Hogwarts Legacy

Published on 2023.
Filed under Sumo Digital Nottingham .


I worked on this game for just over a year between 2019-2020. A small team from Sumo Digital Nottingham were originally brought onto the project as a co-dev studio, with the purpose of adding more dynamic content to the open world. My remit expanded from that into also providing mission design, and assisting the team at Avalanche iterate on their stealth mechanics. The project was in Unreal Engine 4.

Open-world content production

A problem that was identified by Avalanche Studio as our co-dev team was brought onto the project was that the game had a large, expansive open-world map which lacked interest outside of the major landmarks. Our small team was tasked with creating engaging and surprising content which could be dynamically placed into the open-world at runtime to add variance and interest to exploration of the world.

My role within that remit, was to provide concepts and specs for each new “world event”, pitch those concepts to Avalanche, and work with our artists and Avalanche’s programmers to implement them into the game.

As an example, one of my world events was the “butterfly chests”, in which the player can notice a flock of butterflies out in the world, and if they follow them to their destination they’ll discover the location of a secret cache of loot. I made a blueprint tool which allowed level designers to place these events around the world with minimal setup.

Note: I didn’t learn of this until after the game’s release but this world event was adopted so heavily that it was turned into a side quest with an in-game acheivement/trophy associated with it!

Mission design and implementation

The other role I helped with while on the project was mission design. I was assigned to one of the early missions, wherein the player first aquires the stealth ability and is taught how to use it. This process started with me attending Avalanche’s mission design meetings, getting to know their level deigners better, and getting a sense of the main dev team’s ethos and priorities when it came to their missions.

I was responsible for the setup of that mission, and eventually also became involved with discussions about the design of the stealth system itself. At that point in the project, the stealth system wasn’t being used elsewhere in the game and hadn’t come under much scrutiny. I suggested and implemented balancing changes to AI agent sight and hearing ranges, player movement speeds, and detection meter UI to help communicate the player’s hidden status.