Game industry veteran and Vertigo Games managing director Arthur Houtman has passed away.
The news comes from a statement on Vertigo Games' website, where the company shared news of Houtman's passing. Houtman co-founded two companies, Vanguard Games and Force Field, which were acquired by Embracer Group VR division Vertigo Games in August 2021. Houtman remained with the company after its acquisition, acting as managing director of Vertigo Studios Amsterdam.
Vertigo Games wrote that Houtman was "instrumental" in transforming the small indie studio into a thriving company. It noted that even though he'd reached retirement age in 2021, he kept working at Vertigo Studios Amsterdam to help it navigate its status as a newly-acquired company.
"It feels extremely unfair that he did not get the chance to round off this final step and go and enjoy a well-deserved retirement after all the hard work he dedicated to our company," the studio noted. "Arthur will be remembered as a straight shooter who never minced words, but he was always honest and focused on the end result."
"Above all, he was a humble, generous and kind man and a source of advice for anyone who wanted to benefit from his 30 years working in the world of video games."
Colleagues on social media described Houtman as "one the most amazing and genuine people you'll ever meet in this industry," and "a true gentleman, a great friend and a very talented professional."
Houtman began his career in the video game industry as a producer on various CD-ROM prototypes, eventually landing at Infrogames (the company that would become Atari) as production director. He'd later work at Disney Online Studios before departing to co-found Vanguard Games.
Vanguard Games would find some success with a pair of licensed Halo titles called Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike before pivoting to virtual reality development under the Force Field name. It released games like Landfall and Coaster Combat before being acquired by the publisher of Arizona Sunshine.
Houtman is survived by his wife Bridget and his son Arno. Vanguard Games has invited friends and colleagues to leave condolences here.