MARTIN BADOWSKY » LEVEL DESIGNER
Gears of War 4
Xbox One, PC (released Oct 2016)

My main contribution to Gears of War 4 was level design on two of the chapters in Act III of the singleplayer campaign, shepherding them from paper design to completion. I also did some miscellaneous prototyping and blockout work on the Mech level near the end of the game, and helped out on the scripting inside the Dam and Radio Tower levels.

Large AAA productions involve a lot of people who contribute to the game and the level, the work you see below is the hard work of an entire team.

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 enemy faction, as the team rushes to rescue Marcus. It was playable in co-op behind closed doors at E3 2016 and also shown early to Game Informer.

I'm most proud of the way I introduced the new Swarm enemy types gradually throughout the level, using Matinee to pre-visualize introductions, crafting spaces that worked for each AI archetype and generally trying to create moments that would surprise players to create a well-paced experience.

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)

Players continue their search for Marcus in the Fort, eventually reaching the Keep at the top.

I really enjoyed designing the combat arenas in this level. I tried to pace them out with different enemies and mix different AI archetypes together to keep players on their toes. I also really wanted to create a compelling defend scenario, inspired by the first Gears but also games like Call of Duty 1, 2 and United Offensive. I tried to mix this in with a museum setting to bring some of that Gears lore to the forefront and give the space some flavor.