The Top Respawn Entertainment Interview Questions and How to Answer Them Like a Pro

If you are consistently getting to the interview stage of the game design hiring process, then congratulations!

You are now at the point in the hiring process where you will talk to game developers who are working on the game they want to hire someone for. Up to this point, the candidates have been sifted through by an ATS, recruiters, and hiring managers.

These 7 blog posts will show you how to get your first job as a video game designer. Use the table of contents below to keep track of them:

You’ll look like a better candidate and learn more if you prepare well. We’ll cover how does the interview process work and provide some interview tips to improve your passing rate.

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.

Here, you can also be notified every week of the newest game design job openings and useful tips

Landing an interview at a top video game studio like Respawn Entertainment is no easy feat. As the creators of blockbuster titles like Apex Legends and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Respawn only hires the best of the best. If you manage to snag an interview, you’ll need to come prepared to showcase your skills and demonstrate why you’re the perfect fit for this innovative company.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore some of the most common and critical interview questions asked at Respawn, along with advice on how to craft winning responses. From technical expertise to project management methodologies, we’ll cover the key areas recruiters want to see in potential candidates

Whether you’re interviewing for a programmer, designer, artist or other role, use this guide to get into the mindset of a Respawn interviewer and highlight the unique value you can bring to their hitmaking teams. With the right preparation and a little nerves of steel, you’ll be primed to ace your Respawn interview.

Overview of Respawn Entertainment

Before diving into the questions let’s briefly recap Respawn’s history and culture. Founded in 2010 by Jason West and Vince Zampella former co-founders of Infinity Ward, Respawn made its smash hit debut with Titanfall in 2014. The innovative FPS received widespread critical acclaim for its fast-paced, mech-infused multiplayer combat.

After being acquired by Electronic Arts in 2017, the studio went on to create Apex Legends, a free-to-play battle royale set in the Titanfall universe that quickly amassed over 25 million players in its first week. Respawn further expanded its portfolio with the narrative-driven Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, lauded for its compelling story and satisfying combat mechanics.

Known for valuing creativity, technical excellence, and fun above all else, Respawn’s unique culture fosters collaboration between departments while encouraging individual craftsmanship and ownership. They seek dynamic team players who can balance focused execution with flexible thinking.

With major projects across multiple franchises in the works Respawn’s future looks bright. Now let’s get into the questions to help you land your dream job there!

Technical Expertise

Technical roles make up a significant portion of Respawn’s workforce, so expect highly technical questions, especially for programming positions.

Q: Explain your approach to writing clean, maintainable code at scale.

This probes your understanding of coding best practices critical for large, complex game projects with multi-year lifecycles. Discuss strategies like:

  • Adhering to style guides and naming conventions for consistency
  • Modular architecture allowing for isolated testing and updating
  • Refactoring to improve structure without changing behavior
  • Judicious commenting for future maintainability
  • Leveraging version control for collaboration and tracking changes

Emphasize balancing rapid iteration with resilience and future-proofing. Give examples of past projects where your discipline resulted in smooth updating, debugging, and collaboration.

Q: How do you stay up-to-date with the latest game development tools and technologies?

Game dev advances at an incredible pace. Interviewers want to see you’re actively learning, not coasting on existing knowledge. Share resources you leverage like:

  • Game engine release notes
  • GDC talks
  • Forums and online dev communities
  • Industry news sites

Discuss how you experiment with new tools and integrate promising ones into your workflow. Provide examples of implementing cutting-edge tech like VR, procedural generation or new rendering techniques in your projects.

Q: Walk us through your approach to optimizing graphics performance in a complex scene.

This assesses your technical knowledge and problem-solving process. When tackling optimization:

  • Profile to pinpoint bottlenecks – CPU, GPU, draw calls etc.
  • Identify costly items like high-poly models, unbatched draw calls or overdraw
  • Prioritize based on cost vs. visual impact
  • Apply targeted optimizations, testing frequently
  • Collaborate with artists for creative solutions

Illustrate with a specific example, quantifying gains like improved frame rate. Demonstrate technical skill as well as communication and collaboration abilities.

Q: How would you go about debugging a crash or bug in a large codebase?

Systematically outline your debugging approach:

  • Reproduce the issue reliably through testing
  • Identify relevant logs/error messages
  • Isolate problem area based on call stack or timeline leading to crash/bug
  • Use breakpoints and hot reloading to analyze problem in editor
  • Apply incremental changes to pinpoint root cause
  • Collaborate with team if needed to understand interactions between systems

Emphasize methodical isolation and testing. Use an example of a complex issue you successfully debugged in a past project.

Game Design Expertise

For designers, expect questions assessing your creativity, knowledge of game mechanics, and player psychology.

Q: How would you design tutorial levels to onboard new players effectively?

Share principles of effective tutorial design:

  • Introduce core mechanics one at a time
  • Provide examples then let player try for themselves
  • Offer reminders if they get stuck
  • Gradually ramp up challenge as they progress
  • Ensure early success to build confidence

Ideally, relate a specific example of designing a tutorial experience, highlighting how you balanced teaching mechanics with keeping players engaged.

Q: What considerations go into designing compelling boss battles?

