Artist and Level Designer for Age of Empires, Halo Wars, and Quake Has Passed Away

Known for Age of Empires, Halo Wars, and Quake, Jennell Jaquays has passed away, and we've got some information here.
Age Of Empires 3 Railroad In Town With Buildings
Image: Xbox Game Studios

The gaming community mourns the loss of Jennell Jaquays, a talented artist and level designer. She helped build iconic titles like Quake II, Age of Empires III, and Halo Wars. Jaquays’ career spanned over two decades, leaving an indelible mark on the visual and architectural landscapes of these beloved games.

News of Jaquays’ passing broke on January 10th, 2024, by her wife and fellow developer, Rebecca Heineman, posting an image on Twitter. The image preceded with the small message “Until we meet again…” shows Jenell holding Rebecca’s Tributes, highlighting her artistic vision, technical expertise, and collaborative spirit. Jaquays’ contributions extended beyond aesthetics, playing a vital role in crafting the gameplay worlds players explored and conquered.

It is likely that Jaquays died of an illness she had prior to her death that has been affecting her, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS is a rare neurological disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks the peripheral nerves, which carry signals between the brain and the rest of the body. This can cause muscle weakness, tingling, and numbness, often starting in the legs and progressing upwards. In severe cases, it can lead to paralysis and even difficulty breathing.

Despite her death, Jaquays’ legacy lives on through the millions who experienced the immersive environments she helped create. Age of Empires’ majestic castles, Halo Wars’ futuristic battlefields, and Quake II’s dark gothic corridors stand as testaments to her talent and dedication.

Gaming as we see it today is relatively new, so we don’t have many deaths in our industry from those who built it. Jaquay worked on games that laid the foundation for others, and that was back when it was a lot harder to get in, and the environment wasn’t as grateful. She did her part to build a multi-billion dollar industry, creating many jobs. We’re grateful for all she’s done because she helped create our jobs, too.

Jennell Jaquays is survived by a community of friends and colleagues who mourn her loss and celebrate her lasting contribution to the games they love. If you’d like to help, a GoFundMe page is still active for Janquays’ disease and may likely be used for her funeral.

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar, also known as Aggy, is the current Assigning Editor.

He started his career as an esports, influencer, and streaming writer for Sportskeeda. He then moved to GFinity Esports to cover streaming, games, guides, and news before moving to the Social team where he ended his time as the Lead of Social Content.

He also worked a writer and editor for both Pro Game Guides and Dot Esports, and as a writer for PC Invasion, Attack of the Fanboy, and Android Police. Aggy is the former Managing Editor and Operations Overseer of N4G Unlocked and a former Gaming editor for WePC.

Throughout his time in the industry, he's trained over 100 writers, written thousands of articles on multiple sites, written more reviews than he cares to count, and edited tens of thousands of articles. He has also written some games published by Tales, some books, and a comic sold to Telus International.

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  1. GameDev Friend

    In addition to being “a friend and fellow developer,” Rebecca Heineman was HER WIFE. Please change that. Thank you.

    1. Jorge A. Aguilar

      My bad, I have changed it, honest mistake =)