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A look at how (and why) devs work memorials and tributes into games

A look at how (and why) devs work memorials and tributes into games

March 15, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon

March 15, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon
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"It can be a bit rattling to take my pain and anger and transform it into a game world. On the flip side, that is balanced by very beautiful scenes that brought me a lot of peace and closure as well.” 

- Matt Canei explores his own response to weaving his mother's story into Hanako: Honor & Blade.

Game developers have a long history of including secret Easter eggs into their games, but some of those subtle references have a deeper meaning.

PC Gamer has published a piece that looks at those in-game tributes of a more thoughtful nature. The story talks with a number of game developers who have, in some way, worked a nod to a loved one into a game they’ve released.

For example, Hanako: Honor & Blade creative director Matt Canei says that the multiplayer combat game was designed in a way that would represent his mother’s battle with cancer. He explains that the Hanako clan (so-named for his mother’s love of gardening) represents his mother while the opposing Yamai clan represents disease and death.

Writer Jana Solan van Geest worked a tribute to a team member’s late mother into Battlestar Galactica: Squadrons when seeking suggestions for ship captain names. 

“Someone decided that each ship should have a named captain, but a lot of the captains of canon ships in the show were never named. That meant I had a lot of names to come up with,” recalled Sloan van Geest. “I named a few captains after my friends who are fans, and I sent an email to the team asking them to submit names for the rest.”

“One of them named a captain after his late mother. He contacted me a few months later to tell me that his brother, with whom he had not spoken in some time, was playing the game, saw the tribute to their mother, and reached out to him.”

In addition to offering a list of well-known in-game tributes, the full story on PC Gamer also talks with more developers on how they’ve honored loved ones within games, some subtly and some right in plain sight.

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