Studio Design Director

  • Certain Affinity
  • Austin, TX, USA
  • 19 Feb, 2018
Full time Game and Level Design

Job Description

Studio Design Director

Would you like to work on some of the greatest franchises in gaming history? Certain Affinity is an exclusive Austin studio; we’re a tight-knit group of experienced industry veterans working at an entirely independent company. We’ve co-developed games in the Call of Duty, Halo, and Left 4 Dead franchises, and are now creating a compelling original IP and a premium licensed IP game of our own.

As Studio Design Director you will serve as advocate for, and manager and mentor of Certain Affinity’s design staff studio-wide including Systems, Tech, Level, Social, UI/UX, and Monetization design. You will provide a project-agnostic voice for the design team to the company’s executive leaders, advocating for the team’s needs and serving as a conduit between the team and other departments. You will help members of the design team at every level with skills development and career guidance, and grow the team by finding and mentoring new members.

Ultimately you will play an essential role in helping an exceptionally talented and unusually professional group of designers transition from co-developer to lead developer and IP creator. Come make great games with us!

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

  • Your views on where you stand relative to the various responsibilities in the job description
  • What experience from your resume is applicable
  • Where are you most experienced & least experienced
  • Where are your strengths and weaknesses regarding this role

Responsibilities

Team Building
    • Identify and recruit design talent at all levels and oversee onboarding and integration of new team members
    • Promote company values within the department and collaboration across departments
    • Develop and promote a strong design-focused culture that encourages creativity and uses an objective, analytical approach to creative problem solving
Professional Development
    • Institute a framework for coaching, mentoring, and education for continued skills development
    • Develop career ladders and other growth resources for all disciplines within the department
    • Ensure managers are providing regular, quality feedback and oversee quarterly and annual feedback and reviews
    • Mentor across all levels, and outside of the discipline, where appropriate, on design quality, processes, and best practices
Optimization and Efficiency
    • Ensure Designers are helping each other and collaborating across projects
    • Promote the development and adoption of repeatable design processes and best practices, including a partnership with QA to promote a playtest-driven culture
    • Drive identification, trial, and adoption of new tools and techniques that improve efficiency and quality of player experience
Management and Leadership
    • Partner with department leads across all projects, providing support as they manage their teams and solving issues as a collaborative, well-aligned design management team
    • Manage the top-level leaders in the department, including project-level leads and shared service leads
    • Develop succession plans, manage risk, and identify growth opportunities for future leaders
    • Leverage the design team to contribute to game idea inception and articulation of the user experience vision for new products
    • Backfill as a Design Lead when necessary
Promotion
    • Advocate for the department, communicating successes, challenges, and points of view and championing consistent processes
    • Promote the company externally, with emphasis on the talent and accomplishments of its designers

Requirements

    • 10+ years overall design experience and 5+ years running a design team that has shipped multiple AAA console and PC titles
    • A strong eye for fun and engaging gameplay with an ability to critically but respectfully dissect work and suggest ways to improve it
    • Expertise and understanding of the entire development process
    • Knowledge of game engine technology
    • Experience mitigating and resolving risks
    • Excellent communication skills (verbal and written) and time and project management skills.
    • Highly organized, detail oriented, self-directed, and capable of instilling that characteristic in others
    • Ability to multi-task and handle many discrete tasks at once without losing focus on any individual items and without missing a stride
    • Understanding of technical constraints and budgets in games and proven ability to work within them
    • A solution-oriented change agent accustomed to accountability and driving improvement within organizations, with examples to share outlining improved team dynamics and performance within diverse environments
    • A diplomatic leader able to have crucial, and at times sensitive, conversations
    • An inspirational leader who can “rally the troops” and seize opportunities through improved communication and organization
    • A strategic thinker with excellent analytical and implementation skills

Extra Credit

    • Experience working, partnering and fostering productive relationships with established brands and IP holders
    • Experience with free to play games and/or games as a service
    • Previous experience as a game director or creative director
    • Deep understanding of world design, cinematics, or narrative design
    • Experience with UE4
    • Avid gamer on multiple platforms

Job Ref

Studio Design Director