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Hello! My name is John Koolen and I am a senior game designer experienced in several facets of gameplay design with a focus on combat.

Below you can find my portfolio highlighting some of my work.

Anker 1
Anker 2
Anker 3


Gameplay Design for space

  • 3C Design

  • System Design

  • Combat Design

  • Enemy Design

Experience the first-ever open world Star Wars™ game, set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Explore distinct planets across the galaxy, both iconic and new. Risk it all as Kay Vess, a scoundrel seeking freedom and the means to start a new life, along with her companion Nix. Fight, steal, and outwit your way through the galaxy’s crime syndicates as you join the galaxy’s most wanted.

Role: Game Designer

Genre: 3rd Person Shooter/Action-Adventure   

Engine: Snowdrop

Platform: PC, Consoles

Duration: November 2021 - November 2022

Company: Ubisoft

Anker 1


Enemy/Encounter Scripting

  • Implement and balance enemy encounters/behaviour.

Level Design

  • Create layouts and blockouts for single player and multiplayer maps.

  • Determine pacing using gameplay and narrative beats.

In the aftermath of The Great War, the world is in chaos and borders are being redrawn. Usonia wants to make the 20th century “America’s Century” while an old enemy in the shadows tries to seize power.. Iron Harvest is a real-time strategy game (RTS) set in the alternate reality of 1920+ where World War 1 was fought with mechs.

Role: Level Designer

Genre: RTS      

Engine: Unity (+ inhouse tools)

Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Duration: June 2020 - November 2021

Company: King Art Games

Awards & Recognition:

  • Best Game Design - German Developers Award 2020

  • Best Game - German Developers Award 2020

  • Nomination Best Strategy Game - Gamescom 2020

  • Nomination Best International Game - Académie des Arts et Techniques du Jeu Vidéo

Anker 4


Combat Design

  • Concepted several moves for a DLC boss.

Encounter Design

  • Designing, implementing, and iterating on enemy encounters.

Quest/Mission Design

  • Implementing and iterating on quests, dialogues and NPCs look and behaviours.

The Surge 2 is a hardcore action RPG with an unique limb targeting system and is set out to improve on its predecessor with more variety in its level and enemy design.

Role: Associate Game Designer

Genre: Action RPG      

Engine: Fledge Engine 

Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Duration: February 2019 - August 2019

Company: Deck13 Interactive GmbH

Awards & Recognition: 

  • Best RPG Nominee - Brazil Game Awards 2019

  • Best Sequel 2019 - Gamegrin

Anker 5

Retro Rockets

Retro Rockets is an objective based 3vs1 multiplayer FPS set in the Sci-Fi 70s.

Role: Technical Designer

Genre: Multiplayer FPS

Engine: Unreal Engine 4

Platform: PC

Duration: September 2018 -  January 2019

Company: Emissive Games


Combat System Design

  • Design, implementation and iteration on a core combat action for the Destructo character.

  • Design, implementation and iteration on a stamina system for the Retronaut character.

Technical Design

  • Design, implementation and iteration on interactible gameplay elements.


Other Projects


Arboreal is an open-world farming & adventuring game where you save the world and its ancient giants from a spreading corruption.

Role: Lead Designer/Game Designer

Genre: Action Adventure       

EngineUnreal Engine 4


Duration: September 2017- July 2018

Awards & Recognition: 

  • IGAD Awards Best Game Design Third Year Project


Combat Design

  • Designed and iterated on combat systems and feel.

  • Designed and implemented enemy and boss fight behaviours.

Lead Design

  • Designed and iterated on combat systems and feel.

  • Designed and implemented enemy and boss fight behaviours.

Narrative Design

  • Created several NPCs with different backstories and possible functions.​​

I Am the Eye in the Sky

I Am the Eye in the Sky is a first person puzzle-platformer where the player can absorb colours to transmit different properties to objects.

Role: Technical Design/Level Designer

Genre: First Person Puzzle-Platformer

Engine: Unreal Engine 4

Platform: PC

Duration:  48 hours

Awards & Recognition: 

  • Invited to showcase the game at the Gaming Horizons 2020 Conference in Breda, The Netherlands.


Technical Design

  • Implementation of gameplay functionality.

Level Design

  • Design, implementation and iteration of left field and mastery puzzle levels

Easy Wave Spawner

A personal project of mine to increase my understanding of Unreal Engine's blueprinting tool.

Role: Technical Design

Genre: Tool

Engine: Unreal Engine 4

Platform: PC

Software & Tools

Unity 3D

Unreal Engine 4


Tortoise SVN




Microsoft Office


Hack n Plan


  • Combat Design

  • Gameplay Design

  • System Design

  • Visual Scripting

  • Level Design

  • Technical Design

  • Self-Motivation

  • Responsibility

  • Communication

  • Scrum Development

  • Dutch (native)

  • English (Fluent)



Games have been a big part of my life and through them I have been able to enjoy a divers amount of experiences. From the fantastical world and characters of Final Fantasy IX to the more gameplay focused Halo: Combat Evolved and the more unconventional mechanics from Shadow of the Colossus. Games have been a big influence on my interests and the person I am today.

As a game designer I strive to create engaging and interesting experiences that I hope people will enjoy as much as I did when I played those games. Besides games I also enjoy reading, movies and learning new things.

If you've read this far I'd like to thank you for your time. If you have any feedback or just want to chat then please contact me via email or Linkedin. Feel free to contact me by clicking on the mail icon or send an email to

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