Get a job: Hinterland Studio is hiring a Systems Design Lead


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Location: Vancouver/Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

A Hinterland experience is one that marries strong systems-driven gameplay with player-authored narrative, wrapped in a thoughtful world and populated by compelling characters with strong narratives of their own.

We are looking for a veteran systems (gameplay) designer to join an early prototyping team that is aiming to pioneer co-operative survival gameplay in an online context for an original unannounced Hinterland IP. The focus of this project is create a strongly collaborative gameplay environment that nurtures positive relationships between players.

In this role, you will work under the direction of the studio creative director, and as part of a cross-disciplinary core team who shares equal responsibility for the project. Hinterland is not a “designer-driven” studio — we are a founder-led, core-team and collaboration-driven studio, where each discipline plays a key role in delivering a high-quality experience for our players.

The ideal candidate has a wealth of experience designing gameplay systems for survival or open-world action or open-world RPG games, with a particular expertise around building compelling co-operative mechanics in online games. For this project, the emphasis is on heavily collaborative gameplay, and not primarily action or shooting. We are looking for system designers whose work has been tested and proven in a live, online, multiplayer environment.

As a lead, you will also be responsible for supervising the development of systems, spearheading planning and communication around feature development, and potentially being the direct manager for a small team of systems designers and/or a cross-disciplinary team of systems designers, systems programmers, animators, etc.

We are particularly interested in candidates who have worked on high-quality, large-scale “triple-A” multiplayer projects, but an understanding how to achieve quality and a proven ability to innovate are more important than the scope of projects you have been involved with.

Specific “must have” skills and experience we are looking for include:

  • 7+ years of gameplay system design experience in multiplayer/co-op/online games.
  • 3+ years of experience as a design team lead.
  • Great communication skills. You must be able to write and speak very well, as communication is at the heart of collaboration.
  • Great written documentation skills. You must be organized and diligent about keeping your documentation up to date.
  • Proven experience with prototyping new gameplay systems.
  • Experience with hands-on scripting and tuning. This is not a “paper designer” role. All Hinterland designers (including leads!) are expected to put their hands on the game and contribute with implementation, tuning, and bug fixing.
  • Wide expertise with the full gamut of gameplay systems design, and deep expertise in one or more of the following: 3Cs, AI, progression, levels, encounters, gear, skills, UI, etc.
  • Leadership. We want an experienced leader who can add to the richness of Hinterland’s existing leadership team, while still being open to learning about our process and approach.
  • Analysis skills. You must be able to parse incoming playtest and analytics data and make wise and informed decisions about how to improve the experience.
  • Production experience shipping games using Unreal.

Nice to have experience includes:

  • Being the point of contact for analyzing player and playtest feedback on a high-profile live game.
  • Extensive experience in the Premium Games-as-a-Service space, with practical knowledge of how this influences systems design, and the ability to harness this knowledge to implement good and fair practices that are healthy for players as well as for developers.

If you have worked in systems design, as a designer or gameplay programmer (or hybrid), on a cooperative online game (particularly in the open-world exploration or RPG genre), and you would like to contribute to creating thoughtful, innovative player experiences in the survival genre which focus on collaboration and positive interactions, please submit an application to, [email protected].

Interested? Apply now.

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