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Lead game designer

It is a profession that you can do after several years of experience as a game designer. A lead game designer develops the game’s concept, the different characteristics (content, mechanisms, navigation, etc.) and coordinates a team of game designers. They, therefore, ensure that their work corresponds to the specifications, which they may have written.

Job description Lead game designer
Last update
Level of studies: master’s degree
Recommended high school specialisation: Artistic
Employability: Very good
Beginner salary: € 3,350
Salary after experience: € 5,000
Mobility: Very good
ROME code : E1104
FAP code : U1Z82
"A lead game designer manages both the game design and the team that ensures the game design of the game. Their role, therefore, relates to game design, project management, and human management. "
Logo Ubisoft leo lesetre
Léo Lesêtre
Junior lead game designer at Owlient - Ubisoft
"The job consists of managing a team of designers (LD or GD) by ensuring that they share the same outlook of the project as the creative director and that this outlook remains unchanged until the end of the project. A lead must plan production, ensure communication with other team members or their leads, distribute tasks on the GD / LD team, follow up on these tasks and finally organise review and validation sessions, when their tasks are completed / carried out. "  
The Good Drive Ahmed MAJDOUBI
Ahmed Majdoubi
Lead game designer for The Good Drive

The responsibilities of a lead game designer

Alongside a project manager, a lead game designer will have several tasks to respect and apply for the proper development of the video game. They will therefore have to:

  • Pilot, coordinate, support game designers
  • Make sure that all the elements (landscapes, characters, etc.) correspond to the defined specifications
  • Develop the concept of the game
  • Work with developer teams
  • Pay attention to budget constraints and schedule
  • Correct any bugs
game designers team
While they coordinate a team of game designers, a lead game designer also develops the game’s concept.

What qualities should they have?

Occupying this position requires some qualities. A lead game designer is, therefore a person:

  • With a sense of work ethic
  • Who can withstand stress
  • Possessing a creative mind
  • Who is a force of proposal
  • Who knows how to work in a team
  • Who should be able to communicate, be a teacher

Skills to master

This game design professional is able to apply a series of skills. They master:

  • Programming software (Javascript, HTML, etc.)
  • The level design
  • 3D software (3Ds Max …)
  • Modelling
  • Technical tools like Unity
  • The production line
  • Video game culture
  • Project management and piloting
  • English
The Legend of Zelda's game designer Shigeru Miyamoto
A lead game designer must know software such as 3DS Max
"You have to master the fundamentals of game design, of course. But it's also about taking into account the risks and rewards of different options. Knowing when and when to give up an option and an intention. All this to manage the effort and the morale of the team, and the resources of the project. You also have to delegate and distribute tasks, trust people, know their strengths and know how to get the best out of them. "
ubisoft leo lesetre
Léo Lesêtre
Junior lead game designer at Owlient - Ubisoft
"In addition, they must know how to estimate the time needed to complete a task; communicate with the different careers (have basic knowledge of the different specialities, Art / Code ... etc); know how to motivate their GD / LD. A lead game designer must master the various monitoring and management planning tools, know how to use agile methods, and master SCRUM."
The Good Drive Ahmed MAJDOUBI
Ahmed Majdoubi
Lead game designer for The Good Drive

Advantages and disadvantages of this profession

Benefits :

  • Project management
  • Involvement in the game production chain
  • Desired profession
  • Passionate profession
  • Good salary, especially abroad


  • Job can be stressful
  • Extensive hours
"The advantages of this job are responsibility (if it's something you like), you can have a bigger impact on the project, and define the intentions of the team. On the downside, management takes a lot of time and effort, which is much less time to allocate to the design itself. You have to accept putting this a little in the background to let the team take care of the tasks and supervise from further away. "
ubisot leo lesetre
Léo Lesêtre
Junior lead game designer at Owlient - Ubisoft
"The advantages lie in having a leadership position. It's always a very good thing, because it's career development. And you have a powerful impact during the production of the project. Conversely, the drawbacks are: more management work than pure creation and too many meetings with the various stakeholders on the project. "
The Good Drive Ahmed MAJDOUBI
Ahmed Majdoubi
Lead game designer for The Good Drive

Which high school diploma should I have?

