Principal Encounter Designer

Job Locations US-MD-Hunt Valley | US-CA-San Diego
Job ID
Regular Full-Time


ZeniMax Online Studios is seeking a Principal Encounter Designer to join our studio for the development of our next AAA game. This is a chance to join an experienced group of developers in pre-production for a new IP.

This role will collaborate with the Lead Combat Designer, Lead Game Designer, Lead Gameplay Engineer, Lead Level Designer and Lead Systems Designer to bring gameplay encounters from early vision to industry-defining final implementations. This role will also work extensively with AI, animation, and gameplay programmers to define combat encounters in the game, leveraging a wide range of challenging enemies and fun gameplay spaces


  • Partner closely with the level design and content teams to help define an industry leading bar, and solidify best practices for, combat flows in level design
  • Establish combat metrics for AI in level design
  • Design enemies within Faction lore which fulfill "chess piece" combat roles
  • Design enemy offensive and defensive capabilities, create behaviors for those abilities
  • Create behaviors for enemy group coordination
  • Work closely with the combat team to design the Combat Manager system
  • Provide specific hands-on support with content for special case instances
  • Collaborate with the combat team in the development of mechanics, player abilities, weapons, and enemy designs to deliver a thrilling yet approachable combat experience
  • Work with the level design team to determine how combat spaces are built
  • Help define tool needs for scripting, laying out combat encounters & tuning combat data
  • Help to establish standards for documentation and implementation practices
  • Mentor level designers in building layouts that leverage a variety of AI systems


  • 5+ years of related experience 
  • Deeply creative with a great sense of what makes for fun gameplay
  • Excellent leadership skills, and the ability to work collaboratively in a cross-discipline development environment
  • Expert proficiency integrating imagery and text to deliver thorough, easy to understand design documents
  • Comfortable with a playtest-driven development schedule focused on iteration and polish
  • Strong understanding of the discrete elements that game systems are built upon, and the ability to problem solve both holistically and on a per-component basis
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Working knowledge of scripting or programming
  • An online portfolio which clearly demonstrates relevant work experience

Preferred Skills

  • Experience developing Open World games
  • Experience in level design
  • Experience in AI design

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