Develop brings you a game industry professional to explain what their job involves and key advice to help you follow in their footsteps.
Head of game design
Being the head of game design is a position many developers strive for throughout their career, and Xyrality’s head of game design Torben-Lennart Böge explains how to get the role or a similar position and exactly what the job entails.
What is your job role?
I am head of game design at the games developer and publisher Xyrality, based in Hamburg. I create, discuss and develop ideas and features based on suggestions from the community as well as completely new thoughts. My job links the interdisciplinary departments in a games company.
How would someone become a head of game design?
To become a good game designer you have to work hard, but you also have to be smart and well versed in the mechanics of the respective game. It is also necessary to know the developing processes to find cheap but efficient solutions, because possible changes in games always depend on the available resources.
Finally, you have to be able to understand the different needs and problems that different types of players have. For example in our game Lords & Knights we have very aggressive players (‘killers’) and we have more passive players (‘achievers’) and they both have very different needs.
What do you look for when recruiting a new game designer?
Practical experience in game design is always important of course. However, you also need a broad knowledge of all kinds of games – video games as well as board games, trading card games and so on.
Communication skills – written and verbal – are crucial. Game design is all about discussing problems with different departments who may have different views on the topic.
What opportunities are there for career progression?
There are big chances in game design to make your career. Creative director is the top of the list, where you are responsible for the creative part of an entire project. However, there is a broad spectrum of fields that you can work on as a game designer. Apart from the variety of companies and projects, there are tasks in level and system design, narrative design and more that need to be done.
Why choose to follow a career in your field?
Game design is very rewarding and it never gets boring. Even if you gathered experience in every possible field, the new technologies like smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, smart watches and whatever comes next, will always find a way to challenge you and give you the chance to search for new ways to engage and entertain players.
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