Great boss design requires:

  • Establishing boss with visuals/backstory to make them memorable
  • Telegraphing attacks clearly so players can respond
  • Escalating difficulty through phases
  • Balancing health, damage and patterns for epic but beatable fight
  • Rewarding mastery with specialized loot/upgrades

Discuss how you’d iterate on boss designs based on playtesting data to fine-tune the challenge.

Q: How would you improve the progression system and loot mechanics of a game like Destiny?

Demonstrate your knowledge of what makes for satisfying progression and loot systems:

  • Steady stream of rewards from activities
  • Random perk rolls to encourage grind for “god rolls”
  • Impactful loot with unique gameplay benefits
  • Flashy visuals on high-rarity items
  • Clear paths for max-level players to pursue

Then suggest specific improvements, like introducing crafting to target specific perks or adding prestige modes to refresh endgame.

Collaboration & Communication

Game development is a team effort. Expect behavioral questions to assess collaboration abilities.

Q: Tell me about a time you had to collaborate across disciplines to overcome a challenge.

Pick an example highlighting cross-department communication:

  • Clearly explain the challenge without technical jargon
  • Discuss how you facilitated information sharing between departments
  • Outline the complementary strengths each brought
  • Share how you built consensus toward an effective solution
  • Emphasize positive outcome through leveraging diverse expertise

Stay focused on your facilitation, coordination and communication skills.

Q: How would you handle a disagreement about game design decisions with a colleague?

Successful conflict management requires:

  • Hearing them out to understand their perspective
  • Establishing shared goals/vision for the project
  • Discussing pros/cons of each approach objectively
  • Finding compromise that incorporates valid points
  • Aligning on solution that best serves players and the game

Emphasize mutual understanding, respect and restraint from personal attacks. Share an example if possible.

Q: Tell me about a time you had to motivate a team under pressure. How did you keep spirits high?

Share how you:

  • Reaffirmed shared goals during hard times
  • Facilitated open communication in both directions
  • Prioritized tasks strategically to maintain momentum
  • Celebrated morale-boosting small wins along the way
  • Led by example while offering support and encouragement
  • Ensured healthy work-life balance was maintained

Convey your people-first leadership approach focused on transparency, engagement and growth.

Project & Product Management

For producers and program managers, expect questions on coordinating teams, processes, and planning.

Q: How would you go about scoping a new product feature given limited resources and deadlines?

Emphasize balancing innovation desires with constraints through:

  • Partnering with design and engineering to define MVP feature scope
  • Performing cost-benefit analysis on proposed scope elements
  • Prioritizing by highest value to player experience
  • Exploring options to extend capabilities over time via updates
  • Securing buy-in across stakeholders on final scoped plan

Demonstrate strategic planning abilities and comfort with dynamic prioritization.

Q: Tell me how you ensure timely delivery at major project milestones.

Share your methods for maintaining discipline and momentum:

  • Define realistic scope aligned to milestone goals
  • Create detailed schedules with clear critical paths
  • Enforce adherence to process like standups and reviews
  • Monitor progress closely via burndown charts
  • Quickly identify and resolve bottlenecks/blockers
  • Keep teams focused amidst distractions

Convey your ability to balance structure with flexibility to keep projects on track.

Q: How would you go about playtesting new features or content and incorporating feedback?

Outline a structured playtesting process:

  • Design tests to

How does the game design interview process work?

This will vary depending on the studio’s size, culture, and growth stage. In addition, this process is about game design, with a focus on entry-level game design jobs.

When you are first asked to come in for an interview, you will probably be told who is interviewing you and what kind of interview it is. Let the recruiter know if they don’t tell you this ahead of time. This way, you won’t be caught off guard.

The following formats should be sent to you in the order shown, though this may change as the hiring process for the studio gets closer:

  • Interview prep: a quick chat with a recruiter who can help you get ready for the interview.
  • Experience and Background Interview: This is an interview with the hiring manager, who will be your future team leader and an expert on the project and job position. Questions and answers: They ask questions, and you answer (we’ll get to that in a bit). Live mock design session(s): These are live, interactive game design tests that show how you find and solve design problems, which is hard to fake.
  • A group of game developers working on the project will talk to you to see if your skills and experience are a good fit for their needs. This one is more optional for entry level positions.
  • Cultural fit interview: The game developers you will work closely with will talk to you to see if they want to work with you.

You might only meet one or two people at a small studio, but you could get the job right away! The interviews could be about a lot of different things, so it’s still a good idea to be ready for all of them.

Interviews more than once aren’t just added to make the process more difficult or to make you wait even longer for the job offer you’ve been waiting for. Often, these interviews have different goals.

I’ll talk about each step and let you know what to expect to help you get ready.

Tip 1: Treat it like a skill

Getting hired is a whole skills set of its own and passing interviews is one of the skills.

You will stink at it before you get good at it, just like with any other new skill. To get good at it, you have to do it over and over again and make small improvements each time.

Here is what you should expect:

First, you’ll get lots of rejection. Then, you start to pass more stages of the interview as you get better. Next, you keep doing this until you get an offer.

Respawn Answers Apex Legends Questions From Twitter | Tech Support | WIRED

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