Over the years video games have become a more accepted, and normal medium of entertainment, growing and developing into a community of fans and game designers alike. You hear lots of stories of fans getting together to discuss and play their favorite games, making friends across the world through the use of online multiplayer gaming, and people of all ages and genders enjoying games of all kinds. We are all gamers, and we are all people who share that bond. Whats often forgotten is how video game developers are just as much a part of that community as their fans, making games, spending long hours to perfect things, and putting a bit of their very being into every game they create. Being part of the community gives developers and video game publishers a unique position to honor their fans with, and they do so in such amazing ways. This is a gathering of those stories of developers who have heard fan stories, who understand the heartbreak of losing a dear friend or loved one. This is how game developers have gone above and beyond to honor those who have set the controller down one last time.
In January of 2016, a man named Adam and his wife Rebecca suffered a tragic loss, losing their teenage daughters Trinity and Lena to an electric fire in their home. Adam is a very active member of the Halo community and his devastating loss reached the ears of said community, bringing forth an outpouring of support in the form of prayers and financial assistance to help through this trying time. The story reached the ears of Halo’s development Staff who decided to show their support as well. To do this, they released a game update with a new Requisition pack called Spartans Never Walk Alone. This pack gifts players with the first animated Emblem for Halo 5 called True Light, pictured below.
“True Light” is named after the initials of Adams daughters, using their initials of ‘T’ and ‘L’ as well as adding their names among the constellations of the map “Torque”
Those of you who have found yourselves in Rorikstead while traversing the wilds of Skyrim, may have met a young man named Erik the Slayer. This particular NPC was based off a fan named Erik West, who became known by game developers Bethesda thanks do his extensive knowledge of their former game “Oblivion“. West was given a full tour of Bethesda’s game studios, and promised to have an NPC named after him in the upcoming game. Unfortunately West passed away due to cancer in 2011. Thanks to the efforts of Bethesda developers however, Erik West will live on forever as a mighty warrior and loyal companion to the Dragonborn.
In 2013, “Mechwarriors Online” was in full swing, allowing players to battle each other in massive robotic mech suits. Two particularly passionate fans of the game was Jon and Sarah, a father and daughter mech fighting duo who enjoyed playing the game together. Sarah Parries was 5 years old and enjoyed nothing better than her stuffed animals and helping her dad play, while also regularly beating much older mech pilots. Unfortunately, in May of that year, cancer claimed the young warrior as it’s next victim when she lost her fight against brain cancer. Mechwarriors Online developer Pirahna Games decided to honor their youngest fan in a way that would immortalize her, and help others with their own battles against cancer. From May to August, they started the fundraiser “Sarah’s Mech”, in which they sold in game mech suits, specially designed after Sarahs favorite Mech suit, the “Jenner“. These specialized mech suits sold for $10 a piece and were customized with a pony, rainbow, teddy bear, and a pink peace symbol. During the time the fundraiser ran, they collected $122,300, all of which was donated to the Canadian Cancer Society.
I’ve been asked before, why I enjoy gaming so much, why I have such a passion. Gaming allows people to go on adventures, and do things they never could otherwise. More than that though, gamers are a part of a community of people who share that passion, and because of that, things like this happen. Game developers are in a unique position to honor their fans in a way no other medium really can, and it happens more often than you might realize. These sorts of stories bring a tear to the eye, but they also make you smile knowing that even though these incredible people have passed on, they will never be forgotten. The legends will pass down through time, and thanks to game developers who put in the extra effort, these gamers can continue to go on adventures forever.