Who we are

A Thinking Ape builds communities through mobile games with emergent social play and original IP. We released our first game in 2009 and have been profitable and growing every year since. We are a bottom-up driven company with small teams that have a big focus on ownership and data driven decision making. Our portfolio of games are growing and we are scaling our team to bring our games to more players. 

 

The job

We are looking for a Systems Game Designer to join our team and help us harness the explosive growth of our games, turning it into team and company success. You will be working with a full team of developers, artists, and community managers, along with support from our user acquisition and data science teams. You will help drive product growth of Kingdoms of Heckfire on our live ops team. You will be responsible for the game's systems and their interaction, growing the game and its features while ensuring everything is in alignment for success while staying true to ATA’s core values and strategic plan. You will have regular 1 on 1 time with your design lead, with a focus on career growth so that you can become a lead yourself and start your own game at A Thinking Ape.

 

Our Growing Games

Kingdoms of Heckfire is a highly popular free-to-play Kingdom Builder/SLG game with market leading metrics. The game is a fresh take on the popular Kingdom Builder/SLG genre, with a passionate community, accessible gameplay and memorable characters. 

Party in my Dorm is a highly popular free-to-play game in the midst of rapid growth. The game has the population of a small city, with a player driven trade economy, a passionate community and years of content. With a focus on fashion, relationships, stories and home decor, it often surprises people to learn that it’s also one of the most hardcore PVP games on the mobile market. 

 

The team

You will be a senior member of the Heckfire Game Design team, working together with other designers, artists, engineers, and community managers, on a team which leads the industry in supporting and growing live games. We design, build, release and improve on huge new features and we aren’t afraid to try new things, take risks, fail, and learn. We consistently challenge both our old biases and our new ideas with data. 

 

Things you will work on:

  • Work with engineers and artists to implement new systems or features
  • Own prioritization of ongoing live-ops tickets
  • Act as a thought leader for your personal areas of expertise
  • Dig into data to protect the health of the game economy and systems, and if needed, make decisive balance changes
  • Develop and iterate on work processes of all designers on the team
  • Work with UA to grow the games
  • Provide your expertise and proposals to leads in order to set direction for the team
  • Analyze live events and provide recommendations and guidance to junior designers
  • Create opportunities for junior designers to achieve success by building on foundations you laid

 

Who you are

Above all else, you are someone who loves mobile game systems and game economies. You have experience working on live games in the mobile free-to-play business model. You understand the complexities of driving growth through leading game metrics and user acquisition. You understand the power of social games that tap into underserved market segments like Party in my Dorm as well as the deep LTV curves of strategy games like Kingdoms of Heckfire. You are comfortable with games that have numerous systems that interact with each other, and you can do the math to convince yourself these interactions are well balanced.

The perfect candidate will also be a passionate, high level player in the free-to-play fashion, home decor design and life simulation games like Party in my Dorm, and/or march battle games like Kingdoms of Heckfire. You play them daily, understand how they monetize, and have a strong desire to be involved in creating one yourself. You understand how these games work and create long term value through content systems. You have a keen understanding of what it takes to have a thriving, healthy player community within a competitive game community.

The qualifications we’re looking for are:

  • Worked on a free-to-play march battle game, life simulation, fashion, home decor, cooking or farming game and have a strong understanding of the game mechanics and monetization in this genre
  • Mastery at working with spreadsheets, SQL, or other tools for data analysis
  • Understanding of the advantages of different approaches to organizing design data and getting it in game
  • Deep knowledge of systems design, combat balance, merchandising and/or economy design
  • Developed and launched new features, evaluated their success and iterated in a live environment
  • Experience with live event creation and management
  • Experience with data analysis, KPI impact analysis and metrics based decision making
  • Experience working with customer feedback and growing game communities
  • Understanding of mobile UX design including creating wireframes and user flows
  • Understanding of prioritization of features and content including risk assessment
  • Worked with user acquisition teams to grow a game’s user base
  • A history of being a thought leader at the companies you have worked for in the past
  • Familiarity with basic finance (P&L)
  • A cross-disciplinary skill like art, writing, engineering, etc.

 

Remote first 

We have committed to a remote first approach with access to in-person collaboration spaces in Vancouver when safe to do so. Our intention is to use 2021 as the foundational year to develop our remote excellence and help shape the future of ATA. This means our roles are currently open to candidates who can work in Canada between the core hours of 11am - 4pm PST. We are open to help relocate the successful candidate to Canada.

 

While everyone on our team is different, to thrive here you should... 

  • Be self motivated, take pride in your work and enjoy huge amounts of ownership
  • Set aside your ego and have wonderful arguments with your coworkers in order to create something better than any one person could individually
  • Challenge your own assumptions and use data to make decisions whenever possible 
  • Be passionate about teaching others what you know and continuing your own growth every day
  • Not be afraid to fail–you experiment and learn from your mistakes

 

What’s in it for you 

At ATA you’re offered a flexible, safe, inclusive environment in which you have the autonomy to do your best work, surrounded by a strong team and with the encouragement of supportive leadership that doesn’t just care what you’re doing, but how you’re doing. You’re trusted, respected, listened to, cared for and valued. You take on thought-provoking projects and tackle fun problems alongside people who are equally invested in making meaningful contributions and seeing new ideas come to life. You know how your work aligns with the company’s goals. Your career is given the space and resources to progress. You accomplish things that make you proud. You are compensated competitively, your health and wellbeing are top priorities and you enjoy plenty of perks. You build communities, take ownership, have wonderful arguments, let the best ideas win and keep growing. You don’t just work for ATA, you are an integral part of ATA.

 

Our commitment to inclusion

We build communities. To do this to the best of our abilities, we need a workforce that reflects the diverse player communities we serve. We believe a variety of perspectives and experiences allows us to make better decisions and understand the needs of our players. We work hard to create an environment where everyone, from any background, can do their best work and feel like they belong at ATA. 

Please consider applying even if you don't meet every qualification and let us know if you require any accommodations or support during the recruitment process. 

 

Discover even more

Check out our story to find out how we got to where we are today, and learn about our culture by following @athinkingape on social. You can also listen to Kenshi Arasaki, ATA CEO & Co-Founder, talk about what it’s like to work here.

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These questions are optional and will not be tied to your application. We are committed to increasing representation of underrepresented identities at ATA. By collecting this information we are able to report on our efforts and work to attract and hire across a range of identities and understand our own biases. 

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