Kindness and dedication gave a dying fan the chance to play Marvel’s Midnight Suns over a year early.
Feelgood Friday: How a Terminal Cancer Patient Became the First Person to Play Marvel’s Midnight Suns
Marvel's Midnight Suns just released, and the anticipation was especially poignant in one instance that saw a fan play over a year early. In a stunning display of humanity reminiscent of the heroes that star in their game, 2K and Firaxis orchestrated a chance for a young terminal cancer patient to play Marvel's Midnight Suns in its early stages of development, and become immortalized in it in the process.
Luke Wiltshire was diagnosed at just age 14 with neuroblastoma, a particularly vicious cancer that rendered him immobile for nine years. Unsurprisingly, Luke found solace in video games and Marvel as he underwent treatment. And there was one game that caught his eye: the XCOM-like Marvel's Midnight Suns.
However, it tragically looked as though Luke would not live long enough to get his hands on the game. That is until Solving Kids Cancer, a UK-based charity that had been supporting Luke since the beginning of his journey, stepped in with CEO Gail Jackson publishing a post on LinkedIn detailing Luke's plight.
What followed was a social media share-athon that quickly made its way to 2K Games itself. After getting in touch with Jackson, the gaming giant went into overdrive to try and ensure that Luke could play the game ahead of its final release date.
After putting in an overnight effort, the team managed to pull together a build of the title's first act, which was then delivered in-person with a gaming laptop to Luke - who reportedly burst into tears at the gesture.
Consequently, Luke became one of the first people to play Marvel's Midnight Suns, but a couple more surprises awaited. To tribute him and his early presence in-game, the devs engraved a tree in the game's 'The Abbey' location with the message "Luke Was Here". Plus, for his feedback in the early stages, Luke is in the credits as a Design Consultant.
Suffice to say, with the effort put in by the game's devs and the Solving Kids' Cancer charity, this is a story that warms the heart. Luke sadly passed away on November 12th 2021, a few weeks after achieving his dying wish. And the story can be summed up in this touching quote by Jackson:
"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. 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.
"It is not an overstatement to say that having been part of this experience has truly changed me. Being witness to the very best kind of people, bringing absolute joy, recognition, and validation to someone who has felt so invisible for most of his life has been truly awe inspiring."