This job listing expired on Mar 15, 2024

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 major new IP.

This role will serve under the Lead Encounter Designer in crafting best-in-class combat encounters while also shaping the development of the enemy combatants featured in them. A developer in this role will help steer the development of encounter systems and philosophies, as well as drive by example the creation of combat encounters that expertly showcase good enemy composition, pacing, intensity, challenge, and moment-to-moment fun. Additionally, they will collaborate with teams across all development disciplines to bring together the building blocks of our AAA 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 best practices and guidelines for combat encounter creation

  • Design, create, and maintain documentation for combat encounters

  • Focus and grow into a project specialist in one or more areas of encounter design

  • Collaborate with all development disciplines to bring combatants and encounters from early vision to industry-shaping final implementation

  • Mentor encounter 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

  • Expert proficiency integrating imagery and text to deliver thorough, easy to understand design documents

  • 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 Player-versus-Environment 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

  • Experience in level design

  • Strong public speaking skills

Salary Range

Principal Encounter 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.