2019-09-02 00:20:39 UTC
Night in the Woods Developer Alec Holowka Dies
Holowka's death comes only days after accusations of sexual assault were made against him.
By Joseph Knoop
Updated: 31 Aug 2019 8:13 pm
Posted: 31 Aug 2019 2:59 pm
Alec Holowka, a designer, programmer, and composer on Night in the Woods has died. The announcement of Holowka’s death comes from sister Eileen Mary Holowka on Twitter.
Alec Holowka, my brother and best friend, passed away this morning. pic.twitter.com/NONUNSZ08q
— Eileen Mary Holowka (@derangedpoetess) August 31, 2019
Eileen Holowka, herself a developer at a separate company and listed in Night in the Woods' credits as a special thanks, announced Holowka's death mid-Saturday, stating that Holowka died that same morning.
“Alec Holowka, my brother and best friend, passed away this morning," Eileen Holowka wrote.
"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.
"Over the last few years, with therapy and medication, Alec became a new person - the same person he had always been but without any of the darkness. He was calm and happy, positive and loving. Obviously, change is a slow process and it wasn’t perfect but he was working towards rehabilitation and a better life.
"In the last few days, he was supported by many Manitoba crisis services, and I want to thank everyone there for their support. I want to thank Adam Saltsman for staying up late talking with us and reminding Alec that there was a future.
"My family has and always will be the most important thing to me. Please give us time to heal. We tried our best to support Alec, but in the end he had felt he had lost too much."
Holowka was recently accused of sexual assault by another game developer, who stated that Holowka sexually abused them and confined them to his home in Winnipeg, Canada.
Eileen Holowka returned to Twitter shortly after her initial post to follow up with an additional comment.
"And in case it’s not already f****** obvious, Alec *specifically said* he wished the best for Zoe and everyone else, 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," Eileen Holowka wrote.
Those sexual assault accusations were later followed by Infinite Fall, the studio behind Night in the Woods, cutting ties with Alec Holowka. Infinite Fall's staff also decided to cancel an upcoming project and also delay the physical edition release of Night in the Woods. The iOS port of the game is being developed by an external studio, so it remains in development.
“This week, allegations of past abuse have come to light regarding Alec Holowka, who was coder, composer, and co-designer on Night In The Woods,” the official Night In The Woods Twitter account wrote on August 28. “We take such allegations seriously as a team. As a result and after some agonizing consideration, we are cutting ties with Alec.”
The accusations against Holowka were made in response to another developer's own accusations that The Elder Scrolls composer Jeremy Soule had raped her.
IGN has reached out to Eileen Holowka for further details regarding Alec Holowka's death, but she made a specific mention in her original tweet that she intended to stay away from the internet for the immediate future, as well as stating that she "currently [does] not see a place for [herself] in games or on Twitter."
Night in the Woods is a 2017 indie game about four friends who reunite in their boring hometown that's been hit by an economic downturn, and the game was a critical succe. IGN nominated it for the best story of 2017.
Joseph Knoop is a reporter/producer for IGN.