September 15 2:47 P.M.
Brian Wood spent his life thrilling millions of faceless gamers, but his last moment was spent saving the lives of those he loved most.
Wood, a 33 year-old lead designer at popular game developer Relic Entertainment, was on his way back to his Washington home when his wagon was struck by an oncoming Chevy Blazer being driven by a 21 year-old woman believed to be driving under the influence. With his pregnant wife Erin in the passenger seat, Wood swerved his car to put himself directly in the path of the oncoming SUV -- a decision that ultimately cost him his life, but protected his wife and unborn child from harm. Two other passengers riding in the backseat of the Blazer were also killed.
"All the policeman say that if we had hit the car head-on all of us would be dead," Erin Wood told The Province. "At the very last second (Brian) braked really hard and turned right so that he would be put in the path of the SUV and not me and the baby, and that is the only thing that saved us both."
"He was always sacrificing himself for me and the baby," she added.
But while Wood's impossibly brave act left a permanent void in the life of Erin Wood, the same people who Brian strived to please with his work have returned the favor with a striking show of support for his bereaved widow.
A memorial trust was set up within days of the accident. Countless game developers, journalists and fans posted links on Twitter and Facebook, leading to literally thousands of supportive comments, messages and financial donations, prompting Wood to send an open letter to the gaming community to popular game blog Kotaku.
"Brian always told me about how close-knit and wonderful the video game community was, but I had no idea until this tragedy just how special a group it really is," she writes. "From all the articles and comments, to the emails and donations, I am simply stunned and so touched by the love, kindness, and generosity shown to me and my family."
At the time of his death, Brian Wood was working on Company of Heroes Online, a free-to-play version of Relicâ€™s award-winning strategy game. It's currently in open beta-test.
To help Erin, please visit the Brian Wood Memorial Trust .