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Skillshot, January 31 2020

Georgia's Gaming Community Comes Together to Help Grant a Wish During Global Game Jam Weekend

Multiple organizations are bringing a child’s wish of creating a game about fighting cancer to life.

In a show of support for Make-A-Wish Georgia, several organizations in the Georgia gaming community have come together to fulfill Ethan’s wish of having his game about fighting cancer created and brought to market. Kennesaw State University (KSU), Skillshot Media, three developers from Hi-Rez Studios, KontrolFreek, and the Georgia Game Developers Association (GGDA) are working together to help create Ethan’s game along with student teams participating in KSU’s Global Game Jam, January 31 - Feb 2, 2020. 

“This game emulates my journey in the fight against childhood cancer. I couldn’t win this battle without the doctors, nurses, chemo, blood transfusions, friends, and ability to control germs,” said Ethan. “Sometimes you just don’t feel well, and sometimes you have counts so low that you can’t leave your house. This game will give cancer warriors the chance to still play with friends and stay in bed to do it. It also takes back the control from a disease that takes so much. The kids can use it to be stronger and more expressive in beating that nasty beast.” 

Global Game Jam is the world's largest game development event with multiple physical locations participating simultaneously. KSU is one of many sites in Georgia providing a place for students and game development enthusiasts to take on the challenge of creating a game in 48 hours. Ethan will meet with participating student teams from KSU and share his vision for his game before releasing the teams to work on an early iteration over 48 hours. 

“It truly is a privilege to give greater meaning to Global Game Jam by lending our expertise and talented students in helping Ethan realize his dream,” said Dr. Michael Franklin, an assistant professor of gaming in Kennesaw State University’s College of Computing and Software Engineering. “We are inspired by his personal battle with cancer and his selflessness in choosing a wish that will benefit so many others, and we very much look forward to building a game that reflects his journey.” 

At the conclusion of the event on Sunday, Ethan will sit on a panel to judge early versions of his game and select a winner to continue working on the project. Once a winning team is selected, they will receive ongoing mentorship from three professional game developers employed at Hi-Rez Studios, a Georgia-based game development company: Danny Wittenauer, UI & systems programmer on Paladins, Chris Malloy, Champion programmer on Paladins, and Jake Baker, gameplay programmer on Realm Royale. The three of them will donate their time to meet regularly with Ethan and the winning team to see the game through to completion. 

Skillshot Media, an Atlanta-based esports solution provider, will supply video coverage during GGJ weekend at KSU and video check-ins to update the public as Ethan’s game comes to life. KontrolFreek, the Atlanta-based creator of Performance Gaming Gear, will provide gift packs to the teams working on Ethan’s game, and a grand prize to the selected winning team. In addition, the Georgia Game Developers Association will promote the winning team alongside finalists in their annual Best in Georgia competition. 

“At Skillshot, we're all about building gaming communities, and what better example of the power of community than this?” said Kathryn De Shields-Moon, public relations & partnerships manager at Skillshot. “We are truly moved by the way Metro-Atlanta’s gaming community is coming together to support Make-A-Wish Georgia and make Ethan's inspirational wish come true.”

Since 1995, Make-A-Wish Georgia has been granting the wishes of local children facing critical illnesses. More than 20 years later, nearly 8,000 lives have experienced the impact of a life-changing wish. Make-A-Wish Georgia is a movement of ordinary people doing extraordinary things for wish families and communities disrupted by serious childhood illness. 

“A wish can be a transformational experience for our kids. Our wish kids believe the inspiration, hope and joy provided by their wish helped them not just feel better, but sometimes get better,” said Tim Earley, Make-A-Wish Georgia CEO. “With the help of an incredible gaming community like KSU, Skillshot, Hi-Rez Studios, KontrolFreek, and the GGDA, our hope is that Ethan’s wish will bring him the same life-change that so many our wish kids experience.”

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