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Location: San Francisco, CA
Look, Tim said I could basically write whatever I want here, so I’m going to be honest with you.
Being a level designer is an amazing job—you get to assemble, populate, and orchestrate a tiny world, full of its own inhabitants, stories, and amazing places to discover. You get to play with a huge toy box of models, characters, enemies, objects, and interactions to construct a pocket universe and, often, you get to help make a bunch of new toys that are needed for the fantastic ideas that you and the rest of your level team came up with. You get to make moments and places that people will remember for the rest of their lives.
At Double Fine, we’re just getting started on Psychonauts 2 and we’re giving level designers the biggest toy box imaginable to play with—the HUMAN MIND. We’re looking for a Lead Level Designer with wild creativity and technical acumen to help us imagine the best, most inventive, most mind-bending mental landscapes possible & manage a small Level Design team to design, layout, build, script, test, polish, and ship them.
- Serve as the project’s key expert and advocate for the art and craft of 3D level design.
- Bring creative inspiration, new ideas, process, and problem solving to the project’s levels and overall design through inspiration and expertise from inside and outside of games.
- Collaborate with the Creative Director, Lead Designer, and other disciplines to set, document, and communicate the core direction, design values, and quality bar for all level design on the project and ensure these are in harmony with the project’s creative goals, narrative, and themes.
- Collaborate with other leads to design, document, and administer the level design workflow, including defining key developmental milestones, interdepartmental approvals, technical standards, and design metrics and standards. Help to scope and schedule level design work and take direct ownership of the timeliness and quality of the final work.
- Use a variety of written, visual, and interactive tools to communicate and document design direction, new ideas, core principles, and critical feedback in a clear, actionable, goal-oriented way to other disciplines, all all levels of experience.
- Direct management of the Level Design staff, including hiring, career development, tasking and scheduling. Particular focus on strong mentorship, building trust, empowering creative expression, and creating an environment that values continuous improvement in communication, process, and creative output.
- Work directly on an individual level team to create polished, memorable, narrative-driven 3D game levels to serve as “pilot content” demonstrating the quality level and direction for the rest of the game.
- Lead or participate in interdisciplinary groups to design, implement, and polish level-specific gameplay features, such as unique player mechanics, bosses, and level-specific enemies.
- Drive internal feedback process for levels through formal reviews and internal / external playtests. Digest and prioritize feedback into actionable plans for improvement.
- Act as a primary client for internal level design tools. Work with programmers to design, test, and drive tools and workflow improvements to empower the Level Design staff.
- Maintain an expert level knowledge of the current state and trends in regards to project genre, tools, and competing games. Conduct regular research into past and present games and game productions to inform current project goals and process.
- Desires in a highly-iterative, collaborative, creatively-lead development environment.
- Experience and interest in working on narrative-driven games, with a strong focus in interactive / visual storytelling through level design and gameplay.
- At least five years of game development experience across at least two shipped titles as a level designer.
- Demonstrated proficiency with one or more current 3D game engines, scripting languages, and 3D authoring/editing tools.
- Deep understanding of the game market and ability to think about, dissect , and discuss games from a critical perspective.
- Advanced written English and creative writing skills
- Able to work autonomously, alone or in groups, when empowered with clear direction and trust.
- Solid, demonstrated ability designing, tuning, and balancing gameplay and levels for current generation console games.
- Demonstrated ability to define and drive design process in a group setting, including giving, receiving, and internalizing critical feedback, running creative meetings, and remaining open to new ideas and challenges.
- Prior experience in a lead / management role.
- Background or experience in fine art, writing, music, or other creative discipline.
- Experience as a level designer on 3D platform games.
- Experience as a designer on narrative-driven games.
- Experience with Unreal 4 on a shipped game.
- Experience with high level programming languages.
Due to the immediate nature of this position and current government employment-visa sponsorship restrictions, we are unable to consider foreign candidates.
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