Indie developer Alec Holowka, who worked on several famous indie games like Night in the Woods and TowerFall Ascension, has been accused of sexual assault.
The accusation comes from award winning indie developer and activist Zoë Quinn, who wrote about the alleged sexual assault on Twitter.
Quinn says that Holowka sexually assaulted her multiple times while they were visiting Holowka in Winnipeg over a decade ago.
They say Holowka created an environment of fear, where they couldn’t leave and Holowka isolated them from their friends. Quinn says Holowka blamed them for the alleged assault, and degraded and berrated them constantly.
Quinn says they know of at least two other women who have had similar experiences with Holowka.
Quinn says she lived in fear of Holowka after the alleged assault, not attending multiple GDC’s because she couldn’t be in the same room as him. She was scared to speak up for fear of the reprucussions in exposing a beloved creator.
She also explained that after attending years of therapy Holowka reached out and apologized, and Quinn forgave him. She makes it clear she believes in “rehabilitation over punishment.”
She wanted to tell her story to show how the indie game community doesn’t hold abusers accountable. She says many of the “big names” in the indie community continued to work with him and knew about his behaviour but wrote it off.
Quinn was inspired to come forward with her story after reading Nathalie Lawhead’s own story the day before about her alleged rape by another industry “legend” Jeremy Soule, composer for The Elder Scrolls and Guild Wars franchises.
As someone who loves Night in the Woods deeply, reading Quinn’s story broke my heart.
It’s incredibly important to believe the stories of survivors, and I as well as many others wholeheartedly believe Quinn. Night in the Woods artist Scott Benson and others on the team said they had no idea about Alec, and he and that they’re “very sad and very angry.”
Many others in the games industry have been supported Quinn on Twitter, reaffirming the need to challenge the monsters in our industry.
For me Quinn’s story is another reminder that we still have a long ways to go to get the game industry and community where it needs to be. I respect Quinn so much for speaking out, the courage it takes to tell such a vulnerable and personal story.
I won’t be supporting Holowka anymore. I’ve unsubscribed from him on all platforms and I won’t be buying his games in the future. If that means I never play a hypothetical Night in the Woods 2 then so be it. For those who know how important that game is to me they’ll understand how serious this is.
There’s so many amazing indie developers out there who aren’t serial sexual abusers. Devs who are struggling to get noticed and supported. I want to highlight their work.
I hope you’ll do the same ❤️