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Game designer, 5y exp, need career advice

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Hi there. I'm new to the forums, and I hope that I chose the correct forum to post this.

I've been working in game industry as a game designer (and lately as a producer) for 5 years, with over 20 projects under the belt. However, all of the games that I've worked on we're free2play online games, mostly browser-based, and for the last couple years — social and mobile. Which's not exactly the AAA titles that I've dreamt to develop when I first got here.

If'd live in USA or Canada, I guess I could just look for a job in this field — but there aren't any companies developing big single-player games around, and finding a company that would want to relocate a game designer is extremely difficult. So, here's my question — how should I proceed towards my career goal? May be I just should develop something myself as am indie, or get into coding (with which I'm pretty familiar with), or just get more experience in the field that I'm in.... I just don't see even a theoretical career path from where I am now to, say, being a director of a bug production in 10 years time, and that's really depressing.

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[quote name='golergka' timestamp='1336306022' post='4937752']and finding a company that would want to relocate a game designer is extremely difficult.[/quote]

I'd first have to ask you, have you tried?
It probably also would help us to know where you're from.

Here in Montreal at least just looking around the office I see several designers which have been relocated.
You may not have to change career at all, it simply may take applying to more companies.

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[quote name='golergka' timestamp='1336306022' post='4937752']
1. Hi there. I'm new to the forums, and I hope that I chose the correct forum to post this.
2. I've been working in game industry as a game designer (and lately as a producer) for 5 years, with over 20 projects ...
3. how should I proceed towards my career goal? [AAA games]
[/quote]

1. Yes, this is the right place.
2. That's excellent. You're an impressive person, with an excellent resume.
3. Work on AAA games. Quit your job and go indie. Remco (above) suggests you could just go ahead and apply to AAA game companies, and yes, you can try that. But I think you'll find that you need to add some AAA to your resume. With your strong resume, I think you could afford (in a career sense -- I'm not talking about "afford" in the financial sense) some time off to build your resume so you can break out of the F2P pigeonhole. But don't take too long -- see what you can do in less than a year.

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Thanks for replies!

@Azgur: I'm from Moscow. Yes, I've sent out a lot of resumes to various game companies all around the world — but all of them were "cold calls", as I don't have a lot of connections in the foreign game industry, and most of the time I didn't even get a reply. And when I did, they looked like template rejection letters. I've also got in contact with recruiters, and they've set me up for a couple of Skype interviews, but it goes pretty slow (I've started this quest in march). Could you shed more detail about these designers — what it took them to achieve this?

@Tom: Thanks for the compliment! I hope I deserve it ;). If I understand you correctly, you think that an indie project would be the best option for me, right? But when I tight about going indie, I thought that I have the best chances on succes with something really small, Iike a web-based or mobile application, and it's still pretty far from AAA experience. It's not like I could create a PSN or XBLA title by myself: although I can code and model, I'm just not that good ;). May be creating a mod or level-pack for some big PC game with an editor would be a better approach to build a portfolio? It's a closer skillset to AAA production after all. I would really like to know what do you think about that.

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[quote name='golergka' timestamp='1336313917' post='4937772']
I thought that I have the best chances on succes with something really small, Iike a web-based or mobile application, and it's still pretty far from AAA experience. It's not like I could create a PSN or XBLA title by myself:
[/quote]

There are many interpretations of the term "indie." I'm suggesting that you work in your accustomed role (designer, producer) on an AAA-quality indie project, since you want to work in AAA. You must show that you can do the thing you want to do, so you have to do the thing you say you want to do. You do not have to program anything -- I never said that. And like Azgur said you can just go ahead and apply to AAA companies, but since you're in Russia you need to find AAA developers in Russia. Use gamedevmap and gameindustrymap, read FAQ 24 and FAQ 27.

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[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1336317041' post='4937784']
I'm suggesting that you work in your accustomed role (designer, producer) on an AAA-quality indie project, since you want to work in AAA.
[/quote]

Can you suggest how should I look for such a project (apart from founding one myself)?

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