Skip to main content

Night in the Woods developer Alec Holowka has died

Audio player loading…

Alec Holowka, co-founder of Night in the Woods studio Infinite Fall and a designer, programmer, and composer on the game, has died. Holowka's death was announced on Twitter by his sister, Eileen Mary Holowka, who has since locked her account. She did not specify the cause of death, but alluded to suicide, saying that Holowka had recently been supported by crisis services.

Holowka had been "battling mood and personality disorders" throughout his life, said his sister. She also made reference to recent allegations (opens in new tab) of past emotional and physical abuse by Holowka in her statement.

"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," she wrote. "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 awhile 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."

In a separate tweet, Holowka referenced the accusations against her brother: "And in case it's not 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."

Prior to his work on Night in the Woods, Holowka co-founded indie studio Bit Blot, and worked on games including Towerfall: Ascension, Crayon Physics Deluxe, and Aquaria.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US), Crisis Services Canada (CA), Samaritans (UK), or Lifeline (AUS). If you are outside of these regions, check this list for a hotline in your country. 

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.