"Right until the end he was drawing, creating images for a new game many years off. It is in that game, and our past games, that he will live on. You have not seen the last of his amazing talent and spirit," Bethesda's tribute page notes. "We will miss him terribly, but he will always be with us."
A Long Island native, Adamowicz's video game work was first unleashed within Jaleco Entertainment's Xbox-exclusive Nightcaster series. Though that franchise failed to garner much critical reception, multiple reviews hailed the first game's visual direction. When Adamowicz joined Bethesda, his craft was pushed to the limit to create the modern style of the classic Fallout franchise. Fallout 3 launched in 2008, winning multiple awards and shipping nearly five million units by the end of the year.
Perhaps it was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, however, that will remain as the central piece of Adamowicz's legacy. The artist helped craft what would later be named Joystiq's Best Game of 2011. Since launching in November 2011, Skyrim has been played by over ten million players worldwide.
Though he was a part of some of this generation's most successful titles, Adamowicz was always humble. On his personal blog, Adamowicz wrote about how proud he was to see fans take his creations into the real world, creating life-sized versions of his Fallout 3 designs as part of elaborate costumes. "On a personal level, this is the best kind of award you can receive for working on a game," he wrote in 2009. "When someone goes to the trouble to build one of your designs at home ... Well, It's like Christmas morning."
In an internal Bethesda email thread congratulating Adamowicz on "the awesomeness of the Fallout 3 art book," the designer was humbled but was quick to give credit to his inspirations. "Mysterious pipes bearing mysterious fluids to mysterious locations is the essence of all science-fiction," Adamowicz told his friends, in an email thread shared to Joystiq by a friend who asked to remain anonymous. "I learned this from the embryo I found at the crash site. Its head was slightly translucent so you could see the limeade sloshing around in there. Limeade!" he joked.
More of Adam Adamowicz's work can be found on his personal blog as well as Bethesda's site. For those interested, Bethesda recommends donating to the American Cancer Society. Joystiq sends its sympathies to all impacted by the loss.