Today, the team behind Night in the Woods responded to the abuse allegations against one of their team members. The team has taken swift action and has provided an update about the future of its games and its small studio.
Recently, Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn wrote a lengthy message in which they accused Night in the Woods developer Alec Holowka of sexual abuse. In their post, Quinn described a situation in which Holowka stranded them in Winnipeg after they flew there to meet him. Quinn detailed erratic and violent behavior from Holowka. Once Quinn finally escaped to their home and broke up with Holowka, it made him even angrier, and he got Quinn blacklisted from industry events.
The accusations brought more games industry abuse allegations into the spotlight. After Quinn told their story, several other people in the industry came forward with their own abuse stories. Other developers in the industry have responded with support for the accusers and dismay over the situation.
Through all of that, the Night in the Woods team hadn't made any statements regarding the accusations. Today, they posted a lengthy update with their comments on the Night in the Woods Twitter account. Only three developers made up the small team: Scott Benson, Bethany Hockenberry, and Alec Holowka. The Twitter thread, written by Scott and Bethany, informs fans that the team has cut ties with Holowka, who handled the programming for the game.
We 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.— Night In The Woods (@NightInTheWoods) August 28, 2019
I should say that I’m Scott. Hello. I run this account. I was the artist, lead animator, co-designer, co-writer, and the guy who wrote almost all of that dialogue in the game. Bethany’s here too, she was co-writer and researcher.— Night In The Woods (@NightInTheWoods) August 28, 2019
Thousands of people have connected with Night In The Woods in a very personal way. 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.— Night In The Woods (@NightInTheWoods) August 28, 2019
Thanks for your support over the years. We’re sorry to even have to say any of this. That’s all I can say at the moment. Thank you for your patience.— Night In The Woods (@NightInTheWoods) August 28, 2019
The thread also explains that the team has canceled a current project and has postponed the limited run physical edition of Night in the Woods. The in-development mobile port is in the hands of an outside company with third-party supervision and will still get a release, however. They also make it clear that, going forward, they will handle Night in the Woods alone, but that they don't know exactly what that entails at this time.
The Twitter thread has received a positive response from fans who support the team's swift decision to cut ties with Holowka. The allegations put the team in a tough spot, and they responded to the abuse allegations quickly and decisively. The thread ends with a plea for patience as the team figures out how they will move forward.
Holowka has not responded at this time.