Meet the Team: Unexpected Journeys into the Gaming Industry

There’s no right way to get into the gaming industry. 

That’s exactly what I learned while grabbing a coffee with our design team here at Walker Labs about their journeys. 

Our team is an incredible blend of AAA developers, tech leaders, artists, visual effects, animators, sound designers, experienced marketers, and more, each with a vital role to play in pioneering the future of interactive digital experiences. 

This unique mix of experience and personalities is exactly what makes every day at Walker Labs a lesson in innovation and next-level creation (and, of course, fun).

Whether you studied game development and immediately started building your portfolio, or are a seasoned professional in marketing or tech, there are plenty of ways into the industry, however unexpected and unconventional.  

We’re not saying it’s always easy. But it is possible. 

Join us as we ask the team how they first got into the gaming industry, what games and experiences inspired them, and how their career has evolved. 

Konan Murad, Level Designer

Konan is a game designer specializing in level design and user experience. His experience is in creating third-person shooter and open-world game levels.

For as long as I can remember, my passion for gaming has been an integral part of my life, providing an escape from reality. When it came time to choose a career path, I knew traditional physical labour and mundane office work weren’t for me. Game design, with its blend of creativity and challenge, emerged as the perfect fit.

My journey began in high school, where I initially delved into game programming. However, I quickly realized that while coding was intriguing, spending eight hours a day immersed in it wasn’t my calling. Instead, level design captured my interest, offering a balance of technical skill and artistic expression.

After high school, I explored the possibility of attending level design schools but found limited opportunities at the time. It was during this period that a friend introduced me to the importance of user experience (UX) in game design, emphasizing its synergy with level design. Eager to expand my knowledge, I embarked on a journey of self-teaching, supplementing my studies with online courses from platforms like Udemy. These resources provided invaluable insights into level design principles and game engine fundamentals.

Driven by self-motivation and supported by various level design forum groups, I embarked on personal projects and actively participated in game jams to hone my skills. Upon completing my studies, I seized an opportunity advertised by Daniel on LinkedIn, marking the beginning of my career as a level designer.

Now, surrounded by talented colleagues whom I learn from daily, I continue to evolve as a level designer, embracing new challenges and opportunities for growth with each project.

What is your biggest inspiration in games? 

It’s challenging to narrow down my favourite games because I have so many, but one that truly stands out for me is Bloodborne. As a player, I’m drawn to its captivating aesthetic and the immersive experience it offers. The game’s blend of HP Lovecraft-inspired themes and gothic architecture creates a uniquely compelling atmosphere.

What sets Bloodborne apart for me is its straightforward yet deeply satisfying gameplay mechanics. While it’s undeniably challenging to master, once you grasp its intricacies, everything falls into place perfectly.

Moreover, the game’s environmental storytelling is exceptional. As you delve deeper into Bloodborne, you’ll notice subtle changes in the environment, hinting at the progression of the dream-like narrative.

Overall, Bloodborne’s combination of atmospheric design, engaging gameplay, and immersive storytelling make it a standout favourite among my collection of games.

I studied UX Design, Game, and Interactive Media Design here in Stockholm. I then got to work building my portfolio. I took part in a couple of game jams in 2022: the Global Game Jam and Brackeys Game Jam. 

Game jams are events where you build a game from scratch in a sprint-like approach. 2022 was Global Game Jam’s longest jam, lasting over 10 days and nights. If you’ve got the time, it’s a great way to quickly add projects to your portfolio. 

Here I do level design, but I also help out with programming and environmental design whenever someone needs a hand.  

What do you love the most working at Walker Labs?

What I love most about working at my game company is the ownership I have over my work and the flexibility to explore various aspects beyond just level design. I appreciate being able to engage in diverse tasks such as research, assisting other departments, and even programming when needed.

Additionally, collaborating with talented colleagues and having the opportunity to learn from them on various topics is incredibly rewarding. As a bonus, the office provides unlimited free coffee, which fuels my caffeine addiction and adds to the enjoyable work environment.

What are you currently working on with the Open game title?

At the moment, I’m deeply engaged in laying the groundwork for level design under the guidance of our senior level design designer. This involves establishing metrics, colour conventions, game design documents (GGDs), layout sketches, flow charts, and various other foundational elements.

Additionally, I occasionally delve into scripting, seizing opportunities to create prototypes of necessary features. These prototypes serve as visual references for our programmers, aiding in the development of more accurately replicated versions.

What are some of your favourite hobbies?

 I discovered a loophole with the self-serving machines at a specific fast food restaurant, enabling me to order unlimited free burgers throughout my time at high school.

Before joining Walker Labs, I spent six hours a day immersed in reading, delving into various book lore as a way to pass the time.

I possess proficient skills in playing the flute and piano