Make-A-Wish Brings Young Cancer Fighter’s Gaming Dream to Life

Ethan Hunt has a big dream, but it's not just for himself.

Ethan Hunt has a big dream, but it's not just for himself.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been going strong since 1995, helping make the dreams of children facing serious illness a reality. And there’s a story coming out of north Georgia that’s a fantastic reminder why Make-A-Wish is so important.

Ethan Hunt is battling cancer. Sometimes, he just doesn’t feel well. Other times, he can’t even leave the house. But none of that is standing in his way of chasing one of his biggest dreams. Ethan wants to make a game about fighting cancer that lets kids facing the illness connect with each other. 

And Make-A-Wish is helping him make that dream a reality by partnering with several Georgia-based organizations, including Kennesaw State University, Skillshot Media, Hi-Rez Studios, KontrolFreek, and the Georgia Game Developers Association (GGDA).

During KSU’s Global Game Jam from January 31 to February 2, Ethan will meet with student game development teams and discuss his dream game. These teams will get 48 hours to build an early version of that game, and then Ethan will determine which build he wants to go with from there.

Dr. Michael Franklin, an assistant professor of gaming at Kennesaw State University’s College of Computing and Software Engineering, said that Ethan is an inspiration and working on his vision is a privilege. 

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. 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.

Following the Game Jam, the winning team will be mentored throughout the entire design process by Danny Wittenauer, UI & systems programmer on Paladins, Chris Malloy, Champion programmer on Paladins, and Jake Baker, gameplay programmer on Realm Royale.

Skillshot will provide video coverage during the Global Game Jam and at key points during the process so those interested can keep up with Ethan’s vision as it comes to life.

Of the project Ethan said:

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.

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.

About the author

Josh Broadwell

Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.