Photo of Denzel Weatherspoon game design alum

Practice Adaptability

August 15, 2023
Denzel Weatherspoon '19 having “unreal” experience in professional game design
Photo of Denzel Weatherspoon game design alum
Photo of Denzel Weatherspoon game design alum
Denzel Weatherspoon '19

Even if you don’t play video games, you’ve probably heard of the immensely popular online game Fortnite. Developed by Epic Games, Fortnite boasts more than 250 million average monthly players as of 2023, with more than 25 million people playing it every day. 

This Spring, Epic Games announced the new Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN), which will let content creators within Fortnite do even more to build interactive worlds shared between players.

Among the team members who worked on the new Unreal Editor were 10 graduates of Fitchburg State’s game design program, including Denzel Weatherspoon ‘19. Weatherspoon has worked for Epic Games since 2021, most recently as a quality assurance analyst.

“My role involves creating test cases and test plans for new and returning features going into different releases of Fortnite,” Weatherspoon said. “This role also involves assessing feature risk during development, and maintaining frequent communication with production, engineering, and design.”

For the Unreal Editor for Fortnite, Weatherspoon was part of the team that addressed bugs in the software - among other tasks - before its release.

Weatherspoon said his university experience was great preparation for the professional world. 

“I think Fitchburg State's game design program really excels at teaching students independence in the workplace while bolstering curiosity,” he said. “In my time at Fitchburg State I felt that I was able to gain a deep understanding for how the many working parts of a game come together. There was a lot of support offered in each course, and there was also a lot of encouragement for students to attempt assignments and minor development tasks on their own outside of class.”

I think Fitchburg State's game design program really excels at teaching students independence in the workplace while bolstering curiosity.

Denzel Weatherspoon '19

He recalls the game workshop and game seminar as particularly impactful, as was a study abroad trip to Japan (which will be offered again in 2023 and 2025).

“There were a lot of helpful tips that I picked up in college that I would love to share with Fitchburg State's game designers, but the one major piece of advice I would like to give is to ‘practice adaptability,” he said. “It is great to be passionate, and the education received will go a long way, but the industry is always changing. The assignments given are meant to challenge your creativity. Don't take them for granted, and push yourself to try something new within the guidelines given.”

Weatherspoon said students mustn’t be afraid to immerse themselves in new experiences and applications, whether it’s software, coding language or unfamiliar documentation. “Schedule some time to experiment with the tools you have access to," he said. "As a game design student at Fitchburg State, you have a plethora of industry wide software that you can use for free. Please don't squander that opportunity, and go crazy with what you have before it's gone. I am constantly being introduced to new features, events and ideas at Epic Games, and I wouldn't have been able to adapt to the rapid changes presented if I didn't keep exploring new concepts within the assignments given to me at Fitchburg State.”