Arnold Hendrick, creator of influential '90s RPG Darklands, has died

(Image credit: Matt Chat)

Arnold Hendrick, the creator of the 1992 Microprose RPG Darklands, has died. A message posted in a Facebook group for former Microprose employees said that Hendrick's passing came after a battle with cancer.

Hendrick has credits on multiple games from Microprose's heyday, including Gunship, Sid Meier's Pirates!, F19 Stealth Fighter, Silent Service 2, and American Civil War: From Sumter to Appomattox. But Darklands may be his best-known work. It wasn't a hit, largely because it was wracked with bugs at release, but featured remarkably deep systems and attention to detail, and genuinely unique, "realistic" game world: a mythologized version of the 15th-century Holy Roman Empire, in which the creatures and dangers that people of the era believed were real actually are. 

In 2009, Todd Howard credited Darklands as an inspiration for The Elder Scrolls games, and more recently Obsidian's Josh Sawyer wrapped up a long-running Darklands livestream on Twitch. You can read a retrospective interview he did with Hendrick on RPG Codex in 2012. Sawyer also paid tribute to Hendrick on Twitter:

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After leaving Microprose, Hendrick worked at developers including Interactive Magic, Kesmai, Electronic Arts, and Area 52 Games, before becoming a freelance consultant in 2016. He was 69 years old.

Thanks, Gamasutra.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.