Whidbey crash victim was noted video game designer

Four people involved in two separate crashes died over the Labor Day weekend in Snohomish and Island counties.

Brian Wood, 33, of Vancouver, B.C., worked as a lead designer at Relic Entertainment, which specializes in 3D, real time strategy games. He was well-known in gaming circles as one of the brains behind the cutting-edge “Company of Heroes,” a game about World War II.

He also was a husband and soon-to-be dad. His wife, Erin, is expecting the birth of their child in November.

Wood was killed Friday on north Whidbey Island after an SUV crossed the centerline and struck his Subaru wagon.

His wife told their hometown paper, The Province, that her husband jerked the wheel to the right at the last moment, turning their car so the driver’s side faced the impact, sacrificing himself for her and the baby.

“He was the most amazing, warm-hearted man you would ever meet who loved his job, loved his family, and was just my rock,” she told the newspaper. “I am not quite sure how I am supposed to live the rest of my life without him. He truly was a gift and I wouldn’t change a thing of any of our moments together.”

Wood was originally from Colorado. He sang baritone with the Espiritu Choir in North Vancouver.

On Tuesday, websites for gamers were loaded with condolence messages.

“The loss of talent that helped produce a product of that caliber is only outweighed by the loss to his family and friends,” said one gamer, Bryan O’Hara, on the site GamaSutra.com.

His employer declined to comment but the company did put out a short message Tuesday. It said, in part: “Brian was the Senior Designer on the Company of Heroes franchise and a key member of the Relic family. Everyone here has a tremendous amount of respect for Brian and he will be greatly missed.”

Jacob Quistorf, 25, of Oak Harbor was riding in the SUV that crashed into the Woods’ wagon. He was fatally injured and trapped in the wreckage. He attended Oak Harbor High School.

Francis Malloy, 26, of Oak Harbor was sitting next to his friend, Quistorf, in the back of the SUV. Malloy graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 2002 and worked for his father’s diving company, WaterWorx Dive Service, as a manager and corrosion control specialist. He was taking classes at Western Washington University in chemistry. On his MySpace page, Malloy listed his pastimes as “scuba, cooking, videography, dance, rioting, the ocean and pretty much anything else that involves moving my body.”

Cathrine Halliwell, 26, died Monday in a one-car vehicle crash on I-5 near Arlington. She and two friends from British Columbia were heading home from a Dave Matthews Band concert in eastern Washington.

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