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Level Design in Star Wars Jedi Survivor

Respawn Entertainment's Simon Isacsson Andersen shared a behind-the-scenes look at Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and spoke about the team's approach to level design in the game.

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Joining the Star Wars Jedi Team

My name is Simon Isacsson Andersen, and my work experience began at Respawn Entertainment as a Level Design intern. Before that, I studied at The Game Assembly and built up a portfolio of fun games and blackouts.

I joined back in 2020. We've consistently averaged around 12 Level Designers on our team, but we also have Encounter Designers, Combat Designers, and Collision designers, to name a few. 

Level Design in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

I think everyone who worked on Koboh was in agreement on the direction we wanted to take its design. A dense open zone with lots of side content for players to engage in.

Throughout the development, we were getting invaluable feedback from other departments and playtesters. Working closely with Encounter Designers, for instance, was the key to achieving the difficulty curve we were looking for, along with our own desired challenge for traversal and puzzles at each point in the game.

The classic trick we used all over the place is the "funnel-before-reveal", where you naturally make sure all players will see the same vistas. Other times, we would use movement or lighting to try and grab the players' attention. And if it was really important, we sometimes used inspect zones where Cal could say a line or two about what he was looking at. There are many tricks in the Level Design book.


Sometimes it's tricky to decide what should be side content or not. What we often did was save the trickiest challenges for players who are actively looking for them and retain a smoother difficulty curve for players who just want to experience the story. Usually, levels would be composed to show you the main goal when you enter and then let the player take a winding path to get there – passing by side activities on the way.

Many levels were tricky to figure out and went through their own challenges. Speaking from my own experience on Khri's Observatory, something as simple as level streaming becomes an issue when the whole level is layered like a cake. One of my personal favorite levels is the Laser Tube, designed by Brandon Yuan. I love how well it's focused on the main level mechanic.

Cal has a great kit of movement abilities that we wanted to explore in the game in one way or another. We were aiming for a certain average of retries per player and were very close to lowering the difficulty until someone beat them all on the first try.

Simon Isacsson Andersen, Level Designer at Respawn Entertainment

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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