Fallout 76 lead designer Ferret Baudoin has died

Ferret Baudoin
(Image credit: Ferret Baudoin (LinkedIn))
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Bethesda Softworks senior designer Ferret Baudoin, who worked as lead designer on Fallout 76, has died. A tribute page on Facebook (opens in new tab) said he "passed suddenly" on October 15, "surrounded by his family and friends."

News of Baudoin's death was shared on Twitter by former Fallout 76 project lead Jeff Gardiner, who described Baudoin as "an eternal optimist and dear friend," and a deeply dedicated RPG fan.

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"We had lunch several times since I departed Bethesda. He will be dearly missed," Gardiner tweeted. "We'd text about any and all RPGs we were playing. He's the only person I know that plays more of them than Dezinuh [Bethesda Game Studios design director Emil Pagliarulo] and I. He completed four runs of the most recent Pathfinder OwlcatGames RPG alone."

Pagliarulo paid tribute to Baudoin in his own Twitter thread, saying he was "unstoppably creative, always inspired, and he worked hard because to Ferret, it wasn't work. He LOVED making games."

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Baudoin's real name was Eric, but he's listed in game credits (opens in new tab) as Ferret, and comments in a Reddit (opens in new tab) thread announcing his death state that it was his preferred name. One redditor, who claimed to have met Baudoin in 1989 when he was a college freshman, said he was using the nickname even back then, and was very secretive about its origins.

"I lived in the dorm room next to him for three years and he was best man at my wedding, and I don't know where it came from," they wrote. "I do know he had fun with it when he visited Ireland. At the time there was a fad in the country that involved shoving a ferret down your trousers, and he used it as a pick-up line!"

A Reddit (opens in new tab) post published earlier today and shared by Kenneth Vigue, who had worked with Baudoin on Fallout For Hope (opens in new tab) charity drives, revealed that his death resulted from complications arising from cancer surgery. Some fans are leaving tributes to Baudoin in Fallout 76, and an in-person tribute will be paid during a Fallout 25th anniversary cosplay gathering (opens in new tab) on October 22, which will include charity walks in four cities to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The family is also accepting donations to support a college fund for Baudoin's children, and inviting donations in his name to the American Cancer Society.

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Baudoin was with Bethesda Softworks for 10 years, where he worked as a quest designer and writer on Fallout 4 before becoming post-launch lead designer on Fallout 76 and the Wastelanders expansion. According to his LinkedIn (opens in new tab) page, he was also a senior designer on the upcoming Starfield.

Prior to joining Bethesda, he spent six years as a lead designer at BioWare, working on Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2, and multiple DLCs, and from 2003 to 2006 he was a lead designer on Neverwinter Nights 2 at Obsidian Entertainment. He also had a brief spell at Black Isle Studios, where he worked as a designer on two famously failed RPGs: The original Baldur's Gate 3, codenamed Jefferson, and the original Fallout 3, codenamed Van Buren.

Bethesda paid tribute to Baudoin on Twitter, calling him "a kind man whom we all miss and will never forget."

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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.