Within the same week, several high-profile game developers were accused of emotional and sexual abuse by women with whom they had previously had professional or personal relationships with.

The shocking wave of allegations was prompted by Nuovo Award-winning indie-developer Nathalie Lawhead, who on August 26th published an extensive blog post to her personal website, which included screenshots of e-mails allegedly exchanged between Lawhead and her abuser, detailing the abuse she received from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim composer Jeremy Soule:

“He talked about the mystical power women hold over men with sex. How men are helpless and they need sex. How he needs sex, and a relationship, so he can write his music.

He talked about how composing is sexual, and how he will write about sex as inspiration in his music. He talked about how performing music is very sexual. He wrote songs about women that he had relationships with this way. What he does to women, is what inspires his music.

The work he composed for video games is based on this. He “needs women to inspire him”… there was so much of this, very uncomfortable inappropriate stuff (inappropriate even for friends), and it kept getting darker and darker.

He made advances on me and I explained that I didn’t want this and wanted a friendship. He was very threatening, and didn’t listen. He made it clear that it’s “him or bust.”

He raped me.

Throughout this time Jeremy acted like a victim, and blamed women he was in relationships with (or forced relationships on) for what he was doing.”

Allegedly inspired by Lawhead’s story and bravery, Goddess Mode and Hellcat author Zoe Quinn alleged that she had been “sexually assaulted” and abused by Aquaria and Night in the Woods designer Alec Holowka:

Quinn specifically wrote:

“While I was in Winnipeg he slowly isolated me from everyone else in my life while absolutely degrading me whenever we were alone. He convinced me to talk the 3 friends out of getting a shared place with me there. He convinced me to let him program my game instead of the friend I had been working with, despite many protests. He screamed at me for over an hour once because of the tone in my voice when I said hello. He wouldn’t let me leave the apartment without him and refused to give me the code to get in.

About the sexual assault, he blamed me. He said he was jealous of me, to be wanted like that. He’d bring it up during sex, where he’d regularly be mean and violent. He told me he loved me, in a way no one else would, because he could see that I was terrible and he loved me anyway. And I bought it, because that’s how you feel when you’re recovering from being sexually assaulted.”

Following Quinn’s allegations, Holowka’s fellow Night in the Woods developers announced that they would be parting ways with Holowka due to the allegations, and that Night in the Woods would now be handled by Scott Benson and Bethany Hockenberry:

After hearing of Lawhead and Quinn’s accusations, tabletop role-playing game and Dungeons & Dragons content creator Adelaide Gardner came forward to recount her own tale of the abuse she received from Halo: Master Chief Collection (PC) and Gears of War 4 developer Luc Shelton:

The women opening up and naming their accusers were soon joined by software engineer and video game developer Nicole Leffel who related their story of abuse at the hands of Alex Lifschitz, who was ironically a founding member of Quinn’s Crash Override Network, an organization which seeks to provide help and resources to those experiencing online abuse:

As of writing, none of the accused developers have issued a public statement regarding their respective accusations.

  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi

    Spencer is the Editor for Bounding Into Comics. A life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Ben Reilly is the best version of Spider-Man. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.