Melissa Janowicz

Lead Combat AI Designer at Respawn Entertainment


I am a Combat Designer with a great wealth of experience and specializations in enemy and boss design, combat design, AI design, and team leadership. I also have a multifaceted background in game design, art and production. I'm a proactive self starter with direct experience making prototypes in Unreal Engine, Frostbite, and Unity. Additionally, I have a proven track record of excellence in collaboration with both design and non-design departments, working on teams of all sizes (from 2 people to more than a thousand). I would describe myself as a passionate and tenacious self-starter who loves her work and is constantly learning. I'm very much unafraid to go into the unknown to make something new and groundbreaking with a great team.


  • Lead Combat AI Designer

    Respawn Entertainment

    Vancouver BC

    Jul 2022 - Present

    I lead the Combat AI team on a Star Wars project. All work is currently under NDA.

  • Senior Combat Desginer

    Respawn Entertainment

    Vancouver BC

    Mar 2022 - Jul 2022

    Working on really cool stuff under NDA in the Star Wars universe!

  • Senior Gameplay Designer

    The Coalition Studio / Microsoft

    Vancouver, BC

    Nov 2020 - Mar 2022

    This work is under NDA.

  • Gameplay Designer

    BioWare, A Division of Electronic Arts

    Edmonton, AB

    May 2017 - Nov 2020


    Upcoming Dragon Age Game
    - Was a core part of the combat team and developed prototypes with them which contributed deeply to our discovery process of what combat should be.
    - Became the feature owner for creative and implementation for all boss creatures in the game.
    - Worked with leadership and the combat group in order to create the high level creative framework from which all bosses will be created, and then executed fully on those designs via in-engine prototypes that I created with the creature and boss teams using our existing tech.
    - Worked directly with the engineering team to drive core gameplay tech forward. This includes core gameplay systems but also multiplayer technology to avoid client/server issues such as desyncs.
    - Collaborated directly with animation and tech art in order to drive our character and creature fidelity forward. This includes everything from core locomotion issues to combat abilities and sync actions against Player characters and beyond.

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

    Cancelled Project
    - Was a part of the core combat team. Created and implemented player abilities.

    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.

    - Co-led the development and creation of a video game jam for 150 people within BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin.

    - Led and coordinated a popular monthly meetup for developers who were of a gender minority in the games industry for more than 3 years, which was fully funded and backed by BioWare.

  • Lead Game Designer/Associate Producer/Artist

    Lofty Sky Entertainment

    Toronto, Ontario

    Sep 2015 - Apr 2017

    Oversaw production of games and interactive entertainment. Developed and managed teams from scratch in order to create new games + interactive media. Worked with leadership to gain funding for games. Recruited new staff directly, acting as the hiring manager for design. Additionally, created game designs, performed market research studies and illustrated backgrounds and props for interactive entertainment, including children's interactive media and virtual reality experiences. Mentored developers in the areas of design, art and production.

    Shuyan Saga (Steam, iOS, Android), Miaomiao (Multiple Projects, iOS), Managed a Rapid Prototype Lab with a focus on VR games and interactive video.

  • 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. Contributed to design and art for an online digital portal for real money gambling. Led a team of artists. Managed some outsource teams.

    Projects: Pala Casino, Pala Poker, Digital Slot and table 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.

    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)

  • Senior Interactive Background Designer

    Disney Interactive

    Kelowna, BC

    Dec 2011 - Nov 2012

    I designed, illustrated and animated interactive backgrounds on Club Penguin on the monthly parties team.

    Club Penguin (PC), Unreleased Projects (PC)

  • Creative Director

    Lera Games

    Toronto, Ontario

    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.

  • 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.

    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. Some of this was for software, other stuff was for children's game development summer camps.


  • Humber College

    Multimedia 3D Animation

    2005 - 2007

    Received diploma.

  • Humber College

    3D for Games and Interactive Entertainment

    2007 - 2008

    Graduated with honours.

  • Etc.

    2000 - 2022

    I have taken a LOT of digital courses in art and design in order to broaden my skillset. A list of these can be provided on request.


  • Community Member of the Year Nomination


    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


    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.


  • Proven track record of working closely with a cross-discipline team of people to get things done. Capable of understanding other people's points of view, incorporating feedback, and facilitating deep communication between very different groups of people.
  • Highly capable of both finding creative and fun solutions to challenging design problems, and working with a group to create groundbreaking prototypes.
  • Able to think on multiple levels - from the high level creative "big picture" of a game, to the low level of how to get it done. A proactive self-starter in terms of discovering design problems and finding solutions.
  • 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.
  • 5+ Years Experience As a Lead or Director in Indie Games