Lead Game Designer
About Splash Damage
At Splash Damage, we’re dedicated to crafting team-based multiplayer games that ignite friendships as much as they do healthy competition and teamwork.
Our teams celebrated the launch of Gears Tactics earlier this year, and we’re currently developing Outcasters for Stadia along with several unannounced titles.
As an UnrealEngine focused studio, we're excited to be transitioning our teams to the latest in UE5 technology and we're looking for skilled and passionate developers to help us drive this.
We're advocates for work-life balance and offer a comprehensive benefits package focused on the well-being of our staff and their families.
We believe that teams create the best work when they have a range of perspectives and experiences to draw from. Therefore we're committed to increasing diversity across our studio, fostering an inclusive environment to ensure everyone's voices are heard.
Due to the on-going COVID-19 outbreak, we're all currently working from home. We’re still looking to welcome new team members, who'll join us remotely until we return to the studio
As Splash Damage’s Lead Game Designer you will be responsible for the complete game design of an entire product or, for bigger projects, a large area of that product, driving end to end implementation across the team. Alongside the Creative Director, you will help to establish and evangelise the game vision, defining quality targets and validating the quality targets of others.
You will work to create and realise a unified game experience, and help to communicate the game vision throughout the studio, ensuring alignment across all disciplines. You will create and maintain documentation including the GDD and wiki pages, though you will largely communicate verbally; spending time with each team member, at their desks, ensuring they understand the vision and design, are “bought-in” and have what they need to do their jobs.
Working closely with the Creative Director, you will regularly and effectively communicate with any external partners or publishers; managing those relationships, presenting the creative achievements of the team, negotiating feature / change requests as necessary. You will communicate outwards to press, communities and fans in various formats from live appearances to pre-recorded interviews to forum engagement acting as both an evangelist and representative of the product and as an ambassador for Splash Damage.
You will manage, mentor & coach Senior & Regular Game Designers, including working with Production and your direct reports to schedule tasks.
You will regularly be part of peer-reviews.
You will regularly communicate out progress against quality, scope and game vision alignment expectations. You will discuss and explain the rationale behind your decision making and listen, iterating on feedback from other disciplines or Designers. You will regularly present the areas of the game you are responsible for to the studio. Where necessary you will act as the deputy to the Creative Director.
You will define and implement feature optimizations and tuning plans, demonstrating a strong understanding of metrics and development restrictions; you will own the tuning for accountable features or levels. You will lead focus group sessions, generate feedback reports, deliver them to the product team and integrate relevant feedback into the product design.
You will verify task estimates provided by junior staff and in turn work with the Creative Director to give your own accurate estimates for work as well as logging work in management software. You will provide input to Production / Management on project schedules throughout development to prioritise tasks / workload for the developers responsible for their assigned feature-set, in alignment with the product vision. You will articulate the impact of changes to the game-design to the developers on your team.
Essential Skills and Experience
- A passion for making and playing games
- A deep understanding of all aspects of design with mastery in many areas including: feedback, controls, balance, narrative, game-feel, retention, usability, on-boarding, social mechanics and player motivation
- Industry experience in a Lead position and 2 shipped AAA current gen (PS4 / XBOX ONE) console or PC title that featured a multiplayer component, worked on from beginning to end; preferably a first or third-person shooter
- Fierce attention to detail
- The ability to work independently without close supervision and strong problem solving skills with the ability to think laterally
- Leadership experience, including the running of a multi-person design team; people-management, mentoring, line-management
- Experience of being the vision holder for one or more key elements on a project, communicating that vision out and getting buy-in from your team and external stakeholders
- Excellent verbal and presentation skills
- Experience writing high quality and thorough design documentation; including wiki-based design documentation, flow charts and spreadsheets
- Knowledge of industry trends in regards to genres, gameplay, development models, and financial models
- Experience of prototyping gameplay mechanics using UE4, Unity, or similar
- Experience with source-control applications (SVN, Perforce, AlienBrain, etc.)
- The ability to work collaboratively with other disciplines and experience of being a key part of a leadership group
- Highly experienced with Microsoft Office Products and other business software including: Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, Visio, Adobe Photoshop or similar
- An understanding of systems, systemic design, emergent gameplay and the place of procedural content generation in development
- Deep player empathy
Preferred Skills and Experience
- Experience in F2P / Games as a Service
- Experience running the live phase of a game as a service, including using telemetry / metrics to inform design and content decisions
- Experience of being the flag-bearer / champion for a product including giving presentations to press and at conferences / events
- Experience of parsing the results of, and acting on, market research e.g. Focus groups, qualitative and quantitative surveys etc.
- Experience with 3DSMax, Maya, or other professional 3D modelling software
- Strong maths skills; formulas, probability, statistics and balancing
- Experience with scripting or programming languages
- Undergraduate degree in Video Game Design, Computer Science, Marketing, Entertainment or a form of technical training
Splash Damage is an equal opportunity employer. We believe our teams create better work when they have a range of perspectives to draw from, and we are committed to creating an inclusive working environment that celebrates diversity.