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How to Refine Your Game Design Cover Letter to Increase Your Odds (Part 2)

Michael Breese

Michael Breese

Mike Breese is currently a senior game systems designer working on Wild Rift at Riot Games, where he has worked on the Elemental Rift update, along with several champions, modes, and systems releases. Previously, he also worked on Hogwarts Legacy.

When you apply for game studios, you’re not always asked to include a cover letter.

However, I highly recommend you to include one, unless specifically asked not to—it’s better to have one and not need it.

Why?

Because cover letters are often the first touch point the recruiters and hiring managers have to evaluate the candidate.

This means that you have the opportunity to frame their perception of you before they even get to your resume and portfolio.

In addition to this post, I recommend you to check out rest of the series so you can improve your chances of passing the talent filters of the game studios’ hiring process:

  1. How to Apply and Increase Your Odds (Part 1)
  2. Game Design Cover Letter (Part 2) – this post
  3. Game Design Resume (Part 3)
  4. Game Design Portfolio (Part 4)
  5. Game Design Tests (Part 5)
  6. Game Design Job Interview Guide (Part 6)
  7. Game Design Job Interview Questions (Part 7)

By the way, as you read this post, feel free to join #career-guidance channel in Funsmith Club Discord where you can seek advice from game devs of all levels including me on

  • Breaking into the industry
  • Your resume/CV, Portfolio, design skill test, interviews, negotiations
  • Navigating your current career path

You can also get notified each week on the latest game design job listings and actionable tips here 👇

Now let’s dive into how you can optimize your game design cover letter.

How to Prepare and Optimize Your Game Design Cover Letter

Unlike resume, a cover letter needs a bit more personalization for each application, but you can streamline the process by creating a template as a starting point.

Start with a quick intro about why you think you are a great fit for the position and the company, and/or what makes you stand out.

Mention your reasons for applying, but don’t gush.

It’s often a plus to be a fan of their games, but the studio is looking for someone who can do a job.

That doesn’t always line up with someone who has hundreds of hours getting headshots.

image1 min 3

Most importantly, talk about what you bring to the table?

This can be a quality or unique history that you bring to the role, or an anecdote about previous work illustrating why you’d be a valuable asset and a good fit.

Your cover letter is also a chance to show you can communicate well and are pleasant to get along with. Your resume might show you have the skills to do the job, but no one wants to work with an ass.

If you don’t have any experience in game design yet, then writing a cover letter will be tough and I highly recommend getting some personal experience making your own hobby projects before applying.

You can join upcoming game jams or take the build a game challenge.

However, if you have a good analytical mindset and can give a strong breakdown of a feature and how you might improve it, then put that in your portfolio and talk about it in your cover letter.

All in all, keep your cover letter to around 3/4 of a page.

Wrapping Up

Having these ready ahead of time will make applying to a newly posted position quick and easy. Have friends review your cover letter for typos and wording improvements.

Next part of the series, we’ll dive into how to refine your game design resume.

If you want feedback on your game design cover letter template, you can share it in the Funsmith Club Discord.

By the way, whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways to help you start or level-up your game design career:

1. First Principles of Game Design: Skill Development Program: Join game devs who got hired or promoted across 51 AAA and Indie game studios including Riot, Blizzard, Ubisoft, Bethesda, and etc.

Improve player retention and word of mouth by learning to accurately diagnose why the players are losing interest in any game and how to adjust accordingly – one of the main skills studios hire for.

2. Game Design Mentorship – Get access to live weekly video calls and chat feedback support directly from veteran game designer with 25 years of industry experience (see example sessions).

3. Game Design Career Goal Strategy Workshop: A live workshop to help you figure out exact action steps to reach your goal, whether you aim to

  • Break into the video game industry
  • Get promoted (or pivot) from your current position
  • Ship a successful Indie game

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The Funsmith Tavern

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Level-up your game design knowledge, skills, career, and network

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Weekly Game Design Newsletter

Level-up your game design knowledge, skills, career, and network

Each Friday, get a shot of 2-min TL:DR update in your inbox on the latest

If somehow it turns out this isn’t for you, unsubscribe any time.

