As mentioned yesterday, we have two very talented industry veterans starting at The Chinese Room this month! You've met Steve, our new Lead Artist, yesterday, and it's time to introduce you to our very own Andrew' s new partner in crime, Senior Designer Catherine Woolley!
I’m Catherine and I’m a new Senior Designer to join The Chinese Room. I’m not as seasoned as Steve is in the industry, but I have been playing and collecting games from a very early age, building up my knowledge of all things games with my twin sister Charlotte, who incidentally also works in the games industry.
I graduated from the University of Wales, Newport in 2009 where I gained a 1st class honours in Computer Games Design. I was adamant to get a job in the industry so I moved to Aldershot in the hope to get a job within the games hub that used to be Guildford. Within a couple of weeks of moving I had my first job at EA Bright Light working on a series of interactive books for children on the DS called Flips. With a small internal team of between 3-4 and a team in Shanghai to do programming and art we created 7 boxed games and 6 DSiWare titles. After six months they were complete and I managed to find my way onto the Harry Potter team where I worked on Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Deathly Hallows Part 2 on much larger teams.
As well as working on games professionally I also started taking part in game jams in 2009 and have been doing them ever since, I usually do four a year or sometimes more, and I try to encourage everyone to give them a go to test themselves.
I then took the move to join Creative Assembly, a month or so before EA Bright Light were sadly shut down. But it meant I was able to bring some of the great talent from EA Bright Light over to Creative Assembly to work on Alien: Isolation. Alien has definitely been the highlight of my career, as little 10-year-old me never would have thought I’d get to work on a game with the Alien IP or a survival horror, she’d be well impressed! While working at Creative Assembly I was mentioned in the MCV Top 100 Women in Games list twice and also more recently the Top 30 Women in Games which I’m completely blown away by. I was also nominated as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit for 2015 which I’ve had ongoing support from BAFTA for which is amazing! I also became a part of the BAFTA Games Committee which is an amazing opportunity that I hope to continue on should they have me!
I spent almost 4 years working on Alien: Isolation, which included time after its launch in October 2014 where I was working on the Survivor Mode and Salvage Mode DLC along with the Japanese release of the game. Since early 2015 once Alien: Isolation was out of the way I was then working on the upcoming Halo Wars 2, an even bigger franchise in terms of games. However, The Chinese Room got in contact with me and I couldn’t refuse the chance to work with the team.