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Darya Makarava

Senior Producer

A picture of me

About Me

I was born in the former Soviet Union and lived in Germany, Texas, Maryland, and New Orleans before settling down in the San Francisco Bay area. I have a BFA in illustration with a concentration in game arts and an art history minor from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

I’ve been making videogames, first as a hobbyist modder and now as a professional developer, since 2004. Prior to embracing my calling as a producer, I worked as a concept artist and QA tester.

I have two cats, a dog, and spend too much time on the internet.

Ascendant Studios (2018-Present)

Senior Producer — Immortals of Aveum

I started at Ascendant when we were 8 people in a literal garage and have had the pleasure of guiding the team as it expanded to over 100 people spread across three continents. I have produced every team over the past 4 years, but Narrative and Engineering are my current focus.

  • Work with leads to create schedules and milestones that satisfied stakeholders while also being achievable for the team
  • Continually work to improve the general development pipeline at every step of the project
  • Schedule and run meetings, take thorough notes, follow up on resulting action items, enter and triage tickets
  • Anticipate, surface, and work to prevent risk on the project and on the team
  • Create and maintain documentation for every aspect of the project and studio, generally advocate for the necessity thereof in the midst of a rapidly evolving production
  • Set up and maintain relationships with production partners, including writing contracts and day-to-day relationship management
  • Run internal and external playtests and collate feedback from them, and liason with press and players post-release
  • Onboard new members of the team and outsource partners

In addition to these production responsibilities, I also acted as the narrative designer on the project:

  • Collaborated with Engineering and other teams to design, implement, and debug narrative systems, including battle chatter, dialog system, quests, walk-and-talks, and bespoke vignettes
  • In charge of localization on the project, providing information and guidance to our localization team at EA. Maintained our end of the narrative database and handled all of the importing of localized data in game. Debugged and fixed localization issues with subtitles and audio
  • Worked with sequencer and localization tools in UE5, as well as custom editor functionality for dynamic action events

I also wore additional hats:

  • Successfully transitioned the team to full WFH in the spring of 2020, set up tools and culture that have allowed us to remain remote forever
  • Facilities work, such as booking food and supply deliveries and building maintenance
  • IT work, such as purchasing and installing software and hardware, hooking up internet, accounts management, and general technical support
  • Primary liaison for social media and website consultants
  • Acted as sole recruiter for the first years of the project
  • Layout and content for presentations and books
Engine: Unreal Engine 5
Team Size: 8 to ~120
Image for Immortals of Aveum

Telltale Games (2017-2018)

Stranger Things season 2 poster

Assistant Producer — Stranger Things

Sole producer on the animation team on a brand new title combining Telltale's proprietary toolset with the Unity engine. Telltale went bankrupt and the game was never released.

  • Scheduling and tracking deliverables for both internal and external teams, including prioritization and scoping exercises.
  • Lead weekly review meetings with the animation team, as well as frequent check-ins with the narrative and game design teams
  • Working with animation leads to decide which assets should be hand animated, which ones to mocap, and which ones to port from previous titles
  • Help animation department leads explore new technology and pipelines, such as the DynamiXYZ facial capture tools
  • Create documentation for, and on behalf of, the team, including working in Maya to generate a reference library of available body and facial animations for use by the choreography (cinematic assembly) team
  • Identifying, reporting, and mitigating risks in animation and related departments
  • Helping out the Animation team with technical tasks where capable, such as processing mocap data and converting animations from previous projects
Engine: Telltale Tool, Unity
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Senior QA Tester — Walking Dead: The Final Season, Episode 1

Part of a small team testing initial builds of the game and evolving Telltale's QA methodology.

  • Setting up test plans, reports, and schedules for the team on our way to Alpha
  • Early testing with a focus on overall stability and performance on platform
  • Helped run and collate feedback from playtests
  • Researched and set up Hansoft for schedule and task tracking for the QA department
Engine: Telltale Tool
Platforms: PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4
Team Size: ~70
Key art from Telltale's Walking Dead: The Final Season
Key art from Batman: The Enemy Within

Senior QA Tester — Batman: The Enemy Within, Episodes 4 and 5

Senior tester on the last two episodes of this series, day-to-day direction for an internal team of 9 testers and 6 external testers.

