My name is Michel Sabbagh and I’m a game designer/writer from Montreal, Quebec. I’m currently studying at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and I will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Interactive Media & Game Development in 2017.
I regularly write articles that have been featured on various reputed websites such as Gamasutra, Kotaku, Destructoid and Kill Screen that cover several topics such as the effective structure of a tense survival horror gaming experience, the craft of solid storytelling in video games and the multifaceted structure of open-world video games. Additionally, I have had experience in the gaming industry as a Quality Assurance Tester for Bethesda Softworks and was credited for my work on one of their blockbuster titles, Skyrim: Special Edition.
My academic works also garnered attention from game developers such as Monolith Productions who were impressed with my thesis on the influence of Japanese culture in Western-made first-person shooters, which got accepted at two conferences (Replaying Japan 2017 and Canadian Game Studies Association). I was also named a Gold Presenter for my analysis paper on Thief: The Dark Project as part of the 2017 GDC Game Narrative Review Competition. Other achievements include having won the Worcester Game Pile’s Lightning Pitch Contest with a panel of jurors that include professional game developers such as Trevor Stricker and Ichiro Lambe, and penning two visual novels, “Make Love Not Politics” and “Streams of Nurture” (the latter of which shall see a release later in 2017).
I began playing video games as a toddler, beginning with PC adventure titles such as the Humongous Entertainment works in the late 1990s before transitioning to console gaming and taking an interest in other types of games such as the first-person shooter and role-playing game in the mid 2000s.
The titles in those genres, such as TimeSplitters: Future Perfect and Fallout 3, showed me the creative potential of game writing and design, which was cemented by my exposure to immersive sims like Thief: The Dark Project and System Shock 2. Such games combined FPS, RPG and adventure elements to create engrossing and interactive worlds that captivated my imagination with their emphasis on player agency and systemic interactivity.
This led me to pursue a career in game development following high school, and write for and about video games to share my insight on game design and bring my personal ideas to life using programs such as Ren’Py and Unreal Engine.
Throughout all of my years as a gamer and developer, I have learned the importance of collaboration and innovation when it comes to crafting experiences that enhance the immersion factor with their synergy of mechanics and presentation. I intend to make full use of my game development experience and design knowledge to break into the video game industry as a narrative designer and writer for video games. I look forward to working with fellow developers on titles that hone our individual and collective expertise, and satisfyingly put our skills as creative talents to the test!
“Creativity is recombinant, and the more inspiration designers take in, the more they have to draw from and the higher the chances they’ll produce something with a distinct perspective.” – Craig Hubbard, game designer/writer