Fergus McNeill

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Fergus McNeill is a Scottish author and award-winning interactive entertainment developer. He has designed and created games since the early 1980s, working with companies such as CRL, Silversoft, Macmillan Group, Activision, SCi Eidos and EA. He was a founder member of TIGA and is a member of the Crime Writers' Association[1] and BAFTA. His first novel is a contemporary crime thriller published by Hodder & Stoughton.[2]

Background[edit]

McNeill grew up in Scotland, living in Helensburgh and later in Fintry. When he was 11, his family moved to Hampshire, England, where he attended Swanmore Secondary School. Whilst there, he wrote his first games, which attracted coverage in the specialist computer press,[3] and this led to him abandoning college plans to pursue a full-time career in the games industry.

Career[edit]

McNeill started developing interactive fiction games using The Quill software. Initially, these were sold by mail-order under the Delta 4 brand, before publishing deals with CRL and Silversoft brought the titles to a larger audience. This led to McNeill working with Terry Pratchett to create the first Discworld game and, later on, adapting Murder Off Miami by Dennis Wheatley.[4] After an affiliate label deal with Activision, McNeill set up a new studio for SCi in Southampton, focusing on PC games. While there, he oversaw development on movie tie-ins including The Lawnmower Man, and scripted the award-winning Kingdom O' Magic. He also co-produced (and provided the race announcer's voice-over for) Stainless Software's controversial racing game Carmageddon.[5]

After SCi, he moved to Smoking Gun Productions, where he worked on a range of football management titles and interactive DVD games,[6] before joining InfoSpace / IOMO as studio director in 2005. Two years later, McNeill and other staff from IOMO relaunched the studio as FinBlade.[7]

Books[edit]

In 2011, he signed a three book deal with Hodder & Stoughton.[8]

  • Eye Contact (Detective Harland series #1, first published in 2012
  • Knife Edge (Detective Harland series #2, first published in 2013

Games[edit]

Early interactive fiction titles and PC CD games

  • Sherwood Forest - Delta 4
  • The Dragonstar Trilogy - Delta 4
  • Quest for the Holy Joystick - Delta 4
  • Return of the Holy Joystick - Delta 4
  • Bored of the Rings[9] - Delta 4 / CRL / SilverSoft
  • Robin of Sherlock[10] - Delta 4 / CRL / SilverSoft
  • Galaxias - Delta 4
  • The Colour Of Magic - Delta 4 / Piranha / Macmillan Group
  • The Boggit - Delta 4 / CRL
  • The Big Sleaze[11] - Delta 4 / Piranha / Macmillan Group
  • Murder Off Miami - CRL
  • Mindfighter - Abstract Concepts / Activision
  • The Smirking Horror - Delta 4 / Destiny
  • The Lawnmower Man - SCi
  • Cyberwar - SCi
  • XS - SCi
  • Kingdom O' Magic - SCi
  • Carmageddon (co-producer for SCi) - Stainless Software / SCi
  • Robosaurs versus the Space Ba$tards - Smoking Gun Productions
  • Space Ba$tards: Sudden Justice - Smoking Gun Productions
  • Club Manager series - Smoking Gun Productions

More recently, McNeill has worked on the following apps:

  • Battleship - FinBlade / EA
  • Battleship for iPad - FinBlade / EA
  • Deadliest Catch - FinBlade / HandsOn
  • Grooveyard - FinBlade
  • Movie Quiz - FinBlade
  • Ninja Ranch - FinBlade / AppyNation
  • Pictureka! - FinBlade / EA
  • Red Bull GP - FinBlade / SSP / Red Bull
  • The Men Who Stare At Goats - FinBlade / SSP / Momentum Pictures
  • Tennis Slam - FinBlade
  • WordSearch - FinBlade
  • Fry - Virtually Stephen Fry - HeadCastLabs

Awards[edit]

  • Golden Joystick Award (runner up, 1985)[12]
  • CGR Golden Triad Award (1996)[13]
  • Sinclair User Classic Award (5 times)[14]
  • Amtix Accolade Award (1986)[15]
  • Crash Smash Award (twice)[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.thecwa.co.uk/links.html
  2. ^ "> Our Books > Eye Contact". www.hodder.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  3. ^ Micro Adventurer Magazine, issue 17
  4. ^ "Planet Sinclair: The Sinclair Industry: Publishers: Delta 4". Nvg.ntnu.no. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  5. ^ "Carmageddon Splat Pack - Credits". allgame. 2010-10-03. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  6. ^ "News: Rangers Football Coach announced". Gamershell.com. 2002-03-27. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  7. ^ Obrien, Stuart (2007-08-06). "FinBlade opens its doors | Mobile content industry news | Mobile Entertainment". Mobile-ent.biz. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  8. ^ "Hodder buys thriller from games developer". The Bookseller. 2010-07-20. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  9. ^ http://www.sincuser.f9.co.uk/040/advent.htm
  10. ^ http://www.sincuser.f9.co.uk/046/advent.htm
  11. ^ http://www.crashonline.org.uk/43/bsleaze.htm
  12. ^ Bored of the Rings, Adventure Game of the Year category: Golden Joystick Award#1985
  13. ^ Computer Game Review magazine, March 1996
  14. ^ Sinclair User magazine, issue 40 (July 1985), issue 46 (January 1986), issue 53 (August 1986), issue 57 (December 1986), issue 65 (August 1987)
  15. ^ Amtix magazine, issue 11 (September 1986)
  16. ^ Crash magazine, issue 32 (September 1986), issue 43 (August 1987)

External links[edit]