How to become a game designer

Video games have always been one of your main passions. On the other hand, this medium is able to transport you to magical worlds: you feel at home, no matter if you are defeating dragons, if you are impersonating a well-known plumber to overcome obstacles or if you are letting yourself be “lulled” by an atmosphere. dreamlike.

Art at the center of the videogame world has always left you with bated breath: there is little to do, you think this is your career path. For this reason, you are looking for information on how to become a game designer , as you want to be yourself, putting your creativity into the field, to bring the magical worlds of tomorrow to life.

I understand this feeling well: the dream of working in the sector is nothing short of fascinating. However, choosing a path is not easy and you must always clash with reality, following your dreams but also trying to stay, in some ways, with your feet on the ground. What do you say? Are you ready to investigate the matter? You just have to continue reading!


  • Preliminary information
  • What to study to become a game designer
  • How to work as a game designer
    • Find job vacancies
    • Try the independent road
    • Other useful tips for becoming a game designer

Preliminary information

Before giving you some information on how to become a game designer , I would like to make some clarifications, since we are referring to a professional path.

First of all, who is a game designer ? There are not a few who think there is only the figure of the developer behind a video game, but the reality is quite different. During your videogame “raids” you will surely have had the opportunity to take a look at the credits of a triple AAA : the number of people working on these great projects is particularly high.

To be clear, having 600 people, among other things in various countries, working in a leading open world title has become a concrete possibility over the last few years, also due to the increasing costs and complexity of the projects involved. Developers, game designers, musicians and much more: the professional figures involved are many and very varied.

In this context, you understand well that the game designer represents one of the key figures of videogame development, but clearly a close-knit team is needed to aim high (of course, there are also those who, independently, do everything by themselves, but you understand well that people of that type are few and generally have “reduced” ambitions compared to triple AAA, even if in this sector anything can always happen).

In any case, generally many people aim to want to become the game designer for a reason: they are fascinated by leading figures in the industry, from Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear, Death Stranding) to Shigeru Miyamoto (Donkey Kong, Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time). Probably, these two names are the ones that have led more people to at least try to find out about this world.

On the other hand, who wouldn’t want to be able to attract the attention of a large audience with the same style as Hideo Kojima? A simple video of a few seconds or a “clue” left who knows where is enough for an impressive number of fans to want to know more about what the visionary game designer’s next project will be.

On the other hand, the deep “hidden meanings” that permeate works like Death Stranding can only be a driving force for the creativity of certain people. Taking this title as a practical example, in this case the imprint of the game designer can be seen from the first second.

Death Stranding is not a game for everyone and it doesn’t want to be: in a market dotted with frenetic titles, Kojima puts calm, fatigue and silence at the center of the playful experience, trying to make the player think . It is a strong “stance”: the atmosphere of Death Stranding is closely linked to the vision of its game designer.

This is probably the best way to explain what a videogame designer does: he directs the team in a direction , makes the project coherent , decides the pace , takes care of the playful experience and tries to “leave his signature” in everything. it’s about the game. To be clear, generally a game designer also takes care of updating colleagues on the status of the work, “putting his hand” to all the documents of the case.

Obviously, given that it is a creative work, in reality there are no hard and fast rules regarding what a game designer must or must not do: what is certain is that often the public is used to associate success almost exclusively with this figure. some video games. The game designer can in fact become, as happened with the names mentioned above, the leading figure, or the creative who managed to create a title “with his own hands”, the author who created the narrative universe from nothing. everyone is talking about.

In reality, as already mentioned above, behind a video game there are many other important figures, without which the game designer could not realize his vision. However, as in practically every industry, people sometimes need to associate success with a single person and the game designer is obviously the most suitable figure in this situation. For the public, the others often represent “simply” those who helped the game designer to make his work.

In any case, associating the success of a work with a person generally works at the marketing level : this explains why some game designers also become an “image man” of the company or found their own software house (suffice it see Kojima Productions). In short, I understand well why you are fascinated by a career of this type.

Before analyzing the sector, I would like to clarify that this tutorial does not in any way presume to explain to someone what they must do to follow a certain path, but simply to provide “reasoned” information that could be useful to those who are looking for to take the first steps in this complex world.

What to study to become a game designer

Now that I have explained the general situation to you, you have probably entered a “dreamy” atmosphere and are already looking for a method to follow this path. I appreciate this approach, but I also want to bring you back “down to earth” for a second: keep in mind that no one will teach you in detail how this work is done .

This is essentially true for every area where creativity comes into play: you can be directed towards the right tools, better understand how the sector works, learn the basics and meet people who can help you, but then you will have to be the one to demonstrate that you have the qualities. to actually be able to become a game designer .

