Saturday morning, Night in the Woods developer Alec Holowka was reported dead by his sister, Eileen Mary Holowka. She worked with her brother as a game developer at Infinite Ammo, working on #ProjectPotato. He was 35 years old.
Eileen delivered the news Saturday afternoon via Twitter, writing, "Alec Holowka, my brother and best friend, passed away this morning. Those who know me will know that I believe survivors and I have always done everything I can to support survivors, those suffering from mental illnesses, and those with chronic illnesses. Alec was a victim of abuse and he also spent a lifetime battling mood and personality disorders. I will not pretend that he was not also responsible for causing harm, but deep down he was a person who wanted only to offer people care and kindness. It took him a while to figure out how." (She has since protected her tweets.)
"Over the last few years, with therapy and medication, Alec became a new person—the same person he'd always been without the darkness," she continues in the statement. She goes on to say that Holowka was "working towards rehabilitation and a better life." In the last week, according to his sister, he received support from local crisis services in the Manitoba area, where he lived.
Holowka is known primarily for his work in composing and designing. He was billed as a co-creator on the 2017 adventure game Night in the Woods, developed under the Infinite Ammo umbrella. He also composed and coded on the project. Other projects he had a hand in included co-designing Aquaria with Spelunky developer Derek Yu, and composing Matt Makes Games' TowerFall: Ascension, among other games.
Earlier this week, Holowka was accused of emotional abuse and assault by game developer and comics writer Zoe Quinn. The allegation followed another public accusation from Tetrageddon Games developer Nathalie Lawhead, who wrote in detail about an abusive work environment, and claimed to have been raped by The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim composer Jeremy Soule while working there. Soule denied the accusations in a statement to Kotaku.
In the wake of Quinn's allegations, Infinite Fall, the team co-founded for Night in the Woods' development by Holowka and co-creator Scott Benson, distanced itself from Holowka publicly. It also canceled a current Night in the Woods-related project and postponed the Limited Run physical release. In a Kickstarter backer update, Benson notes that a contractor working for Holowka also approached them with their own allegations. Holowka at the time did not respond to our request for comment.
Eileen followed up her initial tweet of the news with another message, calling for a stop to harassment. "And in case it's not already fucking obvious, Alec *specifically said* he wished the best for Zoë and everyone else," she writes, "so don't use our grief as an excuse to harass people. Go outside, take care of someone, and work towards preventing these kinds of things in the first place."