Melissa Janowicz

Gameplay Designer at BioWare

About

I am a Gameplay Designer with a focus on creature design at BioWare Edmonton. For 11 years prior to this I collaborated with incredible teams to help build top tier interactive experiences, mostly as an Art Director, Art Department Lead, UX Designer or Concept Artist, but also as a Game Designer and Associate Producer. Credits include an unnamed Dragon Age project, Anthem, Club Penguin, The Four Kings Casino and Slots, Shuyan Saga and much more. Many of my game credits are under my maiden name, Melissa Davidson.

Experience

  • Gameplay Designer

    BioWare (A Division of Electronic Arts)

    Edmonton, Alberta

    May 2017 - Present

    I create pitches and prototypes and work with many teams internally to create new features for video game software. My biggest focus has been on creature design, but I have also worked in multiple other areas.

    Projects:

    Unnamed Dragon Age Project
    - Working as a gameplay designer on this currently un-named Dragon Age project.

    Anthem
    - Worked as a creature designer on this game.
    - Also, a member of the UI/UX "finaling team" in the last few months of production.

    Women's Resource Group Lead
    - I acted as the leader in BioWare's internal Women's Resource Group for the 2017-2018 season, with a focus on making BioWare the employer of choice for talented women in the games industry.

  • Game Design Architect/Associate Producer/Artist

    Mark Media

    Toronto, ON

    May 2016 - Apr 2017

    Oversaw production of games and interactive entertainment. Created game designs, performing market research studies and illustrating backgrounds and props for interactive entertainment, including children's interactive media and virtual reality experiences.

    Projects:
    Shuyan Saga (Steam, iOS, Android)
    - In 2018 Shuyan Saga was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award (Gemini Award) for "Best Original Interactive Production").
    Miaomiao (Multiple Projects, iOS)
    Managed a Rapid Prototype Lab with a focus on VR games and interactive video.

  • Art Director

    SHG Studios

    Hamilton, Ontario

    Jan 2016 - Apr 2016

    Designed a studio-wide pipeline for use in game development. Set the art style for a ftp mobile game. Also designed UI/UX for this game, created illustrations. Managed a small team.

  • Creative Director

    Hard Circle

    Hamilton, Ontario

    Apr 2016 - May 2016

    Provided art and creative direction. Created game art assets (illustrations, UI).

    Projects:
    Billions of Cats (Android)

  • Lead Game Designer

    Mark Media

    Toronto, Ontario

    Sep 2015 - Dec 2015

    In charge of level design on video game software. Also worked on UX and UI design and performed market research studies.

    Project:
    Shuyan Saga (Steam, iOS, Android)

  • Art Director

    Pala Interactive

    Toronto, Ontario

    Jul 2014 - Sep 2015

    Was the art director on more than a dozen slot and table games. Created production and concept art. Designed several slot games and their associated UI/UX. Led a team of artists. Managed some outsource teams.

    Projects:
    Pala Casino
    Pala Poker
    More Than a Dozen Unique Slot Games
    Re-skins of Roulette and other Pre-Existing Games

  • 2D Art Lead

    Digital Leisure

    Richmond Hill, Ontario

    Apr 2013 - Jul 2014

    Created concept and production art as well as 2D animation and UI artwork for several console, PC, and mobile games. Worked as a part of a greater team to create casual/social experiences and MMORPGs.

    Projects:
    The Four Kings Casino and Slots (PS4/Steam)
    Get off My Lawn (Steam and Six Other Platforms)
    Western Frontier (PS3)
    Playstation Home Casino (PS3)
    Dragon's Lair Ports (Multi-Console)

  • 2D Artist

    Longbow Games

    Toronto, Ontario

    Feb 2013 - Mar 2013

    Did illustration and UI artwork as well as high poly 3D assets for world map renders.

    Projects:
    Hegemony Rome (Steam)

  • Senior Interactive Background Designer

    Disney Interactive

    Kelowna, BC

    Dec 2011 - Nov 2012

    I designed, illustrated and animated interactive backgrounds for Club Penguin. I also designed monthly "party" game experiences and helped re-design the art style of the game.

    Projects:
    Club Penguin (PC)
    Unreleased Projects (PC)

  • Creative Director

    Lera Games

    Toronto, Canada

    Jul 2010 - Feb 2012

    I worked on all creative levels (story, art, and design) on unreleased PC software and consulted in the creation of an unreleased PC video game engine.

    Projects:
    Unreleased PC Software
    Unreleased PC Games Engine
    Several Flash Games

  • Lead Artist

    Black Chicken Studios

    San Diego, California

    Dec 2010 - Jul 2011

    I drew all of the 2D artwork for an unreleased Facebook game as well as for interactive novel software for PC.

    Projects:
    1931: Scheherazade at the Library of Pergamum (Steam)
    Unreleased Facebook Game

  • Art Consultant

    Team KAIZEN Games

    Toronto, Canada

    Jan 2009 - Jan 2015

    Created 3D models and textures, and provided consultation for art for games.

    Projects:
    Children's Camps
    Unreleased PS4 Software

Education

  • Humber College

    Multimedia 3D Animation

    2005 - 2007

    Received diploma.

  • Humber College

    3D for Games and Interactive Entertainment

    2007 - 2008

    Graduated with honours.

  • Harvard University

    Disney Creativity and Innovation Course

    2011 - 2011

    Received online certificate through Harvard University.

  • CGSociety

    Becoming a Better Artist with Robert Chang

    2014 - 2014

    Received online certificate through CGSociety.com.

  • Schoolism

    Painting with Light and Colour

    2015 - 2015

    Taught by Dice Tsusumi and Robert Kondo. Received certificate through Schoolism.

  • Schoolism

    Digital Painting with Bobby Chiu

    2015 - 2015

    Received certificate through Schoolism.com.

  • Schoolism

    Environment Design with Nathan Fowkes

    2016 - 2016

    Received certificate through Schoolism.com.

  • Etc.

    2000 - 2016

    I have attended hundreds of industry meetups, conferences, and panels throughout my career, as well as participated in over 50 video game jams, usually as an artist.

Awards

  • Community Member of the Year Nomination

    DaGA

    Feb 2019

    Nominated for my work in bringing together, educating and advocating for women in games through my #yegfemdev monthly meetups and other community outreach.

  • Canadian Screen Award/Gemini Nomination

    Feb 2018

    "2018 Best Original Interactive Production"

    - Received for Shuyan Saga.

  • Screen-Based Media Production Program Award

    CMPA

    May 2016

    Won a production mentorship program through the Canadian Media Producers Association, which allowed me to work alongside experienced Executive Producers and learn a lot about production methodologies and corporate leadership.

Projects

  • #yegfemdev

    I run the largest Professional Games industry event in Edmonton, with a focus on helping talented and gifted female and non-binary professionals in the industry develop their professional network, as well as providing them crucial information to help them build and further their careers.

Skills

  • 5+ Years Experience As an Art Director or Art Department Lead
  • 11 Years of Collective Professional Experience
  • Over 30 Shipped Games (Collectively - Console, PC, Mobile, Web)
  • As a designer successfully doubled DAU (3.2 mil to 6.1 mil) and ARPDAU for a game.
  • As an artist, extremely versatile (decade of professional exp. as a concept artist, UI/UX designer, 2D animator, 3D texture artist/modeler).

Contact