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Mark Evan Cerny (born August 24, 1964)[2] is an American video game designer, programmer, producer and entertainment executive. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Cerny graduated from The College Preparatory School and attended UC Berkeley.

Mark Cerny
Mark Cerny, Gamelab 2018 (43111149312).jpg
Cerny in 2018
Mark Evan Cerny

(1964-08-24) August 24, 1964 (age 55)
ResidenceBurbank, California, U.S.
OccupationGame designer, game producer, entertainment executive
OrganizationCerny Games
Spouse(s)Katsura Cerny
AwardsAIAS Hall of Fame Award (2010)[1]

As president of Cerny Games, which he founded in 1998, he 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,[3] and was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2010.[4] In the mid 2010s, Cerny served as the lead architect and producer of Sony's PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita video game consoles.


1985–96: First yearsEdit

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.[5]

Cerny's first major success is usually cited as Marble Madness in which he, at age 18, acted as designer and co-programmer.[6] He later worked with Sega in Japan and the United States, where he founded Sega Technical Institute and worked on various Master System and Genesis releases, most notably Sonic the Hedgehog 2.[7] Cerny was the vice president and then president of Universal Interactive Studios.[8]

1996–present: Partnership with SonyEdit

He has worked with Naughty Dog (on the Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter series and the first Uncharted game), Insomniac Games (on the Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank and Resistance series), and Sony. From his experience on the "dos and don'ts" in the game industry he has developed a teaching "method" for game development.[9] His method prefers a free-form, pre-production stage that explores a game's viability prior to full development.[10] For example, he advocates that if the first level produced does not excite players, the game idea should be set aside before too much effort is put into it.[3]

The International Game Developers Association awarded Cerny with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards (IGDA) in 2004.[5] IGDA 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."[11] He was described as "a master collaborator". His Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon games have collectively sold more than 30 million units.[12]

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."[4]

On February 20, 2013, at the global PlayStation 4 unveiling event Mark Cerny was revealed as the console's lead architect. He showed in-game footage of his own game called Knack which he developed for the console.[13] On September 21, 2013 Cerny was revealed to have been the lead architect of PlayStation Vita.[14] In 2014, he hosted a career retrospective for former Sega game designer Yu Suzuki at the Game Developers Conference;[15] he also hosted a Shenmue postmortem with Suzuki,[16] and discussed Shenmue III with him.[17] In 2019, Cerny once again revealed himself as the lead architect of Sony's upcoming game console.[18]


Cerny (right) presenting a lifetime achievement award to Amy Hennig at the 2019 Game Developers Choice Awards


  1. ^ "D.I.C.E Special Awards". Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Breeden II, John. "A Lifetime of Achievement". Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  4. ^ a b "MARK CERNY INDUCTED INTO AIAS HALL OF FAME". Archived from the original on 29 April 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  5. ^ a b Perry, Douglas C. "IGN: Interview with Mark Cerny". Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  6. ^ "The (Marble) Madness of Mark Cerny". Engadget. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  7. ^ Horowitz, Ken. "Interview: Mark Cerny". Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  8. ^ Ramsay, Morgan (2012-01-31). Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play. Apress. ISBN 9781430233510.
  9. ^ Cerny, Mark. "Method Lecture for GDC Europe".
  10. ^ McLean, John. "Gamasutra - Conversations From GDC Europe: Mark Cerny, Jonty Barnes, Jason Kingsley". Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  11. ^ Calvert, Justine. "IGDA Lifetime Achievement Award for Mark Cerny - News at GameSpot". Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  12. ^ "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. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2010.
  13. ^ "This is PlayStation 4: All the big announcements from last night". Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  14. ^ Leadbetter, Richard (21 September 2013). "Mark Cerny: lead architect of... PlayStation Vita?". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Meggan Scavio [@megganpez] (29 March 2013). "Mark Cerny & Yu Suzuki talking strategy for Shenmue III. For reals you guys" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  18. ^ Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStation -, Retrieved April 17, 2019

External linksEdit