Principal Systems Designer

Design · Seattle, Washington
Department Design
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Experienced

Undead Labs is looking for a Principal Systems Designer to join our State of Decay 3 team. We’re searching for a passionate designer who relishes our open-world, systems-based gameplay to lead the progression and economy systems of our game. Our ideal candidate is comfortable building their designs on a foundation of empathy towards our player base while simultaneously working on the most minute details of interdependent systems. Skills in economy design, LiveOps experience, and balancing interconnected systems, as well as documenting design practices, are core requirements for success. You'll work in a multidisciplinary environment to deliver flexible, deep, yet accessible systems to provide our range of players with rich and expressive gameplay and progression into the hundreds, if not thousands, of hours.


At Undead Labs, we work in highly collaborative, cross-discipline teams because we understand that the best ideas are ones we generate together. We operate this way independently, as part of a network of first-party Microsoft studios. With our rich history of entrepreneurship and empowerment, and the millions of players supporting our survival-fantasy games, you'll collaborate with us as we reach new levels of quality, ambition, and polish.

Core Responsibilities

  • Define, refine, and champion State of Decay 3’s progression and reward systems in service of both our existing players and our future audience
  • Establish, drive, and balance the game’s economies
  • Partner with Game Directors to realize broader franchise and story goals
  • Use visual scripting to implement and tune designs of varied scope
  • Document and communicate your vision to the rest of the team
  • Define and measure the effectiveness of systems with our analytics team
  • Work closely with UX Design to ensure systems are easy to learn and master by our players
  • Advise other systems designers in industry and project best practices

Skills, Knowledge, Experience

  • Deep experience with progression and reward systems, covering both short and long-term play
  • Experience with the design of online games or games as a service, including player retention mechanics and live game system balance/maintenance
  • Strong, interpersonal communication skills to facilitate working collaboratively with other disciplines in creating highly polished and responsive systems
  • Ability to write clear and effective design documentation
  • Passionate about developing and following high-functioning development processes
  • Ideally brings 8+ years of video game experience, with 5+ years direct, systems work

Bonus Traits

  • Experience with Unreal Engine (Blueprints)
  • Practical knowledge with implementation in modern engines (Unreal, Unity, etc.)
  • Background in economics or statistics
  • Background in programming (C/C++, scripting)
  • Shipped at least one AAA title as a content designer
  • Deep understanding of the survival-fantasy gaming landscape

Physical Requirements

  • Close vision to monitors and screens
  • Consistent work on computer equipment, such as keyboards and monitors
  • Long periods of sitting
  • Onsite work (once it begins again) in low-to-moderate noise environments


Reasonable accommodations can be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


This position reports to the Design Manager.

Undead Labs is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations, and ordinances.


To apply, please send a resume and a link to your online portfolio to We look forward to hearing from you!

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  • Location
    Seattle, Washington
  • Department
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience