I was checking out our Game Producer Forums when I saw a very good question about game producer duties. I exchanged couple of words with Frank Rogan (producer, Real Networks) and wanted to hear his opinion on this.
Here’s what Frank had to say:
Question: What exactly are the main duties of a game producer? What does a producer actually do?
You’ll find that the “main duties” of a game producer will vary widely from company to company, from project to project, from genre to genre. In general, game producers are project or program managers, with lots of design, marketing and PR thrown in for good measure. You’re managing a team, setting production goals, tracking those goals, ensuring the team has the tools it needs to reach those goals, etc. A fun way to look at this question is to think about what goes into making a game that isn’t strictly designing a game mechanic, writing code and making art and audio assets, and realize that literally everything else is potentially a producer’s job.
I must add that I like to describe producers bit like ‘managers’ – to some point at least. Frank puts this very well.
What should an aspiring game producer focus on skill-wise?
Producers come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s no one track to follow. But there are common themes, such as project management skills, business skills, an understanding of QA and marketing/PR.
But being a good producer is not about having a set of skills. Just like being a good digital artist is not just about knowing Photoshop or 3DS Max. Good producers are about leadership skills, having a sense of mission, and being able to execute on large, complicated ideas by breaking them down into smaller, bite-sized chunks of work that can each be followed up on.
I recommend these two books:
Game Producer’s handbook
(I’ve also read that Game Producer’s Handbook several times and also recommend it to any wannabe game producer)
Thanks Frank for this quick Q&A session.