Former ArenaNet art lead Jens Hauch passes away at age 46

    
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Mourning.

It’s always sad to report when one of the forces behind a game has passed away. Jens Hauch served as a longtime technical art lead at ArenaNet, working on Guild Wars 2. Last year, he left ArenaNet to move over to 343 Studios where he was working on Halo Infinite. Now, sadly, he has passed away at only 46 years old.

The cause of Hauch’s death is not specified, but there is a fundraiser up to help raise money for immediate death-related expenses as well as for his family’s stability if you’d like to contribute. Our condolences to the Hauch family as well as his professional and personal peers in the field at having lost him at such a young age.

Source: Twitter, GoFundMe

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Sigh. Life insurance. Here’s a little primer.

First, there’s no indication what he died of or how long he was ill. Many life insurance policies allow a pre-death payout to help with health expenses related to a terminal illness. Obviously, that means there’s no death benefit.

Second, unless he had group life insurance, he might have trouble getting individual life insurance if he had a chronic illness of almost any kind.

Third, many group policies require a waiting period. He may not have been employed at 343 long enough to qualify.

Fourth, if he had an individual policy, he may have taken a loan out against the value expecting to live long enough to repay it and didn’t, reducing or eliminating a death benefit.

It’s a terrible thing to lose your mate. A little kindness towards the widow hurts no one and allows people to express their sorrow and sympathy.

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Utakata

You know, folks think this person was rolling naked in money before he was opted off. And true, if I lived in tiny rent-a-cave (as I do now), making $100K plus salary as the internet here claims for his work, with no dependents, debts and/or outlying medical issues in a county that doesn’t cover that (I live in country that does), then yeah…sure, the skies the limit. But I strongly suspected he wasn’t in that position. Probably not dirt poor. But not really upwardly mobile either…

…so helping his survivors with funeral costs would be nice jester. As he likely contributed so much in life. /shrug

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Utakata

As an artist, this news makes me feel a little more mortal today. /sigh

R.I.P. And my thoughts and condolences to those who are most affected by this. /bows

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Bruno Brito

Rest in peace.

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Pandalulz

For as much as I don’t really dig Guild Wars 2, the art has always been spectacular, I’ll give it that. RIP.

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Daniel Miller

I am sad but confused. Dont these guys get 100k plus a year?

Why does he need a funding funeral?

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Richard de Leon III

Maybe he had debt(college is expensive for computer training), looks like has a family hes trying to support, maybe his medical expenses drained the savings, you never know. If you dont want to help you dont, thats the beauty of fundraisers, those that can and want to help have the option to.

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Armsbend

They do this every time there is a death. Why don’t these companies start adding funeral expenses as a very common addition to their health insurance? Our family has it – does 343 or ArenaNet not care about his family enough to pick up some of the tab?

Why are they so very comfortable passing it along to consumers? Do the developers not care about his family enough?

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agemyth 😩

No business-minded individual with any real power in these companies would ever come to the conclusion on their own to add such a benefit. Some of them would happily sell you a shitty life insurance plan, but who the hell under 50-60 years of age is going to throw money down that kind of pit.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I’ve had $150k in life insurance since my early 30s, I also have advanced directives to make sure I don’t run up a bill while wasting away on life support.

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agemyth 😩

You probably also are aware that most people don’t or can’t do that.

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Nate Woodard

LOL everyone should have a life insurance plan and some form of last will. I do. So does my wife. We are in our mid 30’s. I got life insurance about six months after I got married.

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3dom

$100k/year is a poverty now. Not enough to buy a house anywhere near the locations where you can get a salary like that. Also 1/3 of people with health insurance go bankrupt immediately after getting seriously ill in US.

Basically, today it’s pointless to work without share in the company.

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Armsbend

That is an exaggeration to the extreme 3dom. 100K is not pverty anywhere outside of NYC/San Fran. For Redmond it doesn’t make you rich but it doesn’t make you poor either.

This guy likely made more than that.

But who cares? Why aren’t his companies help pay for the expenses?

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3dom

Well, Google help – half of the salary pension for the SO’s of the deceased, permanently. Everyone else pretend they are too poor.

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Armsbend

I don’t follow.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Maybe he’s implying Google gives the family a life time survivor’s benefit perhaps at half that person’s salary?

He might imply that the company automatically gives life insurance at half a year’s salary in a one time payment (I know that’s a Walmart thing).

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Raimo Kangasniemi

They are companies and dead employees are no source of income to them. Not charitable organizations, but cutthroat capitalism.

The quicker game developers unionize and start supporting universal healthcare in countries that lack them, the better for them and their families.

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Vincent Clark

100k is not poverty ANYWHERE, period.

