7 Game Producer Questions That Need Answers

I received an email with several questions, and here’s the first 7 answers for those questions.

Question #1. How have producer roles changed over the last two decades?
According to Wikipedia, the first time “game producer” title was used in 1982. From the interviews and discussions with other producer, I’ve come to conclusion that “producer” means different things on different companies. The role definition lies somewhere between “manager” and “leader”. I believe the role is more likely to change between companies, than perhaps between time.

Question #2. The current fight over which titles to greenlight….?
Hard cold business decisions.

Question #3. What makes a good developer?
See what people smarter than me have answered. I think in my mind it boils down to getting stuff done.

Question #4. Who are famous producers in your opinion? Why?
I don’t think this is a matter of opinion – it’s matter of fame, and matter of defining producer. Any producer who has put his name in his games must be famous ;)

Question #5. Who is your favorite producer? Second favorite? Why?
I don’t play favorites, but if I have to choose, I’d pick “Me, me”. He is the guy I have to bear with every single day.

Question #6. What are some of the changes brought about by the marketplace in the way the production process takes shape?
This is extremely large question to answer. I can give you some changes that in my mind are changing the marketplace, but these are just examples.

First of all I think digital delivery (downloading games via Internet, without going to shops to buy games) is a huge thing. It will change the marketplace for good, and DRM (digital rights management) are playing a big role here: copy protection must be done so that it won’t annoy the player. Another thing is the raise of casual gaming. Naturally the console wars (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii… and others) are changing the marketplace. For example, companies need to figure out which platforms to support, and whether to make games for consoles or not.

There are more reasons, and I let our community members to give more examples.

7. Why would game development teams fail without producers?
If by producer we mean “manager” or “leader”, then one could ask why teams would fail without leaders. This is pretty good question, and I think teams might survive without having a clear leader in the team. In theory, if the team members are all working towards the common goal – it might work. Leaders are there to keep the team together, help team members to make their work, resolve difficult situations… and somebody has to do that. It doesn’t mean that team would need a guy whose work title is “producer”, but naturally somebody needs to know where the game development should be going.

Juuso Hietalahti