It’s always nice when someone’s hobbies and passions help them, or the ones who loved them, deal with grief and loss. We also love to see companies reach out to aid and/or immortalize their fans, much like Dying Light developer Techland did for their late superfan, David Acott.
Seventeen year-old David Acott was elated when his copy of Dying Light arrived in the post. He’d been waiting for weeks, even months, for the game, and his excitement was palpable in an unboxing video that he posted after finally receiving it. He even joked about the game’s age rating, quipping about the fact that he was technically breaking the rules by playing something that was rated for those eighteen and above.
“It is an 18, and I’m not 18 yet, so, uh, I’m breaking rules here, but it’s a great game,” he joked.
Thankfully, David was able to play the game that he had been waiting for and looking forward to so much. Unfortunately, though, just two weeks later, the well-spoken and seemingly genuine guy was in hospital being treated for a rare form of cancer that had been discovered in his lower abdomen. It’s thought that it developed as a complication of a life-saving liver transplant that he had undergone two-and-a-half years prior, which is upsetting to think about.
Before he left, David uploaded another video to his YouTube channel, where he shared the sad news with his followers, before switching gears to Dying Light and cracking a smile.
Sadly, David Acott passed away on March 11th, and was just two weeks away from turning eighteen at his time of passing. He left behind a loving family, including a younger brother named Howard who he had played lots of video games with.
“That last video… you could tell he was not well,” says David’s mother, Janet Acott. “Watching that one is difficult. At that point he still didn’t know that he was dying. We knew he had cancer, and that he was going to have to go into hospital and stay there for treatment… but at the time they were very positive, they said it was very treatable. But in that last video we had just had the news that the lump had not responded to the chemo that he’d had so far. You can tell he’s down, he looks miserable. But about halfway through, you just see his whole face lift, and his demeanour improve… he’s thinking he’s going into hospital and everything will be fine, so he’s making plans. He was very hopeful. And that was a week before he died. He didn’t know.”
What’s heartwarming about this story is what happened afterwards, and how the family was able to find help for their grief through David’s passion, that being gaming itself.
After his brother’s untimely passing, Howard reached out to Polish-based Techland to inform of them of David’s passing and let them know how much their game meant to his late sibling. After that, the idea of respectfully immortalizing David in Dying Light started to be kicked around. The studio didn’t want to step on any toes or make things harder for the grieving family, though, and made sure to reach out for permission before doing anything.
David’s mother Janet embraced the idea:
“They’ve really taken David to their hearts,” said Janet. “When I met Julita, that was the one moment… she welled up, I welled up, we all had a big cuddle. Nobody knew what to say. We were so overcome. Howard just stood there being embarrassed by us! I think that’s what’s so special about this. It had really touched her; you could tell that she really genuinely cared about the work that she’d done. It wasn’t them just doing a job. Everyone who’d been involved in the process wanted to say something to us about David. They felt a connection to him.”
Techland opened its studio up to both Janet and Howard, who flew to Poland to meet the team and take part in the project, and the end result is a touching mural that shows David holding a wolf, with the words “BadWolf” and “True Fighter” surrounding the image. This design was chosen as a way to not only commemorate David’s being and his passion, but to also incorporate his YouTube moniker, BadWolfGaming.
You can see the mural, and how to get to it, here:
We wanted to share this story because it shows how hobbies and passions like gaming can bring people together and help those who have lost something or someone dear to them. It’s an uplifting but also very sad story, and one that we wish hadn’t come true. However, Techland’s efforts and the resulting Dying Light mural act as a great tribute to someone who seemed to be so full of life and so excited about being a gamer.
Rest in peace, David Acott. Our condolences go out to those who knew and loved you.