Hello, I'm Isaiah Everin Cooper, a Senior Combat Designer at Crystal Dynamics. I have a Professional Certificate in Game Development focusing on Level Design from SMU Guildhall. I am also a Columbia University graduate with a BA in Creative Writing, a supplementary focus in Film Studies, and a background in Film Production.
My greatest development strength is the speed and efficiency with which I solve problems and implement content. I am able to rapidly develop all kinds of work, whether prototype gameplay, robust scripting solutions, or detailed technical documentation.
I easily maintain a strong holistic vision of a project when developing gameplay. I often act as a hybrid producer/designer, as I always have a heavy mental focus on efficient and scope-aware development. My favorite aspects of design are initial paper design, prototyping and proving out systems, developing tools for efficient content creation, and cross-department management.
I'm particularly interested in the union between game design and storytelling, and so it is a personal goal of mine to contribute to strong narrative design in the games that I work on where I can. As a writer, I possess a penchant for story structure, strong themes, and world-building, as well as technical writing as needed.
From childhood, I've always been enraptured with the creation of imaginary worlds, which transitioned into developing a variety of fictional fantasy settings and stories throughout my adult life. I currently run a D&D 5e campaign for which I've created an original setting, including a wiki of world-building and design notes.
Socially, I tend to rant about how much I love something and then completely tear it to pieces for what didn't work, and I'm generally compelled to share analysis that is both honest and thoroughly considered. For my own inspiration, I look to hundreds of games, movies, shows, bands, comics, and books, and I'm not satisfied if I do not constantly have something of a high creative caliber to enjoy and analyze in my downtime.
Exploration of locations, systems, and concepts is at the heart of what I care for most in media. I enjoy this quality of gaming so much that I consider foreknowledge of encounters, levels, or mid-game mechanics to be "spoilers" that would disrupt what I gain most from playing a game.
I deeply analyze the structure of how content is presented, and I find much of my pleasure in the sensation of surprise, of seeing something unique or a synthesis of ideas that I did not expect. When structuring content or stories, I seek to build ideas up into a sequence of compelling discoveries, combining the inherent joy in the moment with a feeling that the player or reader has found something new and exciting.
I have played hundreds of games, and my favorites tend to fall into certain categories.
Games with a huge range of interdependent mechanics and challenges that allow for player creativity, like Dishonored, Metal Gear Solid V, or Horizon: Zero Dawn.
Action combat games with tough but fair mechanics where learning enemy patterns is core to the experience, such as Hollow Knight, Monster Hunter, and Sekiro.
Narrative adventure games with incredibly well-executed stories and character writing, as seen in Disco Elysium, Until Dawn, The Beginner's Guide, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
Unique, exploration-driven puzzle games with strong gameplay married to gorgeous art, such as Antichamber, The Witness, The Talos Principle, or Opus Magnum.
Deep multiplayer PVP games with a broad range of mechanics and varied forms of player combat interaction, like Nosgoth, DotA 2, League of Legends, and Overwatch.
Platformers that focus on fluid locomotion and deeply engaging level design, like Super Mario Odyssey, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Rayman Legends.