Design Director

The Chinese Room has established a reputation as one of the most creative and exciting studios in the UK. We’re proud to be internationally recognised as pioneers of storytelling with a flair for creating atmospheric, rich and imaginative games.

As a Sumo Digital studio, The Chinese Room is built on passion, on finding amazing people and letting them shine. It’s an exciting time to be part of Sumo, winners of the Develop: Star Awards 2019 Best Studio and GI Biz 2020 Best Places to Work; big things are on the horizon and we want you to be part of our continued journey. Join us!

The Chinese Room is made up of a diverse mix of fantastic people, although sometimes, some groups are still under-represented. We are working to remove obstacles that can make it difficult for those groups to progress their careers in the games industry. We welcome applications from under-represented people in the gaming industry, including, but not limited to women, BAME, older people and those from working-class backgrounds.

The Role @ The Chinese Room

We are looking for an experienced Design Lead to join The Chinese Room to work on an exciting new game. This is a fantastic opportunity to play a pivotal role in developing the experience for our players.
As a Design Director, you will lead the design disciplines on a project, driving the execution of the creative vision as defined by the Studio Design Director and Studio Creative Director.

This role is a hybrid role with 3 days per week required in studio.

In your new role you will:

  • Be responsible for the recruitment, morale and performance of all Designers on your project.
  • Manage and mentor the Leads for Narrative, Level, Technical and Game Design disciplines on your project.
  • Review and feedback on design and implementation with the team.
  • Be a champion for the player experience ensuring alignment across all disciplines.
  • Be integral to project planning and scoping by working closely with Production to maintain accurate planning documentation and roadmaps.
  • Collaborate closely and effectively with the project’s Lead Artist, Lead Programmer & Executive Producer.
  • Oversee the creation and maintenance of design documentation.
  • Oversee the balancing of the game to deliver a suitable experience for target audiences.
  • Report directly to the Studio Design Director.
  • To be successful, you will have:

  • A minimum of 8 years’ game industry experience in Design focused roles.
  • Been a Lead Game or Lead Level Designer for at least 1 shipped 1st or 3rd person title.
  • Experience in an equivalent role on a AAA PC or console project.
  • Two or more shipped titles on consoles or PC.
  • Expert knowledge of Game and Level Design principles, systems and processes. 
  • Experience of delivering features from initial designs, through prototype to ship.
  • A proven track record of leading design teams to create single-player mission campaigns.
  • A proven track record of leading design teams to create 1st or 3rd person gameplay and levels.
  • Proven ability to present game vision to developers from all disciplines.
  • Strong leadership skills, with a proven ability to grow others to become effective leaders.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • It would be an advantage if you also had:

  • Strong understanding of Unreal Engine 4 or 5.
  • Experience working on single-player Action-Adventure titles.
  • Experience working on 1st person shooters.
  • Experience designing combat encounters.
  • Experience with blueprints and their implementation.
  • What we offer:

    . Defined Annual Bonus Scheme
    . ULEV car scheme
    . Monthly allowance to spend on enhancing benefits        
    . Salary Sacrifice Pension
    . Flexible Working  
    . 21 days free-use holiday
    + your birthday off
    + 5 learning days including 1 volunteer day
    + a duvet day
    + Christmas shutdown from Christmas Eve to New Year
    + Bank Holidays
    + extra allowance accrued for longer service
    . Free dental insurance 
    . Life Assurance 4x Salary
    . Income Protection of 75% for 5 years           
    . Enhanced Mat/Paternity & Adoption pay
    . Employee Assistance Programme:
    . Help at Hand - Remote GP, Mental Health & Physio appointments
    . Free financial & home buying support consultations
    . Cycle to Work Scheme
    . Payroll Giving Scheme
    . Access to 4,000 Udemy Courses
    . Career Development Pathway  
    . Wrap Parties.
    . Project Completion Awards
    . Game/Creative Jams
    . Big Family Events
    . Studio social activities, e.g. running, board games, film, yoga, life drawing…
    . Prism – Sumo’s employee diversity focus group 
    . Free fruit and drinks in our studios
    . Employee Referral Bonus     

    More about The Chinese Room:

    Our titles include the ground-breaking Dear Esther (2012), cult horror Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (2013), the VR fairy-tale So Let Us Melt (2017) the open-world adventure Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (2015), a PlayStation 4 exclusive that won major awards across the world, and the multi award-winning Little Orpheus (2020). This included an amazing 10 BAFTA nominations and 3 BAFTA wins.

    We bring our passion and commitment to creating exciting original games to a network of studios renowned for quality and expertise. Being part of the Sumo team enables us to expand and grow in ambition and confidence, taking our reputation for storytelling into new genres. Our most recently announced game, Little Orpheus, is an Apple Arcade exclusive and we’re working on other unannounced ‘AAA’ titles that will further establish our award-winning style and reputation.

    We offer a superb benefits package including generous holidays and flexi-time. We care about our people, with an emphasis on the work/life balance and out of office events such as our legendary Sumo ‘Big Day Out’, plus epic Christmas parties and much more! Our regular studio Game Jams are a highlight - winning concepts can go on to commercial release, so far including Snake Pass and the upcoming Spyder for Apple Arcade.

    The Chinese Room is located in Brighton in the south of England, home to an amazingly vibrant game development scene and a cultural hotspot with fantastic food, arts, music, shopping and sports. The studio is in the city centre, near the beach, and close to the South Downs National Park. Gatwick Airport is only half an hour away from train, and you can be in central London in just over an hour. It’s an easy place to love!

    Our environment is relaxed, friendly and built upon the basis of every team member having the opportunity to shine and have a realisable input into the games we create. We’re in the amazing position of building a brand-new team, and creating a studio culture that’s all about passion, respect, diversity, fun and togetherness. We’re looking for people that love what they do and love to share their enthusiasm with each other.

    Submit your application

    General Candidate Questions

    Demographic Survey for Sumo Digital

    We invite you to complete this optional survey to help us evaluate our diversity and inclusion efforts. Submission of the information on this form is strictly voluntary and refusal to provide it will not subject you to any adverse treatment or affect your job application. Information obtained is anonymised and will be kept separate from your name or job application. This information will be kept secure and confidential to be used solely to evaluate our diversity and inclusion efforts.

    A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.