Senior Narrative Designer
At Splash Damage, we’re dedicated to crafting team-based multiplayer games that ignite friendships as much as they do healthy competition and teamwork.
Our teams celebrated the launch of Gears Tactics earlier this year, and we’re currently developing Outcasters for Stadia along with several unannounced titles.
As an UnrealEngine focused studio, we're excited to be transitioning our teams to the latest in UE5 technology and we're looking for skilled and passionate developers to help us drive this.
We're advocates for work-life balance and offer a comprehensive benefits package focused on the well-being of our staff and their families.
We believe that teams create the best work when they have a range of perspectives and experiences to draw from. Therefore we're committed to increasing diversity across our studio, fostering an inclusive environment to ensure everyone's voices are heard.
Due to the on-going COVID-19 outbreak, we're all currently working from home. We’re still looking to welcome new team members, who'll join us remotely until we return to the studio
As Splash Damage Senior Narrative Designer you’ll be in charge of implementing the narrative work of the game. You will be responsible for creating, developing and implementing the characters, environmental storytelling, story arc, emotional tone, pacing, dialogue as directed by the Project Leads. You’ll also be responsible for implementing and overseeing the narrative team’s work, and driving the work of more junior Narrative Design staff on the project.
You will work closely with designers, programmers and artists to create and maintain fun, playable experiences that marry gameplay mechanics and level design with storytelling moments.
Working with the Creative Director and Lead Narrative Designer, you’ll help establish and implement core Narrative Design pillars, ensuring the narrative vision is upheld, maintaining constant alignment across all disciplines. You’ll work closely with in-house and external writers. No text or dialogue will go into the game that you have not signed off on with your Lead.
You will assist in assigning work and ensuring it’s done to a high standard, on time. You will facilitate constant communication between team members, ensuring they understand their goals and how they feed into the bigger picture. You’ll have excellent written and verbal communication and be are able to clearly and enthusiastically communicate your narrative / design intentions.
You will coach and mentor more junior staff, making sure they have what they need to do their jobs effectively.
You will be responsible for verifying task estimates provided by junior staff and in turn work with your lead to give your own accurate estimates for work as well as logging work in management software.
You will provide input to Production / Management on project schedules throughout development to prioritise tasks/workload for the developers responsible for their assigned feature-set, in alignment with the product vision.
You will help articulate the impact of changes to the narrative to the developers on your team, help maintain morale, and set a personal example of professionalism and best practices.
You will have a thorough understanding of the narrative delivery / storytelling mechanisms and how the levels will deliver/showcase them, taking into account project goals, and the target demographic. You will need to maintain up to date Narrative Design documentation, ensuring Narrative Design guidelines, best practices and metrics are thoroughly documented.
You will be expected to have a clear understanding of the technical constraints of the game engine, the capabilities and workflow of the game editor and level design pipeline. You will also drive ideas to help improve them.
You will collaborate and coordinate with the art and level design disciplines to maintain a focus on the narrative / atmospheric aspects of the characters and gameplay areas. You will be expected to present your vision for the narrative and your work to the team, upper management and the wider company at various stages and be happy to accept positive critique from all sources.
You will pro-actively work with the other narrative designers to share knowledge, review content and ensure consistency both on the immediate team and across the studio.
You will be expected to regularly monitor the bug database and fix issues in a timely fashion to maintain stability and ensure that the game remains playable at all times.
Where necessary you will regularly and effectively communicate with any external partners or publishers; managing those relationships, presenting the creative achievements of the team, negotiating feature / change requests. You will manage and work closely with external writers and vendors. You may be required to communicate outwards to press, communities and fans in various formats from live appearances to pre-recorded interviews to forum engagement; acting not only as an evangelist and representative of the product but also as an ambassador for Splash Damage.
- Help the Project and Narrative Leads create the narrative vision for the game
- Assist the Project and Narrative Lead in assessing the workload and production capacity, plan work, and set priorities for the game’s narrative design team
- Work closely with production to allocate and track work via Agile task-tracking systems such as JIRA
- Assist the Narrative Lead in maintaining a positive, supportive work environment that motivates the team and prioritizes their development
- Assist the Narrative Lead in communicating the project’s goals, pillars and status to all team members
- Help communicate expectations of progress, quality, and alignment with the game vision, and any changes affecting the project
- Assist the Narrative Lead in overseeing, mentoring and championing the project’s narrative design team and the personal and professional development of its members
- Assist the Narrative Lead in anticipating, preventing and resolving personal and organizational conflicts and problems
- Develop, document and standardize systems to turn the game’s narrative vision into a playable experience
- Champion the player’s emotional engagement with the game’s setting, storyline, characters and plot developments
- Work under guidance of an IP holder to further develop their existing franchise’s lore
- Collaborate with writers, game designers and cinematics artists to craft the main storyline for the game
- Understand and create elegant connections between the core gameplay mechanics and storytelling methods
- Implement and maintain the storyline related mission logic, allowing for the game to progress between story beats in logical order
- Drive the design of narrative-related elements within the game, including map and level content to identify storytelling requirements and opportunities
- Work closely with character artists, environment artists and level designers to develop environmental and alternative storytelling methods
- Manage, brief and edit the work of external writers
- Collaborate and communicate with stakeholders across the project to create a compelling journey for the player to explore
- React swiftly to feedback on narrative-related elements, iterating to improve their quality
- Help the leads articulate the impact of changes to the game design to the team
- Maintain up-to-date documentation to guide the development team’s efforts
Essential Skills and Experience
- A passion for making and playing games
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Significant industry experience and 1 shipped AAA current gen (PS4 / XBOXONE) or last gen console or PC title that featured extensive narrative content, worked on from beginning to end
- The ability to work both collaboratively with other disciplines and independently without close supervision
- The ability to take direction, and rapidly absorb and act on stakeholder, publisher and IP holder feedback
- Experience with design documentation, diagram and flow-chart creation
- Experience working with a game scripting language to implement game logic
- The ability to manage and implement written designs and text and audio assets
- Skilled and experienced in writing to a high standard in all forms including but not limited to concept, research and design documents, blog posts, presentations, internal and external update and marketing videos, in-game tooltips, text logs, audio logs, VO barks, scripted scenes, storyboards, cinematic scripts, motion capture and performance capture scenes
- A proven ability to create text and dialogue fitting a game’s world and tone
- An understanding of the deep and varied aspects of interactive narrative
- The ability to create game worlds, characters, items, dialogue, backstory and lore to support IPs, whether our own or those of our partners and IP holders
- The ability to rapidly and thoroughly research potential game settings, and technologies, historical events and current cultural issues, writing clear guidelines for other developers
- The ability to convert research into actable, implementable, playable narrative design documentation and scripts
- The ability to write concept briefs for all other disciplines, particularly artists, programmers and audio designers
- Experience with source-control applications (SVN, Perforce, AlienBrain, etc.)
Preferred Skills and Experience
- Experience in working with dynamic dialogue systems
- Experience writing, casting and directing actors for voice over, camera, and for motion capture/performance capture
- Presentation skills and experience with PowerPoint
- Experience with wiki-based design documentation
- Undergraduate degree in English, History, Creative Writing, Video Game Design, or a form of technical training
- Experience with RACI matrices and Risk Logs
Splash Damage is an equal opportunity employer. We believe our teams create better work when they have a range of perspectives to draw from, and we are committed to creating an inclusive working environment that celebrates diversity.