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Joel Burgess is a developer who worked at Bethesda Softworks on Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 as the lead level designer and on Fallout 76 as an additional designer.

Career

Work on the Fallout series

For Fallout 3, Joel created the Liberty Prime sequence in Take it Back!, the Jefferson Memorial drainage chambers in The Waters of Life, and led the design of nearly all points of interest in the Capital Wasteland and downtown Washington, D.C.[1] He also wrote several notes and terminal entries for the game.[2] For the add-on Point Lookout, Joel served as the lead designer.

Joel implemented several easter eggs in Fallout 3 and Fallout 4. In a July 2019 Twitter thread discussing easter eggs and their acceptability in games, Joel talked about his belief that easter eggs should make sense and appear believable even to players who are unfamiliar with the reference. He highlighted the Snatcher references in Minefield in Fallout 3 and the Vitale pumphouse in Fallout 4 (the latter containing several other easter eggs),[3] as well as the Ray Bradbury tribute in the McClellan family townhome in Fallout 3, all of which he implemented.[4][5]

Other work

Before being hired by Bethesda, he worked at several companies (including Terminal Reality) as a designer and 3D artist. Joel left Bethesda in May 2016 and joined Ubisoft Toronto, where he served as the world director on Watch Dogs: Legion. He currently works at Capybara Games as a studio director.

Employment history

FromToCompanyRole
20012003UCF GAMES Lab3D Artist
20032003Dezign Corp./I-Net Holdings, LLC.Designer / Art Lead
20032004Terminal RealityLevel Designer
June 2005May 2016Bethesda SoftworksLead Level Designer
June 2016November 2019Ubisoft TorontoWorld Director
November 2019PresentCapybara GamesStudio Director

Credits

Fallout series

YearTitleCredited as/for
2008Fallout 3Lead Level Designer
2009Point LookoutLead Designer
2015Fallout 4Lead Level Designer
2018Fallout 76Additional Designer

Other work

YearTitleCredited as/for
2004BloodRayne 2Level Designer
2005Æon FluxAdditional Designer
2006The Elder Scrolls IV: OblivionAdditional Dungeon Art
2011The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimLevel Designer
2013Gone HomeAdditional Handwriting
2020Watch Dogs: LegionWorld Director

Notes

He and his wife's dog, River, modelled, animated and voice acted Dogmeat in Fallout 4.

References

  1. Geck Profile
  2. Joel Burgess' Blog: Fallout 3 Writing (archived)
    Note: These notes and terminal entries include, but are not limited to:
  3. Joel Burgess on Twitter: "Stumbled across an old easter egg I put in Fallout 4. Actually, kind of an easter egg within an easter egg, within an easter egg.
    I wonder how many people got how many parts of this?"
  4. Joel Burgess on Twitter: "So, example: I think the easter egg I'm most proud of is the McClellan house in Fallout 3. I won't detail it in full here, but it's a location full of references to Ray Bradbury, and a specific story in the Martian Chronicles."
  5. Joel Burgess on Twitter: "If you know the source material, the name of the family, the address, the dead dog, the poem the robot reads... all big nods to Bradbury. The house itself basically mirrors Bradbury's story. It's a glaringly obvious homage if you get the reference."
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