Ian Livingstone

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Ian Livingstone

Ian Livingstone during the Bafta Awards 2006.
Born (1949-12-29) 29 December 1949 (age 73)[1]
Occupation(s)Fantasy author, entrepreneur
Known forCo-creator for Fighting Fantasy gamebooks
Co-founder for Games Workshop
Co-founder for Eidos Interactive

Sir Ian Livingstone CBE (born 29 December 1949[2]) is an English fantasy author and entrepreneur. Along with Steve Jackson, he is the co-founder of a series of role-playing gamebooks, Fighting Fantasy, and the author of many books within that series. He co-founded Games Workshop in 1975 and helped create Eidos Interactive as executive chairman of Eidos Plc in 1995.

Early life[edit]

Livingstone attended Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, where, according to him, he only earned one A-level, in Geography.[3][4] He has kept his close links with the school and has visited it on numerous occasions,[5][6] including to donate money for a refurbishment of the ICT suite,[citation needed] and to present awards to GCSE recipients in 1998.[citation needed]


Games Workshop[edit]

Livingstone co-founded Games Workshop in early 1975 with flatmates John Peake and Steve Jackson.[7][8]: 43  They began publishing the monthly newsletter Owl and Weasel, and distributed copies of the first issue to fanzine Albion subscribers; Brian Blume received one of these copies, and sent them a them copy of the new game Dungeons & Dragons in return. Livingstone and Jackson found this game to be more imaginative than games produced in the UK at the time, and so worked out an arrangement with Blume for an exclusive deal to sell D&D in Europe.[8]: 43  They began distributing Dungeons & Dragons and other TSR products later in 1975.[9] Livingstone and Jackson organised a convention for their first time in late 1975, which became known as the first Games Day.[8]: 43  Because they were selling products out of their flat, customers would come there looking for a store that did not exist; because of this their landlord evicted them in summer 1976.[8]: 43 

Under the direction of Livingstone and Jackson, Games Workshop expanded from a bedroom mail order company to a successful gaming manufacturer and retail chain, with the first Games Workshop store opening in Hammersmith in 1977.[10] In June of that year, partially to advertise the opening, Livingstone and Jackson launched the gaming magazine White Dwarf, with Livingstone as the editor. Livingstone chose the title, which had meaning relevant to both the fantasy and science fiction genres: a white dwarf could be a reference to both a stellar phenomenon and to a fantasy character.[8]: 44  Livingstone ended his run as editor after White Dwarf #74 (February 1986).[8]: 48 

In 1980, Livingstone and Jackson began to develop the concept of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series, the first volume of which (The Warlock of Firetop Mountain) was published in 1982 by Puffin Books.[8]: 46  Livingstone and Jackson sold Games Workshop in 1991 for £10 million.[10] The pair, together with Bryan Ansell, founded Citadel Miniatures in Newark to make miniatures for games. Livingstone has also invented several board games, including Boom Town, Judge Dredd, Automania, Legend of Zagor, and Dragonmasters.[11]

Fighting Fantasy[edit]

In 1982, Jackson and Livingstone co-wrote The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the first book in the Fighting Fantasy series,[11] but following an instruction from publishers Penguin to write more books "as quickly as possible" the pair wrote subsequent books separately.[citation needed] The series had sold over 18 million copies as of 2017,[12] with Livingstone's Deathtrap Dungeon selling over 350,000 copies in its first year alone.[13] Livingstone wrote another twelve Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, including The Forest of Doom, City of Thieves and Caverns of the Snow Witch before marking the 30th anniversary of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain with a new gamebook, Blood of the Zombies, in 2012,[14] and with The Port of Peril in 2017 for the 35th anniversary.[12]

Video games[edit]

In the mid-1980s Livingstone did design work for video game publisher Domark; he returned to the company in 1993 as a major investor and board member. Livingstone later recounted, "After the success of Games Workshop, I retired, got bored, and invested in Domark to fund their cartridge development. I got in at just the wrong time - it was all going flat."[15] In 1995, Domark was acquired by the video technology company Eidos,[10] which had been floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1990, and formed the major part of the newly created Eidos plc, known for Eidos Interactive. In 2005 Eidos was taken over by SCi and Livingstone was the only former board member to be retained, taking on the role of product acquisition director.[16] Livingstone secured many of the company's major franchises, including Tomb Raider and Hitman.[11] He contributed to the Tomb Raider project Tomb Raider: Anniversary (an enhanced version of the original Tomb Raider game), which was released in 2007.[16] In 2009, Japanese video-game company Square Enix completed a buyout of Eidos Interactive and Livingstone was promoted to Life President of Eidos, a position he resigned from in 2013.[17]

