A Capitol Hill fixture and longtime phenom of Seattle’s gaming industry passed away suddenly last week. Joe Waters, a developer who most recently worked as a lead with Xbox’s advanced technology group, died December 23rd. He was 43 years old. CHS was unable to confirm the details of the Melrose Ave resident’s death.
Waters worked on several top selling titles, including Tomb-Raider, Halo, and Half-Life. Friends and coworkers mourned Waters on social media as news of his passing spread last week. Clever Dunne’s will be holding a private memorial for Waters on January 6th.
Thanks Joe Waters for making me feel at home in a strange city. That fucking crazy grin made me feel safe and part of something. RIP ❤️
— Orthy™ (@adam_orth) December 24, 2015
Renee Gittins, a writer for the video game site Broken Joysticks, had this to say about her friend and mentor:
Joe himself had clawed his way to where he was in the game industry. He decided he wanted to make video games and forced his way into the industry by making his own video game from scratch, some 17 years ago, an extremely rare accomplishment for those times. He made every lick of it himself, from the art to graphics rendering. He would often recalled with a chuckle how, in his first interview, they asked him what parts of the game he had worked on and he responded “I don’t understand the question” because he made them all himself.
In those years since, he has become a core member of the game industry. His intelligent, programming talent and understanding of graphics rendering gave him immense value, but he was always treated everyone else as peers, no matter their background or profession. In these recent years, he has lead Seattle monthly industry nights that helped connect countless developers, from AAA to indie, from programmers to artists. He had a wonderful talent for helping people connect and has brought countless people together. Like his own friendship, the connections he helped established were deeper and more open than they ever would have been without him.