Senior Director of Development

Production Austin, Texas


Description

Would you like to work on some of the greatest franchises in gaming history? Certain Affinity, the largest independent video game developer in Austin, is comprised of a tightly knit group of experienced, no-nonsense veterans committed to solid work/life balance. We’re best known for co-developing numerous AAA FPS games, though we are also creating compelling new games of our own.

We are looking for an experienced, dynamic, inspiring, and highly organized Senior Director of Development to join our team and play a key role in leading co-development projects and new projects at our studio. The right candidate must have outstanding communication skills, a proven track record as a leader in game development, and a good head for business. This role will lead the development activities of a substantial subset of the company, a “business unit,” coordinating, tracking, and guiding the activities of a full development staff juggling multiple projects and priorities to ensure that projects are completed on time and at a high quality. This role will also partner with our Senior Leadership Team to ensure that their projects are stable and profitable, including putting in place safety nets and backups in order to continue Certain Affinity’s nearly unprecedented legacy of profitability and stability.

The ideal candidate will be passionate about games and game development and have a healthy interest in and respect for the business and business relationship side of making games. He or she will demonstrate strong leadership skills, have a great eye for quality, a deep understanding of design, a solid technical background, extensive production experience, and a healthy understanding of games as a service. The right candidate is highly motivated and thrives in a highly collaborative environment, knows how to lead and organize development teams for success, and takes great pride in crafting amazing experiences for players. Come make great games with us!

Please review the job description and, along with completing the application, submit a cover letter that includes:

  • Your views on where you stand relative to the various responsibilities outlined in the job description
  • What experience from your resume is most applicable to the position?
  • Which areas are you most experienced and least experienced in?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses regarding this role?
  • Why are you interested in Certain Affinity, specifically?

Key Responsibilities

Leadership

  • Lead and grow a versatile, resilient, high-functioning and capable team which embraces accountability, seeks opportunities to maximize their potential, and takes pride in their accomplishments.
  • Build an effective partnership with the company’s Senior Leadership Team and establish trust and credibility with the studio’s department heads and staff.
  • Collaborate with your business counterpart and other key studio leaders to define the vision, mission, and strategy for your business unit; develop and drive plans to achieve these objectives.
  • Build and manage a strong project leadership team and strengthen the project discipline leads through training, coaching, and mentoring.
  • Foster an engaging, fulfilling and fun work environment that promotes the company’s values.

Operations

  • Create and own the product roadmap for the business unit, accounting for internal, external, and shared dependencies.
  • Develop KPIs to track project delivery, quality, financial performance, and risk and regularly report progress towards key objectives to the company's top-level leaders.
  • Identify and manage operational and business risks.
  • Coordinate with and partner with business operations departments such as Finance, Central Technology, Core QA, Recruiting, HR, Facilities, and IT.
  • Identify, assign, and track development and operational issues and risks to completion and resolution.
  • Solve complex project and business problems and balance priorities across multiple disciplines and teams.

Business Management

  • Manage the business unit P&L, including operating budgets, revenue projections, and resourcing.
  • Partner with the finance and business development teams to create and maintain forecasts and long-term financial plans.
  • Identify financial risks and work to mitigate them; identify business opportunities and work to take advantage of them.
  • Partner with the business development team on pitches, RFP responses, and contract negotiations, including direct interactions with publishers and/or clients.

Development

  • Drive project planning and execution for the business unit through studio department heads and dedicated project leads; hold teams accountable for meeting milestone commitments and quality targets.
  • Validate project plans for project teams, including scope, schedule, dependencies, risks, and risk mitigation plans.
  • Coordinate dependencies with supporting organizations across the company.
  • Drive efficiencies and new ways of thinking with a goal of reducing inefficiency and increasing productivity.
  • Keep the team informed on development results, schedule, and changes.
  • Report status at regular intervals and escalate urgent issues in a timely manner.
  • Set goals and priorities that help teams focus on the critical few: filters issues based on a clear understanding of project strategies and objectives.
  • Solve problems of all types as they arise, balance priorities, and find creative and efficient solutions that achieve results.

Requirements

  • 15+ years of overall game development experience and 7+ years leading a production-oriented team that has shipped multiple AAA console and PC action titles.
  • Proven track record of building highly effective business interpersonal relationships and generating new business.
  • Experienced business leader with thorough knowledge of a variety of business models, strategies and approaches, including outsourcing, co-development, and games as a service, and free-to-play games.
  • Successful deployment and ongoing maintenance of at least one live service game.
  • Experience building a high functioning, quality-driven, no-nonsense teams.
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented, self-directed, and capable of instilling that characteristic in others.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication and presentation skills.
  • Strong time management skills with the ability to engage across all disciplines, assess risk, define priorities, and resolve a wide array of problems.
  • Ability to multi-task and handle many discrete, highly varied tasks at once without losing focus on any individual items and without missing a stride.
  • Deep knowledge of game development – team dynamics, common development hurdles, game engines and technology, development milestone definitions, production process and methodology, outsourcing and co-development, scheduling, etc.
  • An experienced driver of accountability and improvement within organizations of a comparable scale and complexity.
  • A cool-headed, diplomatic leader able to maintain critical confidentiality and to have crucial, and at times sensitive, conversations.
  • An inspirational leader who can “rally the troops” and capitalize on opportunities through exceptional communication, motivation, planning, and organization.
  • An experienced leader with deep knowledge of the game industry covering business, entertainment, and technology.
  • A desire to work in a diverse and inclusive environment

Extra Credit

  • Experience working, partnering and fostering productive relationships with established brands and IP holders.
  • Previous experience as a Production Director, Game Director, Development Director, or Executive Producer.
  • Experience with large-scale development using UE4.
  • Experience with online multiplayer and/or FPS titles.
  • College degree in a related field such as Computer Science or Business Management.
  • Avid gamer on multiple platforms.

This position requires the ability to travel internationally. Relocation to Austin, TX is a requirement for this position.