Gears of War 4
Xbox One, PC (released Oct 2016)

Gears of War 4 was Microsoft's big holiday exclusive in 2016, released on both Xbox One and Windows 10, with cross-play co-op and Horde.

My main contribution was level design on two of the chapters in Act III of the singleplayer campaign, as well as miscellaneous prototype and shelling work on the Mech level and helping out on the level inside the Dam and the level set around the Radio Tower.

Large AAA productions involve a lot of people, and so I have to note that while I shepherded the two levels below through production, tons of work was done on these levels by environment artists, level artists and technical artists, FX artists, lighters, animators, coders and sound engineers. Not to mention the rounds of direction and feedback from various stakeholders on the project, or tasks generated through our user focus team and bugs found by QA (not to mention everything else that goes on at a large company like tools teams or office admin!). That goes for every project, really. I feel privileged to have been able to work with so many talented people on such a fun-to-make and fun-to-play game!

Night Terrors

“[The Swarm's] introduction is a turning point for Gears of War 4[...]. Certainly not bad beforehand, itís here where events really start to pick up and move into a league all of their own. Unrelenting, bombastic, and over the top, the true nature of the world slowly reveals itself to you, and itís utter chaos.”

- Simon Miller, Trusted Reviews (Oct 16)

This level introduces players to the Swarm, as the team rushes to rescue Marcus. It was put forward as one of two demo levels shown exclusively to Game Informer, and was later taken to E3 2016, playable behind closed doors in co-op crossplay between an Xbox One and a PC in 4K. I took the level from layout until final from a level design perspective, and am really proud of the pacing which introduces new enemies and is still pretty similar to the very first paper design I did.

At the Doorstep

“[...] you tour an old Pendulum War exhibit as part of a set-piece that is straight out of the original Gears playbook, with the player first assaulting an elevated turret, then using it to defend against a counter-attack. When new lead JD Fenix muses over a trashed diorama depicting the torrid battle of Anvil Gate from Gears 3, there's a moment of real poignancy. I know, JD, I know. I was there.”

- Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, Eurogamer (Oct 16)

This level was the second half of a larger level which was split off early on. Players continue their search for Marcus in the Fort, eventually reaching the Keep at the top. Apart from a couple of other Level Designers being assigned this level for a milestone each, I took the level from Brief until Shipping.