In a refreshing story of industry goodwill, Resistance: Fall of Man
and Ratchet & Clank
developer Insomniac Games has teamed with ABC's television program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to help a young boy who was recently paralyzed following an automobile accident.
The Lawton, OK boy, who counts video games among his favorite pastimes, was paralyzed last July when the family van lost control, collided with an oncoming vehicle, and flipped into a ditch. What's worse, two years prior the Westbrook family endured another tragedy, as James' father, then-SFC Gene Westbrook was hit by a mortar at an American camp mess hall in Baghdad, Iraq, an incident that left him paralyzed as well. On top of that, the day following James' accident, his father suffered a stroke, leaving him with further damage to his right arm and some memory loss.
James' mother, Peggy Westbrook, recovered quickly from the accident, but was left to take on the daunting task of trying to rehabilitate both her husband and son while raising the rest of the family. That task was made more difficult as the family had to maneuver two wheelchairs around their ranch home, which was not designed to be wheelchair accessible.
"We were immediately moved to do something special for the Westbrook family when we learned about their tragic situation and James' passion for video games design," commented Insomiac founder and CEO Ted Price. "For all of us at Insomniac, this opportunity to help such an amazing family with our game-making experience was a real honor.”
Insomniac developers marshaled their forces to produce what normally amounts to one month's worth of work in approximately one week's time, digitally inserting 9 year old James Westbrook's likeness into the upcoming PlayStation 3 title, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
“We've never inserted a member of the public into our video games, and we think it's incredibly appropriate that James will be the first gamer to enjoy that unique experience," added Price.
The episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which will feature an in-depth look at Insomniac's efforts to help James and his family, will air on Sunday, April 22.