Catherine Woolley

A little about me

Hello and welcome to my website. My name is Catherine Woolley and I have over seven years of experience as a game designer. I'm currently working at The Chinese Room as a Senior Designer but have previously worked at Creative Assembly and EA Bright Light. As well as working on large projects during the week I also enjoy taking part in Game Jams in my free time, I've taken part in over 25 to date.

Awards & achievements

  • Game Developer Award at DevelopHER Awards (2016)
  • MCV Top 30 Women in Games (2016)
  • BAFTA Breakthrough Brit (2015)
  • MCV's Top 100 Women in Games (2015)
  • Top 100 UK Women in Video Games (2013)
  • Co-Opted member on the BAFTA Games Committee
  • Participation in BAFTA Games Awards juries
  • Participation in BAFTA Young Game Designer juries

Alien: Isolation

Alien: Isolation has to have been the most exciting and nerve racking game I have worked on to date, I always had a looming thought of what people would think of a single deadly Alien which you couldn't kill, meaning any run-ins and you're instantly dead unless you can sneak out of the situation. I always knew deep inside that we were creating something great, but the reassurance when we announced and later released the game was amazing. Plus I was really happy with how the final product turned out, so much that I'm on my fourth play-through since release.

On Alien: Isolation I worked on a variety of elements through-out the three and a bit years that I was working on it. However I eventually settled on two levels within the story, they became my experiences to evolve and love as I brought them through development. Seegson Comms; the first Android encounter and The Quarantine; the first full Alien encounter. Alongside those levels I was also involved with some of the gameplay mechanics which can be found across the game. These include items such as the Interactive Terminals, Surveillance cameras and Rewire, along with a few others too. Once the game was finished I helped out with the Survivor Mode DLC, for this I designed a map in four of the DLC packs from the ground up and worked with other members of the team to get them looking as great as the main game. The DLC maps to this day remain very fond to me as not only was it a great experience to be able to further the game past the story, but as they were focused on encounters with the Alien or other threats from the station it was an example of the game in its purest sense.

Flips, the fun new way for kids to read

Flips are a small series of Nintendo DS titles released by Electronic Arts and developed by Electronic Arts Bright Light. The series spanned across seven Nintendo DS titles and seven Nintendo DSiWare titles. Flips are interactive books for kids, helping to try and promote reading for children by adding a little fun into the books.

The Flips series were the first commercial titles that I had worked on and it was an interesting step into the edutainment sector. They originally started out as a set of four titles that would contain a series of books that feature interactive elements to keep children entertained and engaged while they read. They then branched off to have another three titles in a physical format as well as seven DSiWare titles which were improved versions of two of the first products with added camera support. There were set limitations on what we could add in the books, we included features such as; clickable sound effects, animated pictures, collectables, unlockable jokes, arts and crafts ideas. As the series evolved we explored more fleshed out features for the final three; Percy Jackson had a Greek godís family tree and bestiary whereas Mr Gum had a "messy room" and Mr Gum soundboard. Then finally with the Enid Blyton Adventure series we had original images created and a jigsaw puzzle for each book. Overall the Flips games are a great selection of books containing between 5 and 8 books dependent on the title, and are a great way to try to interest children to read books on their Nintendo DS.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2 were the last two Harry Potter games developed by EA Bright Light which were tie-ins with the final two films of Harry and his magical career. The Deathly Hallows titles tried to be a little bit different from the previous Potter experiences by instead being a third person cover spellcasting game.

Deathly Hallows Part 1 featured Kinect exclusive segments that player could play single player and co-operatively in an on-rails environment allowing you to cast a multitude of spells as Harry/Ron/Hermione. I worked on the Kinect levels designating the splines, enemy distribution, balancing of timing, scoring and ranks along with play-testing. Along with this I worked on multiple levels across the game while also being in charge of ensuring the dialogue was scripted into each level and played when required.

Deathly Hallows Part 2 was quite a different experience. I was involved in the early level design process which then evolved into developing a whole level from start to finish during the game's short development.

Game Jam & Ludum Dare entries

When an opportunity arises in the way of 48 hour game jams you can usually find me taking part. I have taken part in over twenty game jams which have been for; the Global Game Jam, Ludum Dare and Creative Assembly's Franco Jam. When taking part in the Global Game Jam I work as part of a team to create the game. Meanwhile for Ludum Dare I will work alone to test my abilities, as you can always surprise yourself with what is achievable in a small amount of time.

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Alternatively you can download my CV below, however if you would like a full CV with references and full employment history please send me an e-mail requesting it.

short CV