Westworld Awakening

Survios ◦ Warner Bros Interactive ◦ VR Narrative Adventure Game
Unreal Engine 4 ◦ 2017-2019
 
Role on Project: Game Designer
  • Design Department Management

    • Mentored a level design intern. Responsible for design tasking, scheduling, and prioritization, regularly re-balancing the workload of a tight schedule across the design team.

    • Organized internal and external play tests and processed play-testing feedback into tasks.

  • Systems/Tools Design and Scripting

    • Designed, implemented, and held complete ownership over the game's backbone systems and tools, including the Objective, Streaming, and Narration Managers and their data structures.

    • Guided Audio Engineer on the backbone data and event structures for the Dialogue and Music Managers to follow a holistic tool design that fell in parallel with other systems.

    • Responsible for training team members on the use of these systems, as well as reviewing data implementation across the entire game.

  • Cinematics Design, Implementation, and Scripting

    • Designed and fully implemented an interactive cutscene system.

    • Experience on a AAA-grade motion capture stage coordinating with Mocap Director, Creative, and Animation to execute on complex interactive cutscenes for Virtual Reality (no camera cuts).​

    • Managed the necessary communication and planning to account for complex inter-scene blending based on player's gameplay actions, seeing this through from script to final deliverable.

  • VR Interaction Design and Scripting

    • Collaborated with and guided Associate Gameplay Engineer responsible for programming a wide variety of VR interactions, including doors, keys, switches, and a variety of puzzles.

    • Integrated a massive variety of unique scripted gameplay objects into a checkpoint system that does not reload the world in order to apply the save state on a checkpoint reload.

  • Gameplay Design and Level Design for Narrative Gameplay

    • Designed, iterated on, and oversaw the polished execution of five exploratory levels driven by narrative gameplay and physical, motion-controller-based VR interactions.

    • Managed level design processes in constant collaboration and communication with environment artists, VFX artists, the audio team, the writing department, and external stakeholders.

 

Act 1 - "Rabbit's Snare" (A Wolf In VR YouTube)

 
 
Guiding Design Principles

Narrative Immersion

  • Engaging Performances: Convincing character performances play into the core gameplay of interactive cutscenes, using performance capture in hand with engaging scenarios to elicit the player’s empathy for and interest in the characters of the world.

  • Audio-Visual Immersion: The game applies a realistic style to atmospheric environments. The player uses Active VR controls to move through the world and engage with compelling, story-driven interactions.

  • Authenticity: The player is transported into the world of the show, encountering both familiar and fresh content that fits seamlessly into the creative vision of Westworld.

 

Layers of Suspense

  • Moral Challenges: The game forces the player to make uncomfortable or difficult decisions regarding the humanity, agency, and security of the Hosts they interact with.

  • Subversion of Expectations: A narrative and mission structure goal, the story beats aim to surprise the player in both minor events and major plot arcs.

  • Escaping Hunters: The player only has the tools to hide, run, and distract, having to avoid the attention of lethal and undefeatable enemies.

Simplicity and Accessibility

  • Intuitive Mechanics: Most (if not all) major interactions in the game are understandable on first glance without need for tutorialization or cumbersome explanation.

  • Guidance through Design: Where possible, systems are employed that simplify and semi-automate interactions and/or explicitly guide player attention.

  • Clear Objectives: Through design and writing, the player is provided singular clear objectives, guiding their actions and movement through the world.