Mark Cerny, 2010
|Born||August 24, 1964|
Mark Cerny (born August 24, 1964) is an American video game industry figure who has worked as a game designer, programmer, producer and business executive. As president of Cerny Games, which he founded in 1998, he now acts as a consultant in the video game industry. In 2004, he was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Game Developers Association, and in 2010 he was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was announced as the lead architect of the Sony PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.
First years (1985–1995)
Cerny, a fan of computer programming and arcade games, started in the game industry at the age of 17 when he joined Atari in 1982. In those earlier days of professional game development, teams were small and each member was responsible for a wider range of roles than today.
Cerny's first major success is usually cited as Marble Madness in which he, at age 18, acted as designer and co-programmer. For years he worked with Sega in Japan and the United States, where he worked on various Master System and Genesis releases, most notably Sonic the Hedgehog 2. He was the vice president and then president of Universal Interactive Studios.
Partners with Sony (1996—present)
He has worked extensively with Naughty Dog (on the Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter series and the first Uncharted game), Insomniac Games (on the Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet and Clank and Resistance series), and Sony. From his extensive experience on the "dos and don'ts" in the game industry he has developed a teaching "method" for game development. His method prefers a free-form, pre-production stage that explores a game's viability prior to full development. For example, he advocates that if the first level produced doesn't excite customers, then the game idea should be set aside before too much effort is put into it.
The International Game Developers Association awarded Cerny with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards (IGDA) in 2004. IGNA stated, "It's rare to find a 'jack-of-all-trades' who not only has the high-level vision for great game design but can act as the glue to adhere all the pieces together. His unusual but highly effective methodology has brought us some of the most entertaining games in history." He was described as "a master collaborator". His Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon games have collectively sold more than 30 million units.
In 2010, at the 13th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, Mark Cerny was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. "Mark Cerny is the closest we have come to a modern-day Da Vinci," said Joseph Olin, then-president of the AIAS. "What he does isn't restricted to a single aspect of game creation, he really is a Renaissance man. He is a diversely accomplished game designer, producer, programmer and technologist, fluent in Japanese and one of the foremost Western experts on the Japanese game market. He's also one of the only top-level independents in a business dominated by institutions."
On February 20, 2013 at the global Sony PlayStation 4 unveiling event in New York City Mark Cerny was revealed as the console's lead architect. He also showed in-game footage of his own new game called Knack which he is developing for the console. On September 21, 2013 Cerny was revealed to have been the lead architect of PlayStation Vita. In 2014, he hosted a career retrospective for former Sega game designer Yu Suzuki at the Game Developers Conference; he also hosted a Shenmue postmortem with Suzuki, and discussed Shenmue III with him.
- Major Havoc (1983, arcade) — Programmer, Designer
- Marble Madness (1984, arcade) — Programmer, Designer
- Shooting Gallery (1987, Master System) — Programmer, Designer
- Missile Defense 3-D (1987, Master System) — Programmer, Designer
- Shanghai (1988, port to Master System) — Programmer
- California Games (1989, port to Master System) — Programmer
- Dick Tracy (1990, Genesis) — Programmer, Designer
- Kid Chameleon (1991, Genesis) — Programmer, Designer
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992, Genesis) — Producer
- Crash ‘n Burn (1993, 3DO) — Programmer, Designer
- Total Eclipse (1994, 3DO) — Programmer, Designer
- Disruptor (1996, PlayStation) — Executive Producer, Designer
- Crash Bandicoot (1996, PlayStation) — Executive Producer
- Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (1997, PlayStation) — Producer, Designer
- Spyro the Dragon (1998, PlayStation) — Executive Producer, Designer
- Crash Bandicoot: Warped (1998, PlayStation) — Executive Producer, Designer
- Spyro the Dragon 2: Ripto's Rage! (1999, PlayStation) — Executive Producer
- Crash Bash (2000, PlayStation) — Producer, Designer
- Spyro: Year of the Dragon (2000, PlayStation) — Design Consultant
- Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001, PS2) — Programmer
- Ratchet & Clank (2002, PS2) - Designer
- Jak II (2003, PS2) — Programmer, Designer
- Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (2003, PS2) — Designer
- Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (2004, PS2) — Design Consultant
- Resistance: Fall of Man (2006, PS3) — Design Consultant
- Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (2007, PS3) — Design Consultant
- Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (2007, PS3) — Design Consultant
- Resistance 2 (2008, PS3) — Designer
- God of War III (2010, PS3) — Design Consultant
- Killzone 3 (2011, PS3) — Design Consultant
- Knack (2013, PS4) - Director
- Breeden II, John. "A Lifetime of Achievement". www.gameindustry.com. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
- "MARK CERNY INDUCTED INTO AIAS HALL OF FAME". Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Perry, Douglas C. "IGN: Interview with Mark Cerny". pc.ign.com. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
- Horowitz, Ken. "Interview: Mark Cerny". www.sega-16.com. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
- Cerny, Mark. "Method Lecture for GDC Europe".
- McLean, John. "Gamasutra - Conversations From GDC Europe: Mark Cerny, Jonty Barnes, Jason Kingsley". www.gamasutra.com. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
- Calvert, Justine. "IGDA Lifetime Achievement Award for Mark Cerny - News at GameSpot". www.gamespot.com. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
- "Production Genius Mark Cerny to Receive IGDA's Lifetime Achievement Award at 4th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards". International Game Developers Association. February 9, 2004. Retrieved March 16, 2010.
- "This is PlayStation 4: All the big announcements from last night". Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Leadbetter, Richard (21 September 2013). "Mark Cerny: lead architect of... PlayStation Vita?". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 21 September 2013.