EXPERIENCE & BACKGROUND:

[STUDIO] Blizzard Entertainment: Content, mechanics, and systems designer

(Creator of Apex Legends & former Creative Director at Respawn)

[GAME] World of Warcraft: MMORPG with 8.5 million average monthly players, won Gamer’s Choice Award – Fan Favorite MMORPG, VGX Award for Best PC Game, Best RPG, and Most Addictive Video Game.

  • Classic:
    • Designed Cosmos UI
    • Designed part of Raid Team for Naxxramas
  • Burning Crusade:
    • Designed the raid bosses Karazhan, Black Temple, Zul’Aman
    • Designed the Outlands content
    • Designed The Underbog including bosses:
      • Hungarfen, Ghaz’an, Swamplord Musel’ik, and The Black Stalker
    • Designed the Hellfire Ramparts final bosses Nazan & Vazruden
    • Designed the Return to Karazhan bosses: Attumen the Huntsman, Big Bad Wolf, Shades of Aran, Netherspite, Nightbane
  • Wrath of the Lich King:
    • Designed quest content, events and PvP areas of Wintergrasp
    • Designed Vehicle system
    • Designed the Death Knight talent trees
    • Designed the Lord Marrowgar raid
  • Cataclysm:
    • Designed quest content
    • Designed Deathwing Overworld encounters
    • Designed Morchok and Rhyolith raid fights
  • Mists of Pandaria: 
    • Overhauled the entire Warlock class – Best player rated version through all expansion packs
    • Designed pet battle combat engine and scripted client scene

[GAME] StarCraft 2: Playtested and provided design feedback during prototyping and development

[GAME] Diablo 3: Playtested and provided design feedback during prototyping and development

[GAME] Overwatch: Playtested and provided design feedback during prototyping and development

[GAME] Hearthstone: Playtested and provided design feedback during prototyping and development

[STUDIO] Riot Games: Systems designer, in-studio game design instructor

(Former Global Communications Lead for League of Legends)
(Former Technical Game Designer at Riot Games)

[GAME] League of Legends: Team-based strategy MOBA with 152 million average active monthly players, won The Game Award for Best Esports Game and BAFTA Best Persistent Game Award.

  • Redesigned Xerath Champion by interfacing with community
  • Reworked the support income system for season 4
  • Redesigned the Ward system
  • Assisted in development of new trinket system
  • Heavily expanded internal tools and features for design team
  • Improved UI indicators to improve clarity of allied behaviour

[OTHER GAMES] Under NDA: Developed multiple unreleased projects in R&D

Game Design Instructor: Coached and mentored associate designers on gameplay and mechanics

[STUDIO] Moon Studios: Senior game designer

(Former Lead Game Designer at Moon Studios)

[GAME] Ori & The Will of The Wisps: 2m total players (423k people finished it) with average 92.8/100 ratings by 23 top game rating sites (including Steam and Nintendo Switch).

  • Designed the weapon and Shard systems
  • Worked on combat balance
  • Designed most of the User Interface

[GAME] Unreleased RPG project

  • Designed core combat
  • High-level design content planning
  • Game systems design
  • Game design documentation
  • Gameplay systems engineering
  • Tools design
  • Photon Quantum implementation of gameplay

[VC FUNDED STARTUP] SnackPass: Social food ordering platform with 500k active users $400m+ valuation

[PROJECT] Tochi: Creative director (hybrid of game design, production and leading the product team)

  • Lead artists, engineers, and animators on the release the gamification system to incentivize long-term customers with social bonds and a shared experience through the app

[CONSULTING] Atomech: Founder / Game Design Consultant

[STUDIOS] Studio Pixanoh + 13 other indie game studios (under NDA):

  • Helped build, train and establish the design teams
  • Established unique combat niche and overall design philosophy
  • Tracked quality, consistency and feedback methods
  • Established company meeting structure and culture

Game Design Keynotes:

(Former Global Head of HR for Wargaming and Riot Games)
  • Tencent Studio
  • Wargaming
  • USC (University of Southern California)
  • RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology)
  • US AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association)
  • UFIEA (University of Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy)
  • West Gaming Foundation
  • Kyoto Computer Gakuin – Kyoto, Japan