Full Sail Stories
Published Mar 26, 2021
Game Design Master's Grad Leads UI Design Team for Blizzard Entertainment
Full Sail grad Laura Sardinha Kidde applies her degree to her work on Blizzard's popular 'World of Warcraft' series.
"I always played games my whole life. I always loved games. And very early on in my life, I knew [I wanted to work at] Blizzard because of the Diablo games," says Game Design Master's grad Laura Sardinha Kidde. "It was my first online RPG, and I was amazed by it."
Today, Laura works as a Lead User Interface Designer with Blizzard, contributing her skills in art, design, and delegation to the video game developer's massively popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft.
"I remember when I got to Blizzard, it took me almost two years to realize that I was really there," Laura recalls.
In her current role, she oversees UI features for all World of Warcraft expansions and patches, while working with her team to implement user feedback and maintain the artistic integrity of the beloved fantasy franchise.
"There's a lot of culture inside the Warcraft universe, and the UI features have to match that," says Laura. "Our art should look like and be a part of the world."
Committed to continuous improvement, Laura and her team are not only designing the game, they're playing it too. "That's really helped us understand where players are coming from. I think it's very interesting when we hire people for a role. We want to make sure, especially, for the design role, that they play the game for real."
Originally from Brazil, Laura's early interest in a career in game design wasn't exactly a simple pursuit. With a lack of comprehensive game design programs and even fewer game developers in her home country, Laura opted for a career in something video game-adjacent: app and web development. "That was the closest thing that I could get to games," she says. "But it wasn't games."
After working for several years in UX design for web and mobile apps with companies like Microsoft and Nokia, Laura realized she wasn't ready to give up her dream of working in game design.
"I found some design schools, some other game ones. But they were very attached to the engineering side, or something more mobile. I wanted something that would open doors, and not limit me," says the grad. "So I went to Full Sail to get the master's in Game Design to open the doors, and see what I could do with it."
While working with Full Sail-based educational game developer CelleC Games during the last six months of her degree program, Laura began to design her portfolio to reflect the art styles of Blizzard games like Hearthstone and Warcraft.
"I could do the UI for the educational games, but make sure it had a Blizzard look," says Laura. "That really made them pick me from, I think, a bunch of people. They could see that I could paint UI. They could see that I could put a game together in a good way, UI-wise."
Giving her the chance to focus on developing her portfolio wasn't the only benefit for Laura from her time with Full Sail. "I remember the production classes that we had were very, very aligned to how we make games [at Blizzard]," says the grad. "I think the whole dynamic at Full Sail helps you see that everybody can have a role, and that you have to work together to achieve something. I think that's really good because that's how we do things here."