Firaxis, 2K and Marvel all worked together to let a dying fan play Marvel’s Midnight Suns before he passed away.
The fan, Luke Wiltshire, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as neuroblastoma when he was 14. As his story in GI.biz relates, last year Wiltshire received the news that there were no curative options remaining and that he would be moving into end-of-life care.
Upon receiving the news, he told his family that he wanted three things: a puppy for his mother to look after when he was gone, to eat a hog roast and to play Marvel’s Midnight Suns.
That last request proved difficult, as the game’s release date was still a year away. As a result, the charity Solving Kids’ Cancer, who had supported Wiltshire’s family since his diagnosis, reached out via LinkedIn to see what could be done.
The post, from the charity’s CEO Gail Jackson, spread rapidly – eventually making its way to Marvel’s Midnight Suns publisher 2K’s social team.
While 2K, Marvel and Firaxis were all eager to help, there was no playable build of the game at the time. Given such a short amount of time to get the game ready for Wiltshire, staff at the three companies worked “day and night to make the game ready for Luke” – and ultimately were able to develop a playable build of the game in just 24 hours.
Asim Tanvir, who was 2K’s social media manager at the time, volunteered to deliver the build to Wiltshire’s house. When the fan was told what was on the gaming laptop Tanvir handed to him, he burst into tears.
Wiltshire, who is listed as a game design consultant in Midnight Suns’ credits, was able to play and evaluate the first act of the game. Additionally, Marvel Games creative director Bill Rosemann, alongside developers from 2K and Firaxis, hopped on a video call to talk to Wiltshire about the game.
“2K, Firaxis and Marvel did all of this not for publicity, nor for any credit, or any personal gain. Their focus was about Luke, and him only,” wrote Jackson on the charity’s website. “They did this purely from the purity of heart that drives the very best of humanity. They put all workloads and personal plans aside and worked solidly over that period to achieve what should have been unachievable, on behalf of a complete stranger.”
Wiltshire passed away a few weeks later, on November 12, 2021, at just 23 years old. Alongside being listed in the game’s credits, the carving “Luke W was here” appears on a tree in the game’s Abbey. When he saw the tributes, Wiltshire remarked that he had been “forever immortalised in Marvel.”