Pokémon Creative Design Director and Professor Layton Puzzle Master Pass Away

Pokémon Creative Design Director and Professor Layton Puzzle Master Pass Away

Pokémon's Eric Medalle and Professor Layton's Akira Tago darken March with their deaths.

There's been some sad news amidst the hustle and bustle of GDC 2016. Two prominent industry figures passed away this month: Professor Layton "Puzzle Master" Akira Tago, and Pokémon Creative Design Director, Eric Medalle.

Akira Tago died on March 6 at age 90 after a struggle with interstitial pneumonia. Tago was extremely academic. In addition to his puzzle work with the Professor Layton series, he published a popular, long-running series of quiz books called Atama no Taiso. He was also the chairman of the Japan Creativity Society, as well as president of Tokyo Future University.

Tago's often-devious puzzles are the heart, blood, and soul of the critically-acclaimed Professor Layton games. His work is appreciated, and he will be missed.

Though Tago's death was noted by some outlets on the day it happened, he's being widely remembered alongside Eric Medalle, who died in a particularly sad manner. The illustrator was killed in Seattle on March 13 when a windstorm snapped an evergreen tree in Seward Park and fell on his vehicle. Medalle was driving with one of his two daughters, a toddler, when the accident happened. Fortunately, she suffered only minor injuries. Medalle was 42.

Medalle's works include artwork for Pokémon Black and White, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Pokémon X and Y, and Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. He also designed the logos for Pokémon X and Y, and Pokémon Dream Radar.

Our first thoughts are with the families of Mr Tago and Mr Medalle. We're also soberly reminded that the people who make the games we love are mortal, and won't be with us forever. Some, like Mr Tago, depart after a long and fruitful career. Others, like Mr Medalle and Mr Iwata, are taken suddenly.

In both instances, it's beneficial to remember that game designers and programmers are hard-working human beings, even if we're far more familiar with their works than their faces. To everyone who dedicates themselves to the pastime we love, and to everyone who has, we thank you for your work.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

Related articles

Stardew Valley Just Got Beaches, Fish Tanks, Swimming Ducks, and a Whole Lot More

Nearly five years on, Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone just pushed what he says is Stardew's "biggest update yet."

Alien: Isolation Is Free on Epic and Just As Good as It Was in 2014

Get the motion tracker and don't go in the vents.

Shigeru Miyamoto Expresses Confidence in the Younger Generation of Nintendo

The legendary creator says the spirit will stay alive.

You may also like

Press Start to Continue

A look back on what we tried to accomplish at USgamer, and the work still to be done.

Mat's Farewell | The Truth Has Not Vanished Into Darkness

This isn't the real ending, is it? Can't be.

Eric's Farewell | Off to Find a New Challenger

It's time for us to move on, but we'll carry USG with us wherever we go.