I believe the foundation of a good game designer is passion, humility and empathy. When interviewing candidates for game design or other creative roles, the first thing I look for is passion. I want to see their face light up when I present them with interesting design challenges, I want to know what they’d do if they had the chance to work on anything. I want to see that sparkle in their eyes. If the candidate doesn’t have passion then they’ll never try to break the mold or try to sell their ideas to those who might not be open to radical ideas.
Next I look for humility and empathy. Designers need to know they don’t always have the best ideas, that it’s vital to get the perspectives of others and the importance of seeking feedback to prevent from designing in a vacuum. Lastly, using empathy skills enables the game designer to step into the shoes of those they’re designing for to feel how their players would experience the game.
The rest are skills that come from experience – which can be equally as valuable depending on the role needing to be filled.