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Armsbend

Probably. Although I have never once lived in Monaco or Abu Dhabi.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

No reason for the guy not to have Life Insurance, I make a fraction of that guy’s money and I’m worth $150k once the toe tag goes on my foot.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

You only feel guilty if you choose to, personally I think we have enough worries in our lives to focus on the individual tragedies of people we don’t know personally, I mean I’ll vote for people that will improve the lives of broad groups in society that are less fortunate than me but cases like this guy are not my problem.

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Nate Woodard

WHAT?!

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Bruno Brito

Why aren’t his companies help pay for the expenses?

You know why.

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PanagiotisLial1

You dont want to know my salary then – I will say its below 5k and leave it there. I didnt know for USA 100k was poverty

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Armsbend

It is not. But 5K certainly is. 50K is the median for a family of four.

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Raimo Kangasniemi

Median income for a family with both parents working is about $69K. Third of income goes to healthcare insurance costs alone in an ‘average’ family of this type (what might be called ‘solid middle-class’). But that is median – like recent statistics showed, 44 % of Americans active in the labour force earn less than $18k a year.

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Armsbend

Yes – so this man was well above average.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Median income in Seattle is $100,630. Median household income where I live is higher than that and I don’t even own a house. Where you live makes all the difference.

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styopa

4 sentences, 0 actual truth. Not one of them.
That’s a terrible average.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

That’s actually false, an RN I used to work with recently bought a house and she makes 70,000 a year. My wife and I between the 2 of us make 50,000 a year and while we chose to purchase a new trailer with no mortgage we were capable of getting a house and were certainly considering it.

We live in New York State for context within 100 miles of NYC.

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Mikey's Bored

The healthcare system here is for profit, and atrocious, so it’s pretty likely that whatever his health issues were, they were enormously expensive. Combine that with any college debt, and other familial expenses like raising children…

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Raimo Kangasniemi

It’s US of A. The family could be to their neck in debt because of his medical care costs. Couple of days in hospital with tests can burn through a year’s earnings if his health insurance (assuming he had one) didn’t cover it.

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Armsbend

That still would not explain why this occurs every single time there is a death in the video game industry. Literally every single time. Do they all have debt? Unlikely.

But if 343 or AreaNet cares enough to make the brave and selfless (non-promotional) step of creating a twitter post and a gofundme page – why not kick in a significant portion of the expenses for this man’s beautiful family?

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Raimo Kangasniemi

I consider myself a science fiction fan, and quite often when even a major US author dies, there is a crowdfunder for medical costs and funerals. Mike Resnick, who published over 100 books under his own name (and more under aliases) died early this year aged 77 of cancer.

He was a popular author who won numerous prizes – including five Hugo and one Nebula awards – and his books occasionally got to betsteller lists, he wrote and published books (his own and edited anthologies) and worked both as an editor of a magazine and a minor publisher to the end. And his family had to do a crowfunder because of the cost of his medical care.

Of course, most authors and editors to minor publishers and magazines have to buy their own health insurance – lack of which plays a role in author suicides also. But they and the game developers all work and live in a society that puts profits to be made from healthcare over human lives.

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Armsbend

Our healthcare system is beyond broken that much we agree 100% on.

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Stormwaltz

It’s likely his income was the main or only one for their family.

Speaking only for myself (in the industry two decades now), the only place I’ve seen salaries approach or exceed $100k is the San Francisco Bay area. That’s necessary, because renting a room there is around $1000 a month, and an apartment with space for a family is over $3k a month.

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Armsbend

Even as a division lead? A lead of a division, like this man, doesn’t make 100K?

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Stormwaltz

Salaries in the game industry are generally lower than you might expect. There are a few companies that had wild success that skew the mean, but as I understand it, even they tend to hike bonuses rather than salaries.

Non-anecdotal salary data is difficult to come by. I was able to find this page on Glassdoor, which suggests the average salary for a lead artist is around $64k a year.

https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/lead-game-artist-salary-SRCH_KO0,16.htm

EDIT: For additional consideration

https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/unlivable-wages-in-expensive-cities-are-plaguing-the-video-game-industry/

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Armsbend

64K on a lead of anything is appalling. Thanks for the info Storm.

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Jeremy Barnes

I’ll just say that I’ve worked ‘normal business’ as a software developer/IT and had the opportunity years ago to go work for AAA developer making an MMO…I interviewed and and they gave me an offer…it was just about 35% less than what I was making currently (and I was already “underpaid” because of the perks of the job). They were legitimately confused when I was like I can’t accept an offer that low even if I love the license and think I’d enjoy the job.

All that aside, it’s insane that people making 100k can’t afford standard healthcare in the US.

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Bryan Correll

Gaming companies are notorious for paying less than other tech companies for similar work. They get away with it because a whole lot of kids get into tech because of gaming and really want into that industry.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

Pure artists likely get paid less than technical artists which bridge the gap between the arts folks and the engineering staff.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Guys I’m locking this. Why people think an obituary is the proper place to suggest denying a dead man’s family some sympathy pittance while they repair their lives is beyond me.