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Obituary: Game writer and professor Dean O'Donnell has died at age 57

Dean O'Donnell, a Massachusetts game industry fixture who wrote games and taught at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has died at age 57.

Bryant Francis

March 14, 2022

1 Min Read
A photograph of Dean O'Donnell

Dean O'Donnell, a Massachusetts game industry fixture who wrote games and taught at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has died at age 57.

Word of O'Donnell's passing comes from an obituary posted in The Boston Globe. Some of his former students have taken to social media to share news of his passing as well. 

O'Donnell's life in games contributed to a number of early independent games from the early role-playing-game era, and eventually contributed words to the Titan Quest expansion Titan Quest: Immortal Throne.

He taught at WPI for the last 29 years and helped create the university's Interactive Media and Games Development program. On Twitter, former students remembered how he encouraged them to chase social meaning in their game ideas, and expand the boundaries of what was possible in narrative games.

His interests also included alternate reality games, table-top roleplaying games, and "overly complicated board games." He is survived by his wife, his sister, two nieces, and his great-niece.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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