Project Description

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Role: Principal Game Designer
Team Size: 180+
Duties: 3C, Player Traversal, Game Design and Prototyping, Combat Design, Quality Assurance
Status: Commercial title, released in 2023

STAR WARS JEDI: SURVIVOR is a critically acclaimed PS5, XBOX SERIES S/X, and PC title developed by Respawn Entertainment.

I joined the team a little less than halfway through the game’s development and was given the responsibility and ownership over hero traversal 3Cs. I also had the opportunity to collaborate closely on refining the feel of the speeder bike vehicle during one of the exotic gameplay sequences.

As many of the foundational systems were already established and in place from the previous title STAR WARS JEDI: FALLEN ORDER, and some foundation was present for the new traversal mechanics in SURVIVOR, a large part of my role was to identify areas for improvement and opportunities to provide more depth or nuance to what was already in place. I was highly hands-on in this role, regularly working in Blueprint and montages to improve, enhance and debug the various traversal mechanics and related hero systems. Much of my time was also spent collaborating very closely with a handful of gameplay programmers, animators, tech designers and other departments to align on the vision for improved traversal and game feel and execute on that vision. As my background has been largely focused on level design in past projects, I leveraged those experiences and sensibilities to enhance the traversal capabilities of our playable character, providing opportunities for level designers to create more varied platforming sequences and chain moves together in satisfyingly fluid ways.

Jedi Survivor is one of those games that just feels fantastic to play. Controlling Cal quickly becomes effortless while either platforming or fighting. You stop thinking about pressing buttons or whatever and instead Cal feels like a natural extension of your own body […] every part of the game seemingly built to be fun and satisfying to play […] I rarely fast-travel in this game because moving around the planets you visit is such a blast that fast traveling often feels like I’m missing out on one of the best parts of Jedi: Survivor. When simply moving and jumping in a game feels this good, you know you got something special.
Zack Zwiezen,
I adore the mobility and navigation challenges, which nail that sense of controlling a Force-attuned hero leaping and swinging through seemingly impossible paths. Like the combat, a satisfying upward slope of complexity keeps traversal engaging throughout – no small feat in a game this big.
Matt Miller,
Respawn also revamped the entire movement systems in the game. Cal moves like a man who has spent the last five years training as a Jedi Knight, and the result is smoother movement across the board. No longer do you have to hit a button to grip on climbable surfaces, and Cal now more easily traverses the environment. Cal will slide down surfaces in a way that reminds me of the knife slide in classic Prince of Persia, he does the wall to wall bounce straight out of Ninja Gaiden, there’s a heavy Titanfall influence across the board, and all for the better.
Ron Burke,
Cal is acrobatic by default, able to run along walls, flip in midair, and scurry up sheer surfaces like a womp rat up a drainpipe. Survivor adds a grappling hook and a midair dash to these manoeuvres, resulting in incredibly kinetic movement that Respawn uses to build elaborate traversal challenges. Indeed, Survivor’s third-person platforming arguably outshines its combat, particularly in the second half of the game, when Cal spends more time with his feet off the ground than on it.
Rick Lane,
Jedi: Survivor might have the greatest platforming I’ve ever experienced in video games […] Respawn is on top of their game when it comes to movement, which was a staple of their first release Titanfall. Cal can wall run better than any Pilot, double jump into a force dash, propel himself off a floating object with a new traversal mechanic I won’t spoil, dash through a previous progression blocker, and have that reset all his cooldowns and do it all again. It both looks and feels incredible.
Jesse 'Doncabesa' Norris,