Fable art director Paul McLaughlin dies at 57

Paul McLaughlin in a "Meet the Team" video for 22cans.
(Image credit: 22cans)

The UK games industry has been paying tribute to Paul McLaughlin, who died in December at the age of 57 following a battle with cancer.

He spent over 30 years in games development, starting out at Theme Park developer Bullfrog Productions. He spent 15 years as art director of Lionhead Studios, where he helped oversee production on the Fable and Black & White series. Most recently, he was head of art at Peter Molyneux's latest studio 22cans. 

Eurogamer collected tributes for McLaughlin, led by Molyneux who said: "Paul entered my life back in 1990 when he started at Bullfrog as employee number four. He was the first proper games artist I had ever encountered. Immediately he became invaluable, an essential part of the many titles we all worked on. He absolutely made all the difference on Powermonger, Syndicate, Magic Carpet, Theme Park and Dungeon Keeper.

"Then, when Lionhead was set up, he not only guided Black & White, The Movies and Fable, but also helped direct the company. A great artist, a wonderful mentor and an inspirational man. Paul was a huge cornerstone in my life. He was a professional, moral and funny person who had the ability to see the fair and sensible approach in any situation. I miss him every day in every way. His legacy will be felt and seen for a long, long time."

22cans lead artist Annah Wootten-Pineles called him "a very talented artist and art director, whose quiet and methodical guidance made him a well-respected leader of the team," with Hiddengrin CEO Jonty Barnes saying "he was humble, inspiring, and didn't shy away from a difficult conversation when you sought his opinion. He brought positivity into the room and was grounded with a dry humour, reminding us that making games was a privilege and should be an enjoyable vocation, so we didn't take ourselves too seriously."

McLaughlin is survived by his wife and three children.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.