Over the past few days, a number of women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault and emotional abuse against prominent figures in the game industry. One of those accused was indie developer Alec Holowka, best known as the co-creator of Night in the Woods. In the wake of this, the other two leads on the game – Scott Benson and Bethany Hockenberry – have cut ties with Holowka.
“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,” Benson writes on Twitter. “We take such allegations seriously as a team. As a result and after some agonizing consideration, we are cutting ties with Alec.”
Benson says that “going forward, Night in the Woods will be handled by Bethany and I. We’re not sure what that all means yet. This stuff takes time.” For now, the developers are “cancelling a current project and postponing the Limited Run physical release. The iOS port is being handled by an outside company and supervised by Finji and will remain in development.”
“Thousands of people have connected with Night In The Woods in a very personal way,” Benson says. “We can’t tell you how to feel about any of this. Whatever you’re feeling is valid. Your experience with art is yours. What it means to you is yours, regardless of anything else.”
The allegations against Holowka come from indie developer Zoe Quinn, who says they were “scared shitless to out an industry legend,” but “felt so sick watching more people get hurt and too many colleagues watch, shrug, and put him on stages.”
Holowka invited Quinn to live with him and a number of other indie developers at a single residence in Winnipeg, according to Quinn’s allegations, but Holowka then discouraged the other developers from moving in. Quinn says that Holowka was emotionally and physically abusive while during the time they were living at the same residence, and would keep Quinn “physically confined” inside the apartment.
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