DJ Hero producer killed in car crash

Will Townsend, producer of Activision's turntablism game DJ Hero, has died in a car crash.

Gamasutra reports that Townsend, 33, died on Monday night in Los Angeles. He began his career in the game industry ten years ago as a tester for EA, working up through the ranks to assistant producer before moving to Activision. After overseeing development of several Guitar Hero games for Wii and DS he was appointed producer of the first DJ Hero game. In January he moved to Nexon America, publisher of online game MapleStory.

"I worked with Will at EA during the worst crunch I've ever experienced," Adam McCarthy, an animator at Zynga, said. "Will was, without a doubt, one of the reasons I was able to keep laughing and having fun at my job during the darkest period of my 19-year career in the game industry."

Another Zynga staffer, Amir Rahimi, added: "He had a knack for the creative, execution, and business aspects of the industry – all the traits that make a great producer. He was also the kind of guy that, no matter how serious a meeting, would find a way to make the room smile."