In 2014 Livingstone appeared in the documentary feature film From Bedrooms to Billions (2014) a film that tells the story of the British Video Games Industry from 1979 to present.[18] In 2021 Freeway Fighters received an adaptation on Viber and messenger, created by a Talk-a-Bot chatbot company over Viber and messenger.[19] Livingstone was the non-executive chairman of Sumo Group from 2015 to 2022.[20] He is a general partner at Hiro Capital, which invested in Skybound Entertainment in 2022.[21]


In 2010 Livingstone was asked to act as the Skills Champion by government minister Ed Vaizey, tasked with producing a report reviewing the UK video games industry. The 'NextGen' report, co-authored with Alex Hope of visual effects firm Double Negative, was released in 2011;[22] Livingstone described it as a "complete bottom up review of the whole education system relating to games."[23] A school named Livingstone Academy was planned for 2021.[24]

Awards and honours[edit]


Fighting Fantasy[edit]

Fighting Fantasy First Adventures: Adventures of Goldhawk[edit]

  • Darkmoon's Curse (1995)
  • The Demon Spider (1995)
  • Mudworm Swamp (1995)
  • Ghost Road (1995)

Other works[edit]


  1. ^ "Officers - Square Enix Limited".
  2. ^ Green, Jonathan (2014). You Are The Hero. Snow Books. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-909679-38-2.
  3. ^ Yin-Poole, Weasley (16 January 2014). "What Ian Livingstone Did Next". EuroGamer.net. Gamer Network. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  4. ^ Admed, Emad (7 August 2017). ""Generation Z naturally collaborate": games legend Ian Livingstone on opening a school". NewStatesman.com. New Statesman. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Video game pioneer Ian Livingstone returns to his roots". MessengerNewspapers.co.uk. Newsquest (North West) Ltd. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Old Altrinchamians Centenary Dinner". MessengerNewspapers.co.uk. Newsquest (North West) Ltd. 12 April 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  7. ^ Livingstone, Ian (April 1975). "Editorial". Owl and Weasel. Games Workshop (3): 2.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  9. ^ Livingstone, Ian (July 1975). "Editorial". Owl and Weasel. Games Workshop (6): 10.
  10. ^ a b c McGrath, Melanie (2 June 1998). "A Visit to the Fantasy World of Ian Livingstone". The Independent. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d e Livingstone, Ian (2007). "Amun-Re". In Lowder, James (ed.). Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 9–12. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.
  12. ^ a b "Fighting Fantasy: The Port of Peril". Scholastic.co.uk. Scholastic Ltd. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  13. ^ Green, Jonathan (2014). You Are The Hero. Snow Books. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-909679-38-2.
  14. ^ Ian Livingstone, Twitter, 14 October 2011
  15. ^ "Ian Livingstone". Next Generation. No. 28. Imagine Media. April 1997. p. 95.
  16. ^ a b Boyes, Emma. "Q&A: Ian Livingstone on 10 years of Lara". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 26 January 2007.
  17. ^ "Eidos President and CEO Ian Livingstone departs after 20 years". Polygon.com. Vox Media, Inc. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  18. ^ "From Bedrooms to Billions (2014) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb.com. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Hungarian Startup adapts Freeway Fighter role-playing gamebook for chatbot". fightingfantasy.com. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  20. ^ Handrahan, Matthew (22 September 2015). "Ian Livingstone CBE joins Sumo Digital". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 28 November 2023.
  21. ^ Batchelor, James (19 May 2022). "Skybound Entertainment secures fresh investment from Hiro Capital, Knollwood Advisory and more". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2 November 2023.
  22. ^ "Next Gen. - Nesta". www.nesta.org.uk. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  23. ^ Harris, Phil (11 September 2010). "Ian Livingstone - EI10 Interview". Square-Go. Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  24. ^ Batchelor, James (16 July 2020). "Why Ian Livingstone is building a school". GamesIndustry.biz.
  25. ^ "The Special Award". BAFTA. 23 December 2011. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  26. ^ "2006 New Year Honours List" (PDF). BBC. 30 December 2005. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  27. ^ "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 8.
  28. ^ Kelion, Leo (29 December 2012). "Tech visionaries make honours list". BBC News.
  29. ^ "Bournemouth University announces Honorary Doctorates". Bournemouth University. 3 November 2011. Archived from the original on 4 April 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  30. ^ "Ian Livingstone OBE receives honorary degree from BU". Bournemouth University. 11 November 2011. Archived from the original on 24 November 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  31. ^ "No. 63571". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 2022. p. N2.
  32. ^ Robinson, Andy (1 January 2022). "UK games industry legend Ian Livingstone to be knighted". Video Games Chronicle. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  33. ^ OpenLibrary.org. "Dicing with Dragons - Open Library". Open Library.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]