Sunday, June 03, 2018


Joel Burgess

Soft Rains, Studio Head
  • Co-founded a team of veteran developers from major AAA and indie studios
  • Responsible for overall company + project direction

Capybara Games, Studio Director
11/2019 - 2023
  • Help define + implement internal studio vision, roadmap
  • Pivoted Grindstone's live plan to achieve excellent retention and multi-year growth
  • General Business Development with external partners
  • Management of existing back catalog of CAPY games
  • Provide creative leadership and collaboration with game teams
  • Direct contributions when possible, eg: Grindstone level design
  • Maintained a happy and healthy creative environment for cool devs!

Ubisoft Toronto, World Director
6/2016 - 11/2019

Watch Dogs Legion
  • Direction for core setting fiction + narrative context
  • Collaborate across multiple teams/studios on all aspects of world
  • High-level planning for locations, gameplay distribution
  • Responsible for presentation and collaboration with internal/external partners

Bethesda Game Studios, Senior Designer
6/2005 - 5/2016

Fallout 76
  • Established world tone, setting, and overall goals
  • Initial design of major gameplay systems, factions, locations
  • Coordinate and align all dev teams on early vision
Fallout 4
  • Organized and led level design team
  • Various Systems and balance contribution
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Systems and Combat Design Contributions 
  • Dialogue, Book, and Quest Writing 
  • Level design and gameplay scripting 
  • Gameplay Design: Dragon, Spriggan, Wispmother 
  • Tools and Workflow Design 
  • Organized Documentation and Release of Creation Kit modding tool 
  • Collaborated w/Valve on Steam Workshop Integration
  • Established & guided creative vision for level design 
  • Collaborated on world & quest design/implementation
  • Hired & managed team of five level designers w/producers 
  • Shared systems & tools design duties w/design leads 
  • Co-Editor of Strategy Guide for base game & expansions 
  • Hands-on level design layout, scripting, writing
  • Project co-lead from concept to ship 
  • Managed team of ~20 artists & designers on tight schedule
  • Hands-on w/project. Implemented free-form quests, world design/building, scripting, directed/performed voice acting, etc.
    • Collaborated on High-level design of military scenario 
    • Design of general space/gameplay flow and mechanics 
    • Flavor text and holotape writing
    • Responsible for many of the game's 200+ dungeons 
    • Spear-headed effort to formalize level design process 
    • Contributed to story hooks and points of interest for random gameplay
    • Co-Collaborator Design, writing, and scripting 
    • Shared level design duties with one other Level Designer 
    • Created entire DLC as a team of two
    • Established lair layout and theme 
    • Shared in Level design and writing duties.
    • Collaborated with designers on Quest Dungeons 
    • Design, writing, and implementation of freeform gameplay areas

    Other Projects & Industry Advocacy
    Ongoing, personal projects and commitments

    Co-Founder & Organizer, GDC Level Design Summit
    • 2010 - Present

    Board of Directors, Interactive Ontario
    • 2021 - Present

    Industry Advisory Committee Member, Ontario Creates
    • 2021 - Present

    The Heart Set: A Card Game
    • Designed original concept for tabletop game
    • Prototype, Design & Iteration 
    • Organized artists & illustrators
    QUEST: A role-playing game for everyone.
    • Supplemental writing for early stages of TTRPG

      Level Designer, Terminal Reality

      4/2004 - 5/2005
      • Contributed to overall Game Design during pre-production 
      • Wrote and began production on two "episodes", or levels
      • Designed and produced two levels of final game 
      • Handled dialogue and cinematic scripting
      Demonik (unreleased)
      • Contributed Art Assets

      Art Director & Designer, Dezign Corp.
      2/2003 - 11/2003

      Rob Williams - Project Lead
      PlanetQuest (unreleased - cancelled)
      • Managed tasks and budget for freelance artists
      • Wrote extensive design documentation for original RPG concept
      • Early systems prototyping w/proprietary tools

      3D Artist, UCF GAMES Lab
      2001 - 2004
      Dr. John Weishampel - Project Supervisor
      The VR Forest (location-based educational exhibit)
      • Created and imported content into Torque Game Engine
      • Collaborated on overall experience design
      • Project was unveiled at Orlando Science Center in 2005


      B.A. Digital Media: Interactive Media
      University of Central Florida
      Dr. Robert Kenny - advisor
      Graduated 2004
      A.A. Music Theory & Performance
      Indian River Community College
      Casey Lunceford, Department Head
      Graduated 2001


      Organizer/Presenter: GDC 2010-2020: Level Designer's Workshop
      Instructor: GDC China 2012, 2014: Level Design Workshop/Tutorial
      Panelist: SHUX 2018, QuakeCon 2010, 2012
      Speaker: Pixelatl Festival, 2016

      Chapter Author: Level Design: Processes & Experiences (edited by Chris Totten)
      Co-Author: Level Design Book via Focal Press (Title & Release Date TBD) 

      2012 IGF Design Jury Member 
      2011-2019 IGF Judge

      On-Campus presentations:
      - Harvard Graduate School of Design
      - Linköping University, Sweden
      - FIEA (graduate school at University of Central Florida)
      - George Mason University
      - University of Baltimore, Shady Grove Campus
      - The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University (SMU)
      - GlitchCon at the University of Minnesota

      The UCF Virtual Rainforest Team was:
      - Featured at ESA conference, Savannah, GA 2003
      - Featured at Institute for Simulation and Training, Orlando
      - Featured at IAAPA convention 2002

      Co-Organizer "Rock vs. Cancer" ACS benefit concert

      Reference Contacts are Available Upon Request

      No comments: