Animation Director - The Initiative

Featured job

  • Remote  
    California, United States
    perm, remote  
  • Company
    Start date
    $133,600 to 276,600 per annum  
  • Closing date
    19 October 2023  
    Posted on
    18 September 2023  


The Initiative, a Microsoft Xbox Game Studio headquartered in Santa Monica and fully distributed is looking for an experienced Animation Director to join our team. In this role, you will partner with the Project Director & the entire Directors group to establish the vision and set the bar for the creation of high-quality animation content in alignment with the game vision. You will lead our animation teams and collaborate closely with all stakeholders to realize that vision throughout Perfect Dark.

At the core of The Initiative, we’re about craft, storytelling, and looking ahead to the next big thing. We seek to shape the future of narrative-driven games by leveraging the most innovative tech and talent this industry has to offer. We value original, perseverant thinkers & doers who can come together as a cohesive team, capable of creating genre-defining games by being stronger than the sum of its parts.

We welcome talent from a wide range of backgrounds both in and out of the games industry and we strive to create a respectful, inclusive environment where you can bring your best self and do your best work.   

On Team Perfect Dark, the multi-studio development team reimagining the sci-fi action-adventure game Perfect Dark, we’re seeking collaborative problem solvers who are eager to surprise and delight players old and new to the franchise. When you join Team Perfect Dark, you join a group of developers across internal and external studios who have contributed to some of the most celebrated, critically acclaimed properties recognized for their excellence and cutting-edge technology, visuals, gameplay, and narrative. 

This is a once-in-a-career opportunity to join a game studio with a great work-life balance and a talented, inclusive team working on the rebirth of the beloved, critically acclaimed franchise, Perfect Dark.


Required/Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's Degree or Certificate in Design, Fine Arts, Human Computer Interaction, Visual Communications or related art field AND 8+ years experience in art design or a related art field working on computer games or entertainment
    • OR equivalent experience.
  • 3+ years of professional experience in an Animation role, directing gameplay or cinematic animation in a AAA video game and leading high performing animation teams.

Additional or Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with Maya, MotionBuilder, and real-time game engines.
  • Knowledge of traditional animation principles and fundamentals.
  • Experience with both key-frame and motion capture animation techniques.
  • Experience with Unreal Engine and its related workflows: Alembic workflows, Houdini Engine, and Maya Livelink in particular.
  • Experience with tools & scripting development.
  • Deep knowledge of gameplay systems and expert understanding of animation's role within them (from concept, to rigging, to on screen).
  • Broad experience with cinematics animation, including 1st and 3rd person cinematics.
  • Experience with performance direction and mocap sessions.


  • Partner with the Project Director and the entire Directors group to establish the vision and set the bar for the creation of high-quality animation content.
  • Lead the animation teams and collaborate with all stakeholders to realize that vision throughout the game.
  • Collaborate with Engineers & Technical Artists to develop and maintain all aspects of the animation content creation pipeline and related workflows.
  • Collaborate closely with Producers and Leads to define clear goals, set priorities, and guide the development of execution plans to successfully deliver high-quality animation content.
  • Lead animators across Team Perfect Dark; provide direction, feedback, mentorship and support to all our animators.
  • Demonstrate a daily commitment to creating and nurturing a positive culture on Team Perfect Dark.

Benefits/perks listed below may vary depending on the nature of your employment with Microsoft and the country where you work.

  • Industry leading healthcare
  • Educational resources
  • Discounts on products and services
  • Savings and investments
  • Maternity and paternity leave
  • Generous time away
  • Giving programs
  • Opportunities to network and connect

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

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