Rob Hale, the solo developer behind twin stick shooter series Waves, passed away earlier this month. Fans of the series have since flooded the series’ review sections with a community-wide outpouring of support, condolences, and other messages praising Hale’s work.
Waves First released in 2011, it gained a modest buzz as a captivating, competent twin-stick shooter from the top city with striking neon visuals. the second game, Waves 2: Notoriouslaunched in early access in 2015, building on the foundation of what made its predecessor stand out. Waves 2 has since received a slew of updates over the years, although it is still in an early access state. Both games were released under Squid in a boxthe nickname for Hale’s work as a solo developer.
Last week, Hale’s partner CJ published the “last” update on Steam regarding Waves 2, noting that Hale had died a few weeks earlier due to complications from cancer. After Hale’s death, both Waves and Waves 2: Notorious are free on Steam.
“This was something Rob had been considering anyway for the past two months as their health got into more serious trouble,” CJ wrote. “I hope this can be seen as a parting gift for anyone who hasn’t played any of these games yet.”
Over the past week, fans of Waves have published a slew of positive reviews on the Steam pages for both games. (Waves and Waves 2 both carried “very positive” reviews prior to Hale’s death.)
“This game is one of the best-feeling arcade-style games I’ve played,” one player wrote. “Rob, you did an amazing job and you gave it to us all for free. Thank you for your work – rest in peace and much love to your family. We will all make sure to watch and protect your legacy here.”
“May Rob rest in peace, and [fuck] cancer,” wrote another. “You left a legacy that fellow gamers like me will remember for years to come. Your spirit will live on.”
“The game world has lost [a] great indie game developer. RIP Rob,” said another. “You gave the game world a great game, well, two, but I didn’t play the second one. Waves was great all those years ago, now more people can enjoy this great addition to their Steam library – and they should.
That’s just a sampling; many more posts on the Steam review pages for both games are of the same kind. So often, at least in the gaming space, when a game suddenly gets a bunch of reviews in close succession, it’s negative – the bad faith collective action known as “review bombing.” This is the totally opposite scenario.
“I hope you all, whoever you are and however Rob’s games have reached you, that you can at least keep a special place for the Waves games,” wrote CJ. “But above all, I hope you can continue to feel the passion and love that Rob has put into these games long after the pain of their passing begins to fade.”