closest friends in games have offered their heartfelt thoughts and feelings following this devastating news.

Garry Williams, Sold Out: Fergus, loss is the absence of something that can never be replaced and that is you, my true friend. Deanna, Abbey, Ryan, Ella and I will try to be strong but you left a big ‘life shaped' crater behind.”

Gary Bracey, Kuju: Fergus was remarkable in so many respects: as a businessman he was respected and admired by everyone who dealt with him – including myself, as a boss who was responsible for bringing so many (now) well-known names into this business and taking a chance on young talent which flourished under his leadership; as a family man who was devoted to his children and as proud as any father can be; and finally, as I knew him, a friend whose appetite for life and a good time was as big as his heart.

Fergus was a lot of different things to different people but Fergus the man was simply a one-off who will be remembered with great fondness by the many, many people whose lives he touched. Farewell, my friend – see you in the big pub in the sky.”


Stuart Dinsey, Curve: Still struggling to put into words the shock of losingFergus McGovern. Like so many of us of a certain age in the games business, we grew up together and built our careers together, having amazing times along the way. The tributes from so many of his friends and colleagues have made me cry again this morning - beautiful eulogies.

I was lucky enough to know Fergus for almost 30 years and, like so many have said, he always had time for others- with smart advice and a focus on living and loving life.”

Fergus was rightly proud of his family, his industry and his Croydon roots.

Love to all that loved him.”


Gary Bracey, Kuju: Fergus was remarkable in so many respects: as a businessman he was respected and admired by everyone who dealt with him – including myself, as a boss who was responsible for bringing so many (now) well-known names into this business and taking a chance on young talent which flourished under his leadership; as a family man who was devoted to his children and as proud as any father can be; and finally, as I knew him, a friend whose appetite for life and a good time was as big as his heart.

Fergus was a lot of different things to different people but Fergus the man was simply a one-off who will be remembered with great fondness by the many, many people whose lives he touched. Farewell, my friend – see you in the big pub in the sky.”

Sean Brennan, Bethesda: Fergus was a big part of my life since I first knew him in the early ‘80's. I recall fondly his kindness and generosity throughout those years during the good times and more importantly the bad times. He was always willing to go that extra mile for a friend.”

Andy Payne, UKIE: Fergus McGovern was one of the original teenage pioneers of the computer and video games industry. He was co-founder of Probe Software in 1984 which was to be acquired by Acclaim in 1995, and produced Mortal Kombat I and II, plus Die Hard Trilogy and the brilliant Alien Trilogy. Latterly Fergus founded Hotgen and also worked with the toy manufacturers Jakks Pacific.

And there I was out walking the dogs on Sunday, February 28th, whenone of Fergus's protg's, Terry Haynes,called me and told me thatFergus had passed away suddenly. I still can't quite believe it. For those who knew him, Fergus always thought and acted big. He was always dreaming up new stuff and then making it happen. I remember so well, when he asked me in 2001: 'do you like music' to which I said. obviously, 'yes'. Then he said, with that Fergus twinkle in his eye, 'I will send you something amazing'. Three days later, the very first gen iPod arrived, the only other person I knew had one of these was Fergus. As usual he was ahead of the game.

A few years later in 2003, we hit some cashflow problems at Mastertronic and it was Fergus who helped us out, when everyone else looked away. Without any hesitation he stepped up to help Garry Williams and I out. You don't forget that stuff. God bless you Fergus, you were a true video games entrepreneur and without people like you, none of us would be where we are today. You devoted yourself to your wife and children and your beloved Crystal Palace. Your phrase 'football is like a drug' always made me smile. But never as much as you smiled, no one else had 'that' smile. Rest in peace, we will all miss you and the world will not be such a bright place without you amigo.”

Rob O'Farrell, Dovetail Games: People always went that extra mile for Fergus as he always had a sense of pride in individuals, the team and Probe. He never faltered in his belief in what we could achieve and gave us the space to achieve it. Fergus was always there for a beer, a chat and the occasional drive of his Ferrari. He started out as a boss and ended a very good friend and for that I will be forever grateful.”

David Perry, PlayStation (from his blog): It's incredibly sad to hear about the passing of Fergus McGovern, he was only TWO years older than me! My first car was actually his own personal car, he gave it to me when I made a game for him.

"Fergus was the head of Probe Software in Croydon, England. I had decided to start my own company in my mother's living room, and he gave me a steady flow of exciting projects to work on, including the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, which gave me my first No.1 video game. He also introduced me to Nick Bruty, one of the best artists in the industry and we made endless games together.

"Fergus taught me to keep jumping hurdles no matter how challenging things would get. He believed we could do anything and so we believed it, too.

"He knew so many people in the industry, and it's interesting to see just how many had close personal relationships with him. I don't think I've ever seen such a strong reaction to someone passing in the video game business.

"He'sa real loss and sadly this keeps happening now as we all get older.

"I had to post something as I've been thinking about him all day. I spent so much time with him, and am really sad that the last dinner we had together, is the last dinner we will ever have together."

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