Principal Combatant Designer

Job Locations US-MD-Hunt Valley | US-TX-Austin | US-WI-Madison | US-CA-San Diego | US-WA-Seattle
Job ID
Regular Full-Time


ZeniMax Online Studios is seeking a Principal Combatant 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 major new IP.

This role will serve under the Lead Encounter Designer to design, implement, and tune best-in-class enemy combatants and factions, and to guide their usage in combat encounters. A developer in this role will shepherd the development of multiple combatants from initial concept to completion by collaborating with teams across all development disciplines. They will be a primary driver for the creation and assembly of the building blocks of our AAA action combat experience.

The preferred location for this role is Hunt Valley, MD, Austin, TX, Madison, WI, San Diego, CA, or Seattle, WA. Will consider remote.


  • Work with the Lead Encounter Designer to develop compelling enemy AI combatants including their weapons, their abilities and attacks, their weaknesses, and their behaviors
  • Work with AI engineers to develop supporting AI systems
  • Design, create, and maintain documentation for enemy combatants
  • Take ownership of one or multiple areas of the combatant development effort and help drive the team toward the game’s design goals
  • Collaborate with all development disciplines to bring combatants from early vision to industry-shaping final implementation, especially but not limited to character, animation, and visual effects teams
  • Mentor combatant designers and help them grow in their careers


  • Deeply creative with a great sense of what makes gameplay fun
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a cross-discipline development environment
  • Experience working with animators to bring a character or move set to life
  • Comfortable with a development schedule that is playtest-driven and focused on iteration and polish
  • Strong understanding of the discrete elements that make second-to-second PvE combat both easily digestible and endlessly engaging
  • The ability to problem-solve both holistically and on a per-component basis
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English
  • Working knowledge of scripting or programming
  • An online portfolio which clearly demonstrates relevant work experience

Preferred Skills

  • Experience developing Open World games
  • Strong public speaking skills

Salary Range

Principal Combatant Designer - The typical base pay range for this position at the start of employment is expected to be between $90,000 - $200,000 per year.


ZeniMax has different base pay ranges for different work locations within the United States, which allows us to pay employees competitively and consistently in different geographic markets. The range above reflects the potential base pay across the U.S. for this role; the applicable base pay range will depend on what ultimately is determined to be the candidate’s primary work location. Individual base pay depends on various factors, in addition to primary work location, such as complexity and responsibility of role, job duties/requirements, and relevant experience and skills. Base pay ranges are reviewed and typically updated each year. Offers are made within the base pay range applicable at the time.


At ZeniMax certain roles are eligible for additional rewards, such as merit increases and discretionary bonuses. These awards are allocated based on individual performance and are not guaranteed. Benefits/perks listed here may vary depending on the nature of employment with ZeniMax and the country work location. U.S.-based employees have access to healthcare benefits, a 401(k) plan and company match, short-term and long-term disability coverage, basic life insurance, wellbeing benefits, paid vacation time, paid sick and mental health time, and several paid holidays, among others.

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