Alec Holowka, who worked on Night in the Woods as a designer, programmer, and composer, has passed away after battling with mental health for many years. This news come to us from his sister, Eileen Holowka, who shared the news in a Twitter post on August 31st.
Alec Holowka is just one of the many men caught up in a string of sexual abuse allegations. Starting last week, many women have come forward to talk about their experiences with sexual harassment and abuse in the games development community.
On August 29, just a few days after the allegations against Holowka came to light, Night in the Woods studio Infinite Fall announced on their official Twitter they were cutting ties: “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. We take such allegations seriously as a team. As a result and after some agonizing consideration, we are cutting ties with Alec.”
In the same string of Tweets, Infinite Fall announced that they would be cancelling an unnamed project, and postponing the limited physical run of Night in the Woods. The iOS port won’t be affected, however.
In her tweets about her brother (pictured above, right), Eileen Holowka shares her sadness and grief, but also her support of survivors.
“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…We tried our best to support Alec, but in the end he felt he had lost too much.”
She was also quick to respond to those hurling insults at Holowka’s accuser.
“Alec *specifically said* he wished the best for [the accuser] and everyone else,” she wrote, “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.”
Regardless of any accusations, this is a tragedy for everyone involved. We encourage anyone who feels like they’re struggling to cope to turn to their local medical services, contact the Australian Lifeline on 13 11 14, or go to suicideline.org.au.