Mike Bithell

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Mike Bithell
Mike bithell GDC Europe 2013 cropped.jpg
Bithell at GDC Europe, 2013
Nationality British
Occupation Video game developer
Years active 2010–present
Known for Thomas Was Alone, Volume
Website www.mikebithellgames.com

Mike Bithell is a British video game designer and developer, best known for his work on Thomas Was Alone which received critical acclaim and (the more recent) Volume video game.


Bithell independently developed an early version of the Thomas Was Alone video game in 2010 while working for Blitz Games, where he was a junior designer, and later a designer, from 2007 to 2011.[1][2] He developed the prototype game in 24 hours and released it for free online through the Kongregate website, receiving 100,000 'plays' in the first week.[3] He joined Bossa Studios in February 2011, working to expand the flash-based Thomas to a full title and learning how to use the Unity engine in his time there.[4] The full game was released on 30 June 2012 and went on to sell over a million copies, winning a BAFTA at the 9th British Academy Games Awards in the "Best Performer" category (for narrator Danny Wallace) and receiving a further two nominations ("Best Original Music" and "Best Story").[3][5][6][7] He left Bossa in January 2013 to "concentrate on indie development".[2][4] He since worked on a Robin Hood-based stealth game named Volume, which was released on 18 August 2015 for Windows, OS X, and PlayStation 4 and Vita platforms.[8] In 2016, Bithell released EarthShape, a virtual reality game for Google Daydream. Bithell collaborated with composer Russell Shaw and animator Tim Borelli on the project. The game featured voice acting from British comedian Sue Perkins.[9] In August 2017, Bithell released a new game Subsurface Circular, a first of what he calls "Bithell Shorts" that are designed as short, focused narrative games.[10]

Bithell has gained significant notability in the video game industry due both to the unexpected success of Thomas and also for his views on the current industry as a whole.[5][8][11][12][13] He has outlined the problems for fellow indie developers producing mobile games, commenting on the suitability of free-to-play mechanics for indie gaming and other issues.[8][14][15]


  1. ^ Chapple, Craig (2013-02-04). "Mike Bithell leaves Bossa Studios". Develop. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  2. ^ a b Gera, Emily (2013-02-04). "Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell leaves Bossa Studios to begin new projects". Polygon. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  3. ^ a b Rivera, Joshua (2015-01-18). "Meet Mike Bithell, the man who's reinventing Robin Hood". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  4. ^ a b Weber, Rachel (2013-02-04). "Bithell leaves Bossa to go it alone". GamesIndustry. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  5. ^ a b Webster, Andrew (2015-03-26). "After a hit game, indie developers struggle to replicate success". The Verge. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  6. ^ Martin, Liam (2013-02-12). "Journey dominates BAFTA Video Game Awards 2013 nominations". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  7. ^ Nichols, Scott (2013-03-05). "Journey, Dishonored dominate BAFTA Video Game Awards 2013". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  8. ^ a b c Griffiths, Daniel Nye (2014-08-06). "With 1m Sales For Thomas Was Alone, Mike Bithell Launches Volume Trailer Ahead of E3". Forbes. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  9. ^ Conditt, Jessica (2016-10-04). "'Great British Bake Off' host stars in a Daydream VR game". Engadget. Retrieved 2017-08-17. 
  10. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (2017-08-17). "Thomas Was Alone dev's new game is a modern take on the text adventure". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2017-08-17. 
  11. ^ Stefan L (2015-03-20). "Interview: Mike Bithell On Volume, A Fear Of Failure & Our Virtual Reality Future". TheSixthAxis. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  12. ^ Bithell, Mike (2015-03-23). "Mike Bithell's golden rules for media". GamesIndustry. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  13. ^ Hawkins, Zoe (2015-03-26). "Cadence launches Noodle Starter and Mike Bithell tells indies how to deal with the press". Lazygamer. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  14. ^ Hurley, Leon (2014-07-17). "Mike Bithell on Why Indie Isn't Indie Anymore". Kotaku. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  15. ^ Clarke, Russell (2014-05-15). "Mike Bithell: Indies, stay off of mobile until you've "built a name for yourself"". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 

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