A bachelor’s degree is often required. Becoming a game designer requires some knowledge. A general high school diploma with a speciality in arts or mathematics is possible or a specialisation in the science of technology (STI2D) in a technical high school diploma. Then, you should choose a game design course in a school specialising in video games. Then, the experience will allow you to become a lead game designer.

David Jones Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto
David Jones is known for co-creating the Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto series
"I became a lead game designer because it is the normal progression for a game designer. It is a position of responsibility and lead, I have an appetite for this and, therefore, seized the opportunity. This allowed me to work on projects like Gefahren Lernen / Tap'N Go."
The Good Drive Ahmed MAJDOUBI
Ahmed Majdoubi
Lead game designer for The Good Drive
Which school should you choose to become a lead game designer?

Considering being a lead game designer starts with game design. To become a game designer, you need to have education. It is indispensable to understand the technical aspects, all facets of graphics and design, and project management, team leadership. This is all that we offer you with our G. Art school.

We allow you to become a game designer by first taking the 2D / 3D Computer Graphics – Game Art bachelor’s degree. It is a course which is accessible after a high school diploma or through admission on record which allows you to see the basics of gaming culture, digital and technological culture (learning game design), communication and management.

To ​​perfect your game design, our MBA in game artistry takes two years and gives you all the keys to take up positions of responsibility and master the visual aspects of a game.

Our training programs leave a lot of room for project-based pedagogy and professional immersion with internships and work-study programs.

To internships

Our school offers several internship periods throughout the school curriculum. These are the opportunities to put your knowledge into practice and to face the world of work, from two months in the first and second year of the bachelor’s degree to three months in the final year.  We then offer six months in the fourth year. Finally, the fifth takes place exclusively in a company with an alternating internship and fixed-term contract rhythm.

We regularly publish internship offers at the school for companies that host interns, often issued by partner companies.

Also, we can only advise research on sites such as Gaming job, Welcome to the jungle, AFJV, Seek-Team or even Jooble.

How much does a lead game designer earn?

A lead game designer can earn a little less than 40,000 euros per year on average in France. With five years of experience, their salary can reach 60,000 euros.

In Montreal, a lead game designer earns much more. The average salary is $ 85,000 and can climb to just under $ 100,000 per year. The lowest salary is close to $ 50,000. As for the United States, the salary ranges from $ 45,000 to over $ 98,000 annually.


Companies that are recruiting

All video game companies have a game designer who also plays a lead role. For some smaller studios, they can do both. On the other hand, there is a lead game designer for the largest companies who manages a team of game designers and carries out a project. Whether at Ubisoft, Gameloft, Quantic Dream and many others, which employ dozens of people.

The Legend of Zelda game designer Shigeru Miyamoto
The Legend of Zelda was created by game designer Shigeru Miyamoto

Career progression

Competition is fierce and the level of expertise and experience required is increasing. Afterwards a lead game designer can rise through the ranks and become, for example, a game director or producer.

They can also work in universes other than video games such as the web for example.

"I did not specifically choose this profession strictly speaking, it was a natural evolution which took place within the team, by gaining in experience and in seniority. I agreed to take this position to define team guidelines that reduce the time and effort required for the team. "
ubisoft leo lesetre
Léo Lesêtre
Junior lead game designer at Owlient - Ubisoft

Famous lead game designers?

We no longer need to introduce Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda or Donkey Kong. Sid Meier is a renowned game designer who created the Civilisation game series. We can also recognise David Jones, who worked on Lemmings and GTA.

Sid Meier Civilization
Sid Meier is the originator of the world famous game Civilisation

In summary

Lead Game Designer

Lead Game Designer in video

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How can you become a lead game designer?

To become a lead game designer, you will first have to study. Concretely, this profession requires a solid background. You can obtain skills with the bachelor’s degree 2D / 3D in Computer Graphics – Game Art taught at our G. Art school and with the Game Artist MBA. From there, after three or five years of study, it will be possible to work as a game designer. And finally, over the years, you will be able to take on responsibilities within a studio and become a lead game designer.