In the workplace, on which people focus a lot for their life in general, it is always good not to “deceive” anyone: keep in mind the fact that no one can promise you with absolute certainty that you will find a stable job in a sector like the videogame one. In fact, the places linked to large companies are limited and the difficulties to encounter are not few. Also, unfortunately, there are a lot of “crap promises” around, so be careful .

That said, I do not want to discourage you in any way in following your dream: if at this moment I am here and you are reading this post, it is precisely because at the time I decided to try to follow my path, despite the many difficulties. In short, it probably won’t be easy to become a game designer, this is always good to keep in mind, but there are some people out there who have managed to do it, so I don’t see why not to try this path if the passion is there and you wouldn’t do anything else. from morning to evening.

In any case, net of the considerations made previously, at the level of training in Italy some believe that it is good to focus on qualifications that we could define “classic”, for example following a path linked to Design or Information Technology (perhaps achieving a degree ). There is no right or wrong choice and it is certainly not up to me to tell you what to do: for example, there may be those who want to focus on Communication Sciences , given that perhaps they consider this path more suitable for their training.

For the rest, there are academies that promise to “strengthen” the skills of students. The debate around these realities is particularly “intricate” (also because of the costs that are often far from low), but for some it could actually be interesting to approach this world. In this context, among the most prominent Italian companies there are certainly Vigamus Academy (which offers degree courses related to Gaming) and Digital Bros Academy (a reality that also operates in the development, publishing and distribution markets through well-known brands 505 Games and Halifax).

Net of this, it is obviously difficult for me to show you all the possibilities related to your area and abroad. For this reason, net of the information I have provided you, I recommend that you carry out some research yourself and try to understand which path is right for you (everyone has their needs), perhaps also deepening specific courses and masters made available by the most University notes . By doing so, you will discover, for example, that the IULM of Milan offers a master in Game Design .

Whether the lessons are to be taken face- to-face or online , simply change the method, you may find bread for your teeth. Alternatively, if after an in-depth research you feel that it is not worth following this approach but that it is better to enter the world of work directly, you might be interested at least first to train yourself as a “self-taught” person . In this context, in addition to the countless information available for free online , you may be interested in “investing” in some interesting books .

For example, “The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses” by Jesse Schell, a well-known American video game designer, available in English in various editions on Amazon , could be for you. Other interesting books are Raph Koster’s “Theory of Fun for Game Design” (Ultima Online lead designer) and “Advanced Game Design: A Systems Approach” by game designer Michael Sellers.

Clearly, these books won’t teach you how to do this type of work, but I’m sure you’ll find the insights from people who have been in the industry for some time interesting.


The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Third Edition (English Editi …

See offer on Amazon


Theory of Fun for Game Design (English Edition)

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Advanced Game Design: A Systems Approach (English Edition)

See offer on Amazon


How to work as a game designer

I would say that the time has come to move on to the job of game designer . Whether you have decided to attend a training course or are trying to insert yourself directly within the sector, the information below may be useful now or in the future.

Find job vacancies

How do you say? Do you find it difficult to find a job as a game designer in Italy (or in the video game industry in general)? Let’s start with an example of a person who made it and is on the lips of video game fans worldwide.

I refer to Davide Soliani . According to some information made known over the years, Davide’s initial approach was the “not very confident” one that we all have about our country: can projects of this type really be carried out in Italy? Apparently the answer is yes, as today Davide Soliani is considered the game designer who most of all managed to bring our country up in the world videogame industry (think that his Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle for Nintendo Switch has obtained the approval of Shigeru Miyamoto , as well as critics and audiences).

How did Davide start his career in this sector and represent the “Ubisoft man” of E3 2017 ? Proposing himself as soon as he had the chance, focusing on his creative ideas and putting aside like everyone, especially at the beginning, the desire for astronomical figures. In short, video games in Italy can be done with the right dedication . You’ll forgive me for briefly telling you a single story, but trust me: motivating , networking, and being creative is probably the best way to find work in this industry .

For the rest, doing a Google search as “game designer job offers” will help you find any proposals made by large and small businesses in the area, from Ubisoft Milan to Ovosonico (who said Murasaki Baby, Last Day of June and Massimo Guarini ?), passing through Milestone (who said MotoGP?), just to name a few, but it is probably the passion and the will to get involved and creatively propose to make a real difference.

In any case, if I were you, I would take a look, for example, at Ubisoft’s Indeed profile : to give you a concrete example, at the time of writing the aforementioned Ubisoft Milan is looking for a Senior 3D Animator for the next Mario + Rabbids. In short, obviously I cannot provide you with a “golden rule” to find work in this world, but the advice I can give you is to always be attentive to the available proposals and never be afraid to propose yourself even outside these contexts ( we have all received rejections in our careers).

For the rest, looking at Italy is clearly fine, but you might also be interested in taking a look abroad , thus broadening your horizons. Furthermore, if you have skills in certain fields, you could try to enter a reality even occupying a role other than that of the game designer, perhaps aiming to get there during your career (demonstrating your skills).

