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Obituary: Bubsy creator Mike Berlyn has passed away at age 73

Berlyn's career in the game industry spanned decades and included titles such as the original Syphon Filter, Keef the Thief, and Zork.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 30, 2023

2 Min Read
Photograph of late game designer MIke Berlyn, creator of the Bubsy series.
Image taken from the creator's Bubsy Bobcat wiki page.

Per Twitter, Infocom and Accolade's Mike Berlyn passed away earlier this week at the age of 73 years old. 

Best known for his work as the creator of the Bubsy series, Berlyn was a game designer and writer who entered the game industry with 1981's Oo-Topos. Over the years, he worked at several studios, both defunct (like Sentient Software and 989 Studios) and currently active (EA, Activision) on titles such as Zork and Altered Destiny. 

While credited with creating the platformer series, Berlyn has only worked on two Bubsy games. He was the designer on the original 1993 game, and designer and producer for 1996's Bubsy 3D.

Alongside his accomplishments in design and programming, Berlyn had a short stint as a novelist. In the early 1980s, he published The Integrated Man and Crystal Phoenix, and his final book was 1990's The Eternal Enemy.

Berlyn also helped co-found two studios. Brainwave Creations was founded in the mid-1980s and created Tass Times in Tone Town, which he made alongside Interplay's Rebecca Heineman and Muffy McClung Berlyn (his wife). 

In 1992, he and software engineer Marc Blank founded Blank, Berlyn & Co. The developer was eventually re-named Bend Studio, which is best known for PlayStation's Syphon Filter series, and more recently Days Gone.

Game Developer spoke with Berlyn in 2005 about the trajectory of his career, which you can read here.

Update: Over the weekend, Bend Studio posted a statement regarding Berlyn's passing. In the tweet below, the studio called its co-founder "an extraordinary individual...[who] was a pivotal element in helping pioneer the foundation of our studio today. Rest in peace, Mike.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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