Here’s an example of game producer’s responsibilites. (Direct quote from a game “producer wanted” ad)
The Producer will manage 1st party development at the studio. The role includes the following responsibilities:
- Be responsible for driving multiple games from initial concept, through prototype and development, to deployment and live maintenance.
- Successfully ship up to four AAA quality games each year (dev cycles may be 4-6 months).
- Manage small teams of 2-7 people each, plus contractors. Teams may be composed of artists, designers, engineers, composers, audio engineers, and testers, depending on production phase. May include personnel management for direct reports and contract/invoice management for external contractors.
- Plan, task, schedule, and estimate costs for the projects. Maintaining detailed task schedules and milestone lists, delivering weekly updates, and identifying and managing risks to the project are a all critical parts of the job.
- Coordinate efforts between the development team and the marketing and business team, and keep all parties updated accordingly.
- Manage requested changes to the games (from QA, beta, marketing, etc) balancing priorities, schedule and budget.
Quite a list. Should give you some information what they expect from producers.
Everyone sees game producer’s job a little different and every company defines slightly different rolls. Some companies producers are more in the “management” whereas in some other companies game producers fell more in the category of “leadership”.
In Sony – according one of their employer – the producer’s job seemed more like in the “management”:
Here at Sony Japan our producer has next to zero input on game design. We had to convince him to produce the game but once that was done, while he might give a few comments here and there, especially if it’s a decision involving serious time or money, generally he isn’t involved in day to day work on the game. His job is to coordinate with the rest of the company. We see him maybe 3 times a week for about 1 hour. That’s it.
The same person has different expectations about the responsibility. He wanted producer to communicate more:
As a developer I personally want a producer who is service oriented. His job would be both to be the contact between other departments, to help coordinate the team (make sure they are paying attention to the schedule, budget, etc) and to try to remove any obstacles. I don’t see the ideal producer as being part of creative development. There’s already a game director or lead designer and having a producer trying to run the show seems like a conflict of responsibilities.
This seems more like in the category of “leadership”.
Comment from Stuart Roch
I’ve had fun with my job over the years because it constantly changes. At the end of the day I’m responsible for making sure everyone on the team has what they need to create the game, that the game releases to the publisher schedule, and that it meets quality expecations.
Sometimes I’ve been more involved in the design process than others. Sometimes I’ve tracked the project while on others I’ve pro-actively directed it. Etc. It really depends on the strengths and weaknesses of particular teams and projects.
Depending on the people, project, and company producers can range from service oriented managers to project directors.
Producers should surround themselves with the best talent possible so they can focus on what they do best leaving the producer to worry about their own core responsibilities.
To sum up, the Game Producer’s Role:
- constantly changes
- is about making sure everyone on the team has what they need to create the game
- game releases to the publisher schedule
- game meets quality expecations
- sometimes more involved in the design process than others
- producers can range from service oriented managers to project directors/leaders
- role really depends on the strengths and weaknesses of particular teams and projects.
- each producer, team and company defines the role differently
- the particular project defines much of the responsibility as well.
- producers should surround themselves with the best talent possible
- focus on what they do best leaving the producer to worry about their own core responsibilities
Game producers’ main task is to overview the whole process of making a game. Simply put, the producer is the person ultimately responsible for the planning, development, and delivery of a game. Involved in all aspects of production, a producer holds the broadest possible view of a project.
Producers may be involved with the business and they might decide or influence who will be needed to hire for the project. Producer is kind of the team leader who says the final answers for arguments when needed. Producer can be also the team lackey – doing tough work when needed. A producer is kind of the link between the artists, programmers, marketing people and upper management.
Skills that are typically associated with a game producer:
- good communication skills
- conflict management
- leadership (“leading people”)
- management (“leading things”)
- some programming knowledge to understand technological aspects
- art background may be an aid
- business thinking