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Veteran UK programmer John Gibson, best known for his time at Psygnosis and Sony, has died, according to reports.
Gibson enjoyed a career spanning four decades, best known in modern times for the Motorstorm games and DriveClub.
His career stated at Imagine Software in 1983 and ended at Sony, where he remained until his death.
After teaching himself how to write machine code on a ZX81 computer, Gibson joined Imagine in his 30s where he was affectionately known as ‘Grandad’ by the rest of the (much younger) team.
He designed several critically acclaimed games at Imagine, including Molar Maul, Zzoom and Stonkers.
He was also the programmer on the notorious Bandersnatch, the ambitious ‘mega game’ that was ultimately never released due to Imagine going bankrupt.
After this, he co-founded Denton Designs along with other former Imagine members and released Gift from the Gods, which Gibson later described as a “Bandersnatch clone” and his favourite Denton game, because “in a roundabout way, I got to see Bandersnatch published”.
After programming the Frankie Goes to Hollywood game and Cosmic Wartoad for Denton, Gibson went freelance for a few years before joining Psygnosis in 1990, where he programmed Microcosm and Sentient.
Following a spell at Warthog Games, Gibson then moved to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, where he joined the Evolution Studios team and would become a key part of its numerous popular racing series.
Gibson was a programmer on WRC 4 and WRC: Rally Evolved on PS2, as well as the popular PS3 launch game MotorStorm and its sequels Pacific Rift, Apocalypse and RC. He was also one of the programmers on Evolution’s final game, PS4 racing title Driveclub.
Several industry figures have paid tribute to Gibson, including veteran journalist Julian Rignall, who called him a “British programming pioneer” and credited his “amazing contribution to gaming”.
Software consultant Andy Toone said: “Very sad to hear John Gibson has passed away. He was one of the first people I worked with after leaving college – joining Psygnosis to write Microcosm. A lovely, patient guy with a great sense of humour.”
Ex-Psygnosis coder Chris Stanley added: “Oh no, another of my old work colleagues has passed away. John Gibson was such a lovely friendly guy. RIP mate.”