Former EverQuest, Vanguard developer passes away; colleagues raise money for his family


Please be aware that this post contains discussions of suicide, which we realize may upset some readers. Please read with caution and comment respectfully.

We’re sad to write today that a game developer who’s crossed our community’s path before has passed away: Matt McDonald, who most recently served as Technical Art Director at Amazon Game Studios. McDonald’s career as an artist, modeler, and animator was prolific; among the MMOs he worked on were EverQuest, Vanguard, and Hero’s Song, though he owned an animation studio that contributed to dozens upon dozens more video games and other projects, and of course, his Linkedin says he was attached to the “un-announced, ‘Billion Dollar Franchise'” at Amazon.

Former SOE and Daybreak President and current Amazon Games Studio General Manager John Smedley tweeted today about the loss to the community, passing along a link to a GoFundMe organized by McDonald’s colleagues aimed at helping his family cope with his loss.

“Words cannot describe the pain and seemingly endless agony the McDonald family is going through with the sudden loss of their beloved father and husband, Matthew McDonald. Matt’s life ended this past Saturday, November 9, 2019, from an ongoing battle with depression and suicide. He leaves behind his loving and devoted wife of 23 years, Tammy, and their three boys, Tyler, Gage and Gavin.”

Our deepest sympathies extend to Matt’s family, friends, and colleagues.


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Bruno Brito

As someone who was able to turn away from depression and suicidal tendencies…it really doesn’t go away. It stays with you, and it invades your thoughts from time to time. I was able, after 4 years of therapy, to condition myself towards nullifying said thoughts when they arrive, by thinking something else, but it’s never easy.

I don’t know how suicidal tendencies are for others, because i don’t allow myself to have those conversations with anyone, nor do i allow my friends, when they’re depressed, to talk about it, instead, focusing on trying to understand their pain and to get help, to explain to them that what we have is a disease, and not a condition of us being us.

For me, tho? It’s the rope calling. I think two years into therapy, i was constantly having urges of hanging myself, and the thought that would paralize me, was biting off my fingers so i wouldn’t be able to handle the rope.

It would also completely destroy the thing i most love in this world ( drawing ), so, it would set me into a path of no return, prisoner of a bodily shell.

As i went into therapy, i had my reality shock: During a heated argument with my father on the phone, i punched through a glass window, in a fit of rage. I had that bad habit for a while and it shredded my hand sometimes but never in a way that i would regret.

Heh. I got nine tendons on my right arm ( dominant ) ripped. I immediatly cooled off my fit, and realized what i just had done, and started trying to fix the situation immediately. Got my surgery done the same night ( thank god for public healthcare ). Had to go through heavy physiotherapy to recover my finger movements. Got a beautiful long scar and constant pains after a while drawing to remind me what it cost.

It was the dam i needed for the outbursts. Realizing that the only thing that i was destructing, following a philosophy of killing myself slowly was…well, me.

I had 27 years. And i still would have 27 years, and it wouldn’t change the fact that my father was drunk moron who shoved me with every insecurity imaginable. It wouldn’t erase the beatings, nor the hatred and anger.

I think it was actually what i needed to move on. And it’s that thought that hurts the most. That i needed to bust open my arm, to realize i had more to life than what i thought i had.

It doesn’t go away.


Matt. I don’t know where you are. I don’t know how it is. I don’t ever wanna know. Not anymore. But honestly, i think i can understand. It’s not easy being here. It’s never easy. There are days where you feel your body being just a heavy clump of useless meat, lying there, useful for nothing.

I would like to believe your pain is over. I’m also extremely sorry that your pain never goes away. It’s just that now, other people will feel it.

I hope people remember you for what you were: Someone who brought dreams towards fingertips of those who dreamed high. And i sincerely hope that you’re feeling better now. May your name resonate in history.

But life moves on. And i finally can say: So shall i.


Depression is a son of a bitch, man. It only has to get around on you the once. RIP to this guy and peace & grace to his family.


I can see it from both perspectives, obviously this man’s passing has left a hole in other people’s lives. That said depression is a deep dark hole, as some one that suffers through it (particularly during the colder months) that ending it can look like a viable option and that the existential crisis that leads up to some one making that kind of choice is (no pun intended) one of the biggest struggles one has to come to terms with. Now when I talk about the decision to end one life I’m not necessarily talking about suicide, in my line of work I see people make the choice to go on comfort care or hospice every single week (sometimes daily), that kind of choice takes a lot more courage than I would ever have at this point in my life.

Long story short I’m sorry for his family’s loss but I respect his choice.


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Be with the cosmos-

Be at peace forever, you were and remain a part of the human race.


It’s a terrible thing for any family to go through, families are never the same afterwards.

Please seek help if you need it, there are resources for you. I know it seems insurmountable at times, but just remember it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem:


Sad news :( I wonder how many games I’ve played and enjoyed that he had a hand in – you named two of them, so at least that. I wish I was in a position to help them out but if nothing else I hope they know that his work brought joy and excitement to tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of people around the world. That has to count for something.


My sincere condolences to his family and friends.