Indie game developer Rob Hale, also known as Squid in a Box, died of cancer earlier this month. Hale's partner, CJ, revealed the news in an announcement (opens in new tab) on the Steam forums of Hale's next game, Waves 2. Per Hale's final wishes, CJ has made the developer's games Waves (opens in new tab) and Waves 2 (opens in new tab) free to download on Steam.
"This was something Rob was considering anyway within the past two months as their health entered into more substantial difficulties," CJ stated, "I hope this can be seen as a parting gift to all those out there that haven’t yet played either of these games."
Hale's first project, Waves, was released in 2011. It's a mellow twin-stick shooter with a distinctive trance-beat and chiptune soundtrack. Waves was a standout release in those earlier days of the Steam indie scene, and remains well-worth returning to more than ten years later.
Hale's follow up, Waves 2: Notorious, will remain preserved mid-development due to the developer's untimely passing. "Over the years we were together they were always dreaming big and trying so hard to create the best game they could possibly make," CJ continues in their tribute, "Waves 2 will definitely remain incomplete. But that doesn’t take away from my awe and the pride I always had in Rob; to see someone so dedicated to their craft."
Rob Hale leveraged their experience in modding and AAA game development to pursue their passion independently, and the developer was kind enough to speak with PC Gamer (opens in new tab) back in 2012, offering advice to anyone looking to start making games.
In that interview, you can see the attitude of a person who loved what they did and wanted to share that passion with others. Making games was, as Rob quipped, "the reason I get up in the afternoon." Hale's body of work and the moving tribute left by their partner remain as a testament to that passion.