Probe Software founder Fergus McGovern passes away

A veteran of British games development.

Fergus McGovern, founder of British developer and port house Probe Software, has died.

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He was reportedly aged just 50.

McGovern founded Probe Software (later re-named Probe Entertainment) in 1984. The studio was a huge British success story, and worked on world-famous games such as Mortal Kombat, OutRun and FIFA.

Widely-liked within the studio and in the development community as a whole, McGovern was also the source of several hidden cheats and Easter eggs in Probe's games - such as the famous 'Fergality' move in the Sega Genesis port of Mortal Kombat 2.

Probe's work spanned the early years of home consoles - from ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amiga - through to the PS1 and N64.

After 10 years, Probe was sold to Acclaim for a rumoured $40m - making McGovern a millionaire in the process.

But McGovern was not done with games development. He later set up the Croydon-based HotGen, which manufactures electronic toys, games and smartphone apps.

Away from games, he was also a long-term boardmember at Crystal Palace football club, which paid tribute to him in a statement last night:

"Crystal Palace Football Club are saddened to announce the sudden and tragic passing of Fergus McGovern. Fergus has been a near permanent fixture in the boardroom at Palace for over 15 years, becoming one of the clubs first Associate Directors.

"He was also a Vice Chair of the Palace Foundation, always supporting events with not only attendance but significant financial contributions."

McGovern was granted the Freedom of the City of London for his charity work.

More recently, he appeared as an interviewee in the acclaimed From Bedrooms To Billions documentary, which had its premiere two years ago at EGX.

"Every kid loved video games, and having the opportunity to make games has changed my life," McGovern said during a Guardian interview.

"To be honest, I achieved quite a lot when I was very young. We had seven Christmas number ones out of 10, and in 1995 I was given a lifetime achievement award. That's too young."

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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