Night in the Woods developer, Alec Holowka, died earlier this morning, according to a Tweet from his sister Eileen Mary Holowka. She included screenshots of a longer message detailing Alec Holowka’s history of mental illness and his own trauma from being abused. Sometime after posting it, Eileen Holowka made her account private, preventing anyone who doesn’t follow her from seeing her Tweets.
Holowka’s death comes days after developer Indie Fall announced on Twitter they would cut ties with Holowka following sexual assault and emotional abuse allegations against him from Depression Quest developer Zoë Quinn. The Night in the Woods team came to their decision “after some agonizing consideration.” Holowka was a coder, composer, and co-designer for the game. Infinite Fall also decided to “[cancel a current project and [postpone] the Limited Run physical release.” After cutting ties with Holowka, co-creators Bethany Hockenberry and Scott Benson announced they would continue to handle Night in the Woods on their own, including moving forward with an iOS port of the game as planned.
Eileen Holowka acknowledged the events of this week in her post. Her full statement earlier today read as follows:
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.
Over the last few years, with therapy and medication, Alec became a new person — the same person he’d 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.
I currently do not see a place for myself in games or on Twitter. I will not be looking at the responses to this post. I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me over the last few days. For anyone who is in a time of darkness, I encourage you to reach out for support. There are always people who will be there for you.
Sometime after this Tweet but before putting her account on private, Eileen Holowka made a follow-up comment, according to IGN, saying, “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.”