Paul Howard Steed Jr., an iconic game developer who was famous for his work on Quake II and Wing Commander, passed away on August 11. The news was proken by the Jace Hall Show and confirmed by Wing Commander CIC. As of this moment, there is no known cause of death.
After a six-year stint in the United States Air Force, Mr. Steed started at Origin, where his first credited title was Strike Commander: Tactical Operations (via MobyGames). He went on to provide the art for the Wing Commander series as those games went into 3D. He moved onto id Software, where he achieved his greatest fame working on the Quake series by providing the art and the cinematic introductions for Quake II and III.
He achieved his greatest notoriety at id Software as well, creating the Crackwhore character in Quake II as a nod to a popular clan at the time. He was eventually fired from id Software after issuing an ultimatum demanding to work on what would become Doom 3 and moved on to work at WildTangent, Atari, and Microsoft. In 2006, he founded Exigent, a game art outsourcing house with offices in China and India, and served as its President and Chief Creative Officer. His last credited title was Sorcery, a Move-exclusive game for the PlayStation Network published by Sony Computer Entertainment America.
Paul Steed is survived by his wife and children.
Analysis: Though I don’t know and can’t find his official age without digging deeper than I’m sure his family is comfortable with at this time, by all accounts, Paul was in his mid-forties. That’s too damn young. He accomplished a lot in this industry and was known for being acerbic yet upfront and honest at a company (id) that was famous for similar personalities, such as John Carmack and John Romero.
Mr. Steed’s contributions will surely be missed, as will his insight and ability to call a spade a spade. He came from a different era, when developers spoke their hearts for the sake of improving things instead of just to be heard.