Senior Level Designer

  • San Rafael, CA
  • Full Time
  • Game Design
  • Experienced

Ascendant Studios is looking for a passionate Senior Level Designer to help create an original AAA action game. The perfect candidate will be organized, efficient, and have strong creative and technical skills with a focus on narrative, combat, and puzzle design as well as a strong eye for composition and aesthetics. A background in AAA titles is required.

This position can be remote or in-person. Our new office, set in an old bank (yes, we kept the vault, aka our game room), has just opened after a 2 year renovation, steps away from shops, restaurants, and San Rafael’s vibrant downtown. 

Founded by industry veterans, Ascendant Studios is a fully independent AAA game studio committed to making richly detailed, visceral, narrative-driven action games of the highest quality that players will never forget. We are currently working on our first title, an imaginative and original new IP, which we have complete ownership and creative control of. 
What you'll do:

  • Own one or more narrative-driven campaign levels as well as additional content.
  • Drive your content from concept to completion while collaborating with other departments under the guidance and direction of your lead and director.
  • Document level designs, build 3D layouts, and implement narrative, combat, and puzzle content plus the under-the-hood systems that make it all work. Iterate on and revise your content to bring it up to a high-degree of polish.
  • Fix bugs, optimize content, and ensure it runs at performance targets.
  • Play your peers’ work and give them detailed and constructive feedback.
  • Assist the other Level Designers in solving problems and getting things to work.
  • Contribute ideas and provide feedback to help improve the quality of the game.
  • Help with additional tasks (provide support to other levels, document guidelines and best practices, etc.) as necessary and requested by your lead.

Who you are:

  • A seasoned professional with 8+ years of industry experience.
  • A credited Level Designer with 2+ shipped AAA first or third person shooters.
  • A highly-skilled generalist. You’re well-versed in the many facets of level design: aesthetics, narrative, combat, puzzles, spectacle, user-experience, player comprehension, and technical constraints.
  • An expert in taking the above-mentioned component parts of level design and turning them into a cohesive and engaging narrative-driven experience.
  • A creative who can both set a vision for a level and also execute on it to a high degree of polish and fidelity.
  • A doer. You get things done and are willing and able to guide the other members of the team to help you achieve your goals.
  • A proactive problem solver. You aren’t worried about any of the myriad issues that may arise during the course of development because you know that every problem has a solution, often more than one.
  • An organized, metrics-based builder. You create clean and efficient layouts using modular whitebox kit pieces and you know that you can make anything using simple primitives.
  • A communicator. You engage your team members, leads, and directors in conversation on a regular basis and do so in a calm, considerate, and professional manner.
  • A professional with a good attitude in a big-team environment. You know how to gracefully take direction and feedback and how to give it. You can read the room and know when to push back and when to let go.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills. Great time management and organization skills.

Bonus points:

  • Unreal Engine 4 or 5 experience.
  • Creative writing experience.
  • 3D Art experience.
  • Programming experience.

More About Ascendant:

Located in beautiful San Rafael, California, in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area, Ascendant is founded by Bret Robbins, creative director and visionary behind the original Dead Space, as well as the campaigns for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, Advanced Warfare, and WWII. The studio’s leadership has assembled a team of industry veterans with more than 600 combined years of BAFTA and Game of the Year award-winning experience on beloved franchises such as Telltale's The Walking Dead, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Borderlands, The Wolf Among Us, Mafia, Tomb Raider, Gears of War, Metal Gear Solid, The Elder Scrolls, Call of Duty, Dead Space and Bioshock. 

At Ascendant, everyone on our dispersed, 90+ person team is encouraged to contribute ideas to our new IP. We value creativity, inclusivity, equality, collaboration and professionalism, and we are fostering a fun, mature and ego-less studio culture built on a foundation of respect and an earnest top-down belief in a healthy work/life balance. 

We believe that teams with varied backgrounds and life experiences make better games. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of age, disability status, gender expression or identity, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, race, religion, veteran status, or any other category protected by law. 

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