Lead Game Designer

Design · Kirkland, Washington
Department Design
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Manager/Supervisor

Harebrained Schemes is looking for an experienced and versatile Lead Designer to guide our design efforts on an unannounced horror project.  You’ll collaborate with the Game Director and HBS team to establish and then advocate for the high-level design direction of the game. You’ve done a fantastic job as Lead Designer when we ship a fun, accessible, on-budget game that exemplifies our project pillars and resonates with our target audience - with a design team that enjoys working together, goes the extra mile, and is proud of their work.

If you are a thoughtful collaborator, with a deep understanding of—and appreciation for—player experiences across a variety of game genres and audiences, we’d love to talk with you.

This is an on-site, full-time manager role.

What You’ll Do

  • Lead and manage a design team of 5-10 designers on an unannounced new horror-themed game.

  • Work with the production team and the Game Director to regularly scope and schedule the efforts of the entire design team.

  • Collaborate with project and studio leadership to make decisions about design hiring (and contracting if appropriate). Be a key participant in the hiring & interviewing process for new designers joining the project, and for roles in other disciplines as appropriate.

  • Collaborate with the Game Director(s), other designers, and team members of all disciplines to design, implement, evaluate, and iterate on gameplay systems and content.

  • Manage the creation of game systems that are easy to learn and don't intimidate, but deepen over time and allow the player to approach situations with a wide range of possible strategies.

  • Prototyping and pre-production: Collaborate with your design team and project leadership through conversations, design specs, prototyping, and iteration - to find and define compelling high-level gameplay concepts that best serve the pillars of the game, while also fitting the game’s budget and schedule.

  • Once established, advocate for the high-level design direction of the game and get the entire team excited about it through clear prototype demonstrations and design documentation.

  • Provide effective, timely feedback to the design team during production. Through feedback, keep the design of the project internally consistent and high quality.

  • Make tough decisions when needed to balance gameplay goals against overall project scope.

  • Ensure that the design team communicates proactively and maintains close working relationships with all other disciplines.

  • Advocate for more/better tools and systems for the design team when needed, while continuing to work constructively within existing scope, schedule, and toolset constraints.

  • Provide concise and effective design documentation that’s useful for the entire project team

What You’ll Bring

  • Experience shipping at least one professional video game in a Lead Designer or similar role from beginning to end, directly managing a team of designers. (Preferably on consoles / multi-platform.)

  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to both give and receive (and solicit) constructive feedback in written and verbal format.

  • An iterative mindset. Prototype early, iterate often, finalize and polish later.

  • Enjoyment working with other designers and helping the group reach strong gameplay results, and know how to generate buy-in and alignment on project gameplay goals.

  • A good sense of judgement for when to jump in to tackle a design yourself, and when to delegate to others.

  • Experience leading people, processes, and thinking. You’re positive, proactive, organized, and comfortable prioritizing the tasks of others and yourself

  • A goal-oriented approach to game design: A great design idea is one that best and most elegantly accomplishes the project's experiential goals.

  • A player-first mentality with an emphasis on positive reinforcement over negative-reinforcement. 

  • Comfort and familiarity using technical game development tools (such as source control and Unity.) 

  • A high awareness of current trends in game design and the ability to thoughtfully examine and critique game experiences since you’re an active player of games

  • Experience with and desire to collaborate on game design ideas with members of the project team outside of the design team.

Nice to Have

  • Professional skill as a writer.

  • Professional experience in UI/UX design.

  • Experience as a product spokesperson.

  • You've played (and enjoyed) past Harebrained Schemes titles.

  • Knowledge of architecture, environment art composition principles, interior/exterior space design, etc.

  • Professional familiarity with Unity development.

What to Expect at HBS

All HBS employees

  • Contribute respectfully with empathy, emotional intelligence and self-awareness

  • Can work collaboratively in a team as well as independently

  • Are able to be self-directed in their work and learning

  • Bring a growth mindset to the work they do

Working at HBS means

  • Work-life balance - a work-family that doesn’t replace your family-family

  • Flexible workday hours and work-from-home opportunities

  • Time off when you need it - a wellness-first and family-first mindset

  • Easy access to studio leadership

  • Working with a warm, inclusive and diverse team, with a respectful and collaborative culture

HBS Benefits
Generous medical, dental, vision, EAP, FSA, and both short & long term disability
Paid vacation time
Paid sick time
Paid holidays including the week between Christmas and New Years Day
Matching 401(k) program
Annual profit-sharing from Paradox Interactive
Easy access off I-405 and free parking
Skilled, passionate, and fun co-workers
Pet friendly office


Thank You

Your application was submitted successfully.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

  • Location
    Kirkland, Washington
  • Department
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience