Get a job: Crystal Dynamics is hiring an External Lead Designer

Tomb Raider dev Crystal Dynamics is looking for an experienced designer to join its team in Redwood City, California.

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External Lead Designer, Crystal Dynamics

Location: Redwood City, California

Crystal Dynamics, a part of the Square-Enix family and the studio behind the award-winning Tomb Raider game franchise, is constantly on the hunt to add even more top-tier gaming talent worldwide to our family. We pride ourselves on attracting and developing the best of the best to craft the most exciting projects in gaming. Our 25 years of development experience, as well as our studio members’ combined AAA game industry pedigree, has established us as one of the premier studios in the world today. Come and make us even better! Crystal Dynamics is headquartered in sunny Redwood City, CA, just south of San Francisco and north of San Jose

Join the studio as an External Lead Designer helping shape a new project! Benefits for this full-time position include a competitive salary, 100% employer-paid medical, dental, and vision insurance options and 20 days of paid time-off. You also receive free access to a well-appointed 50,000 foot athletic club (complete with a rock climbing wall and pool!), an impressive on-site cafeteria with food options for every palate, and a gorgeous natural campus by San Francisco Bay.

Position Summary:

The Lead Designer works with external partners to ensure they deliver at a high standard of playability and fun. While this is generally a hands-off role, we are looking for a person with execution experience who can work in engine with external partners. They should have a high level of expertise in formalized 3D world building processes, from planning and paper maps to 3D software implementation in a proprietary engine.  A successful Lead Designer will be a hands-on individual contributor with a strong understanding of everything from the fundamentals of game balance and tuning to the social implications of shared gameplay. They will have experience leading other developers to build engaging various game modes and campaigns. They must be able to iterate and refine their level given many different development challenges.  The person filling the position should be comfortable with scripting in a visual-based scripting language.  The ideal candidate should display strong collaborative skills when working with multiple disciplines including Narrative, Environment art, systems design and engineering.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Concept, design and implement fun and engaging game levels from the ground up.
  • Guide, mentor, and lead the design and development of cutting-edge online experiences.
  • Document design decisions clearly and communicate to key stake holders.
  • Broad based understanding about what makes levels and systems fun.
  • Ability to design and develop level design from concept to finished product.
  • Strong math and balancing skills.
  • Excellent knowledge of game design theory and game development concepts.
  • Experience documenting and tuning game systems.
  • An understanding of contemporary game design and the competitive landscape.
  • A great passion and enthusiasm for designing and playing games 


  • 7+ years of Level Design experience.
  • Must have at least one AAA game shipped as a Level Designer, ideally in a Senior or Lead capacity.
  • Experience working on levels for highly rated (AAA) action-adventure titles or 3rd person shooter titles.
  • Experience developing levels for online experiences.
  • Leadership experience in guiding design teams.
  • Strong understanding of the competitive landscape.
  • A passion for playing and developing games.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a game development program or similar
  • Experience with 3D level design tools (Unity, Maya, and Unreal). Unity being a must.
  • Experience working with proprietary development tools utilizing modular development for 3D assets in a prototype methodology for world building.
  • Experience building large open worlds with a keen eye for system design concepts a plus
  • Great working knowledge of game design theory and game development methodologies including level design theory and practice
  • Can easily break down core level design elements and use them when for creating combat, puzzle and traversal sections of a level
  • Must display evidence of work in portfolio style during interview (level design layouts, block mesh layouts, paper maps, etc)
  • Mid to advanced experience with common game scripting languages Unreal script, C#, Python / Lua
  • A deep passion and enthusiasm for making and playing action/adventure games
  • A good understanding of the competitive landscape in the console world 
  • Must be able to work in both a collaborative and “get it done” environment

Interested? Apply now.

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