In this context, I can direct you to various interesting portals to find work . In addition to the aforementioned Indeed , you may be interested in consulting Jobbydoo . To give you a concrete example, through research carried out through this website, using keywords such as “game designer” and “video games” , I learned that in the first months of 2021 both Milestone and Ubisoft Milan, two of the most important Italian realities , they searched for a Lead game designer and a Junior Technical game designer respectively. Obviously, the proposals may have “expired” by the time you are reading this post, but at least now you know where to find any Italian ads.

If you want to look for a job abroad instead , an interesting website is Glassdoor . The latter in fact allows you to take a look at announcements that go beyond Italy . For example, in July 2021 Electronic Arts searched for a Game Designer in Sacramento (California) through this portal. Speaking of EA and its job offers, you may also be interested in the official website dedicated to job opportunities .

Also, do not underestimate LinkedIn : the famous social network dedicated to the world of work can in fact allow you to find interesting job offers even in the field of game design. Among other things, it is possible to search by place and by individual company , for example Ubisoft . Furthermore, a search as a “game designer” never hurts and could provide some satisfactions. Obviously, you should try to take care of your LinkedIn profile to try to make a “good impression” with your possible future employer. In short, you now have various sources to keep an eye on to understand which job offers are available for this sector.

In any case, do not make the mistake of wanting to start from the larger realities: in certain contexts, it may be wise to “get the bones” in small independent teams .

Try the independent road

Speaking of indies , did you know that the First Playable Fund was launched in Italy , a fund established at the Ministry of Economic Development which aims to support the development world of the digital entertainment industry in our country with an initial endowment of 4 million euros ? Incredible, right?

For all the details of the case on the aforementioned Fund, I leave you at the official MiSE portal , but you should know that the initial budget of 4 million euros was exhausted in 3 hours . The amount of requests was so high as to cause this result: in short, something important is taking place in Italy .

For the rest, as I have already explained in my tutorials on how to use Unity and how to create a game with Unreal Engine , referring to two of the most popular graphics engines in the industry, this is a good time to try to make a game in independently even without stratospheric budgets . In fact, you can start with free tools available directly online and get to publish a game, for example, on the Play Store without too much cost .

The virtuous Italian realities that have managed to carve out a space in the sector, obviously with a lot of dedication and passion , are certainly not lacking: just to give you concrete examples, they range from Stormind Games (Remothered series) to 3DClouds (All-Star Fruit Racing and King of Seas), without forgetting the aforementioned Ovosonico (Murasaki Baby and Last Day of June). In short, groped the independent path can prove to be an interesting and “alternative” choice to the search for job offers from existing realities, even in Italy.

For the rest, I remember that in our country there are some important initiatives that you may want to deepen. In fact, net of the usual main Italian newspapers that deal with the topic, which are generally ready to welcome new interesting Italian productions “with open arms”, you may want to take a look at the IIDEA (Italian Interactive Digital Entertainment Association) or all Italian Video Games Awards initiative , which every year also awards the best local productions. In other words, there is great “excitement” and trying to follow this path in our country is no longer “a utopia” as it seemed to be a few years ago.

Other useful tips for becoming a game designer

How do you say? Are you looking for more tips on the approach to use to become a game designer? I’ll give you some information right away that could be useful in general to stimulate your creativity.

  • Try to understand which actions stimulate your creativity: what does a bike ride or a walk in the open air have to do with Game Design and creative work in general? For some, probably nothing, but some creative minds can find “serenity” in such contexts and come up with the right ideas. The approach in these contexts is very important: creative work can sometimes be particularly stressful, so trying to “take a moment” and stimulate your creativity in other ways according to some is a “wise” choice;
  • Play other people’s titles: don’t be afraid to “explore” what other game designers have done. Obviously I’m not suggesting you absolutely “copy”, but even the big names in the sector are used to looking at what the “competition” is doing, even if only to get new creative ideas;
  • Always stay informed on what is happening in the market: constantly reading the opinions of critics, news related to the gaming world and the general opinion of the community can help you better understand how to make the title interesting and in step with the times. you are working on. In these cases, in fact, the right balance between passion and work should be sought: if you want to continue working for a long time in this sector, as indeed in any other, the results must be both stimulating for you and economically sustainable. If one day you want to make a totally niche game after placing some successes, the earnings of the more “commercial” titles will potentially allow you to do everything as you want, expressing your creativity to the maximum and also potentially allowing you to “take risks”.

In short, the world of video games is as complex as it is fascinating, as you may have noticed by reading this post. I hope I have provided you with information that will come in handy during your journey: at this point, I just have to say good luck to you for your career as a game designer (or in any case within the gaming sector)!

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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