  • Created test plans and communicated with leads to identify areas of the game ready for test
  • Daily reports on priority issues and bug statistics
  • Organized, ran, and reported results from playtests

 I didn't come across a single bug at all when playing through the last three episodes – now that’s progress.

— UseAPotion.com

QA Tester — Batman: The Enemy Within, Episodes 1 through 3

  • Daily testing in engine and on platform from pre-alpha to post-launch
  • Worked with the development team to surface and address qualitative issues as well as bugs

 Not only is [Darya] consistently able to bug the most amount of issues on any given day, she is able to take on and complete specialized tasks from management while maintaining those numbers.

— Richard Heath, QA Lead

Engine: Telltale Tool
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mac, iOS, Android
Team Size: ~110

Shoddycast (2014 - 2015)

Writer & Editor

I contributed writing and editing to this YouTube channel, focused on the lore of the Elder Scrolls series. The channel currently has 1.2M subscribers, and each episode has received between 310,000 and 700,000 views to date.

  • Writer for The Storyteller: Skyrim. Wrote nine 5-10 minute episodes of this lore-based machinima series based on style guide set out by channel owner
  • Provided direction to artist and pronunciation instructions to the actors
  • Worked with the channel owner to pivot the direction and style of the series to respond to fan feedback on individual episodes
  • Fact checking lore and editing writing for Elder Scrolls Lore: Season 2
Platform: Youtube
Team Size: 5
Screenshot from The Storyteller: Skyrim

Gameloft New Orleans (2013-2015)

Concept art for Cars: Fast as Lightning

Junior Concept Artist

As concept art intern and junior concept artist, I contributed to Ice Age Village and Disney Pixar Cars: Fast as Lightning as well as multiple unannounced projects.

  • Create art for isometric buildings, decorations, and interactibles based on IP style guides
  • Worked closely with designers to pitch and prototype new games, including doing visual research and proposing art direction, creating pitch decks, and making game-ready assets
Platforms: iOS, Android
Team Size: ~30

Mods and Fan Projects

Administrator — The Imperial Library (2010 - Present)

Content administrator for the oldest website dedicated to documenting and explaining the lore of the Elder Scrolls series.

  • Archive and categorize every lore reference out there, including in-game content, official interviews, supplementary publications, and developer commentary
  • Write and research articles and compile information in an easily digestible manner, including creating illustrations and diagrams from scratch
  • Conduct interviews with developers and write preview articles about new game content
  • Helped with transition to Drupal as our CMS solution and ongoing maintenance
  • Social media presence, news copy, contents, and general online presence for the site
Software: Drupal CMS, HTML
Team Size: 2-5
Diagram of Elder Scrolls cosmology
Image from an area of Hammerfell: The Eastern Grasslands

Modder & Administrator — Tamriel Rebuilt (2004 - 2010)

A mod for Elder Scrolls 3 and 4, Tamriel Rebuilt was named Best RPG Mod by GameFlood in 2007, and the #4 Best Single-Player Mod by PC Gamer UK in 2009. The TES3 section of the project aims to recreate the rest of the Morrowind mainland, while the TES4 section was focused on the province of Hammerfell and the island of Stirk. Each is several times the size of the base game.

  • Development work for nearly every aspect of the project, including interior and exterior design and environment art, testing, models and textures, concept art, writing, and player support
  • Lead the content review team and worked to establish quality guidelines, testing procedures, and overall development process
  • As administrator, guided the team and made planning and scoping decisions for new areas
Engine: Elder Scrolls 3 Construction Set, Elder Scrolls 4 Construction Set
Platform: PC
Team Size: ~15 to ~40
Years Experience
Shipped Titles
Over 9000


  • Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator
  • Adobe Premier/Premier Rush (basic)
  • Articy Draft
  • Atlassian Jira & Confluence (including setup and administration)
  • Autodesk 3DStudio Max/Maya (basic)
  • Drupal (basic)
  • Elder Scrolls Construction Set, Creation Kit
  • Google Suite
  • Mediawiki (basic)
  • Microsoft Office
  • Miro
  • Perforce
  • Slack (including administration)
  • SmartSheets
  • TeamGantt
  • TeamWork
  • Trello
  • Unreal Engine 4 & 5
  • Wordpress


San Francisco Bay Area, USA
[email protected]
Darya Makarava

Mistress Dratha, 2021

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