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Michel Sabbagh's Blog


I penned articles that have been featured over 20 times on reputed websites such as Gamasutra, Destructoid and Kill Screen that covered several topics such as the effective structure of a tense survival horror gaming experience, the craft of solid storytelling in video games and the multifaceted structure of open-world design.

I worked at Bethesda Softworks as a Quality Assurance Tester and was credited on Skyrim: Special Edition, The Evil Within 2 and Prey: Mooncrash. My colleagues and managers lauded me for my attention-to-detail and industriousness, which helped with my teamwork skills on top of my individual talents.

My academic write-ups also garnered attention from game developers such as Monolith Productions who were impressed with my thesis on the influence of Japanese culture in Western-made first-person shooters.

Additionally, I was named a Gold Winner for my paper on Thief: The Dark Project as part of the 2017 GDC Game Narrative Review Competition, and my scriptwriting and environmental storytelling projects have been featured by popular YouTubers Oxhorn and GVMERS whose combined coverage of my work totaled over 450,000 views.

Other achievements include:

– Winning the 2015 Worcester Game Pile’s Lightning Pitch Contest with a panel of jurors that include professional developers such as Trevor Stricker and Ichiro Lambe.

– Receiving an Honorable Mention for the 2017 WPI Kranich Prize.

– Being directly mentioned on Kotaku, Telegram & Gazette, and the Telegraph.

I’m currently taking a break from game development to focus on fiction writing.

Primary skills:
– Creative Writing
– Narrative Design
– Screenwriting
– Worldbuilding
– Script Doctoring
– Character Design
– Quality Assurance Testing
– Copywriting

“Creativity is recombinant, and the more inspiration designers take in, the more they have to draw from and the higher the chances they’ll produce something with a distinct perspective.” – Craig Hubbard, game designer/writer


Member Blogs

Posted by Michel Sabbagh on Fri, 24 May 2019 10:14:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC
15 years ago, Thief saw a third outing in a year hosting the likes of Half-Life 2. Doom 3 and Far Cry. In this retrospective piece, Bethesda Softworks alumnus and writer Michel Sabbagh explains why Deadly Shadows should be celebrated.

Posted by Michel Sabbagh on Mon, 04 Mar 2019 09:53:00 EST in Design, Art, Console/PC, Indie
Bethesda Softworks alumnus Michel Sabbagh explores the many ways in which artists can craft multidimensional female personages. From designing a unique backstory to embodying drama and a sense of humor, there are sundry paths toward female representation.

Posted by Michel Sabbagh on Thu, 24 Jan 2019 09:15:00 EST in Design, Art, Console/PC, Indie
Bethesda Softworks alumnus Michel Sabbagh tackles the value of artistic individualism in creative industries that are simultaneously varied and over-saturated with run-of-the-mill artworks. How tangible is the desire to follow trends?

Posted by Michel Sabbagh on Tue, 18 Dec 2018 09:37:00 EST in Design, Console/PC
Bethesda Softworks alumnus Michel Sabbagh takes a gander at the current state of art in trying times and how Mundfish's Atomic Heart reminds creative industries of the indispensability of tonal/thematic juxtaposition.

Posted by Michel Sabbagh on Thu, 21 Jun 2018 10:28:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC
Atmosphere can elevate an already attractive environment to new heights when elegantly conceived and conveyed. Its ethereal nature, however, means it's not clear-cut from a development standpoint. Bethesda alum Michel Sabbagh analyzes the ambient effect.

Posted by Michel Sabbagh on Mon, 21 May 2018 09:58:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Indie
Monsters make for daunting foes whose demeanor stands out from standard baddies, but there's more to a creature than just the level of fear they elicit. This piece by Michel Sabbagh details the art behind making beasts and harnessing their true potential.

Michel Sabbagh's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 06/21/2018 - 10:28]

I saw Read it before ...

I saw Read it before penning this post in fact. Felt like sharing my own take on the topic and had a hunch you d chime in. 128521

Comment In: [Blog - 06/07/2017 - 09:24]

yes you learn new things ...

yes you learn new things also by writing down stuff yourself :- r n r nSentence of the day right there. Did something similar as well r n r nThief: tense narrative through level design and mechanics: tense narrative through level design and mechanics.php r n r nMutual Engagement: ...

Comment In: [News - 03/10/2017 - 08:04]

An incredible and insightful initiative ...

An incredible and insightful initiative on PC Gamer 's part Coincidental as well given that I similarly presented my findings on immersive sims Thief, more specifically at last week 's GDC. Glad to know that this design philosophy still has ample amounts of life left in it

Comment In: [Blog - 03/06/2017 - 11:25]

You 're welcome Glad you ...

You 're welcome Glad you relished it.

Comment In: [Blog - 02/13/2017 - 09:57]

Superb tips Another piece of ...

Superb tips Another piece of advice I would add to your list of what not to do is networking and connecting with sundry developers. It 's one thing to have an amazing catalog of work, it 's another to be known for having one. r n r nGetting out there ...

Comment In: [News - 02/15/2017 - 05:16]

In my humble opinion, I ...

In my humble opinion, I believe that storytelling in games should be tied not just to the title 's presentation and universe, but also to the emotional involvement and mechanics that the player/avatar embodies throughout the experience. r n r nIt 's something that I touched upon in my narrative ...