Alec Holowka, a developer on Night in the Woods and other independent video games, died Saturday morning, according to his sister. The news comes days after allegations began to circulate against Holowka, as multiple people accused him of abusive behaviour.
“Alec Holowka, my brother and best friend, passed away this morning,” wrote Eileen Holowka in a Twitter post on Saturday. “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.”
Eileen Holowka added that her brother had spent the past few days getting support from crisis services in Manitoba, the Canada province in which he lived. She said in recent years, her brother had become a “new person” and was “working towards rehabilitation and a better life”.
The allegations against Alec Holowka began on Monday night, with game developer Zoe Quinn accusing him of emotional and sexual abuse. On Wednesday, fellow Night in the Woods developer Scott Benson said he and his wife Bethany Hockenberry were cutting ties with Holowka, noting in an update to Kickstarter backers that there was much more to the story than just one accusation. Other game developers shared corroboration and words of support throughout the week, and on Thursday, another woman said Holowka attempted to remove her from a game they were working on after she rejected his advances.
Following Eileen Holowka’s tweet about her brother’s death, she offered a response to those who had come out to point fingers and cast blame. “And in case it’s not already fucking obvious, Alec *specifically said* he wished the best for Zoë and everyone else, so don’t use our grief as an excuse to harass people,” she wrote. “Go outside, take care of someone, and work towards preventing these kinds of things in the first place.”
This news closes out a turbulent week for the gaming world, one that began with a rape accusation against Skyrim composer Jeremy Soule and has led a number of people to share stories of sexual abuse in the video game industry.
Screenshot: Night in the Woods