A video game producer is responsible for the development of individual games for a studio or publisher. An initial responsibility of the video game producer includes negotiating contracts and licenses for creative content. The producer consults with programmers, designers, and artists to create an outline for a game. A producer also develops budgets for video game projects in conjunction with studio officials and publishing companies. These professionals also work with vendors to test video games before they reach the consumer market.
The first step in producing a video game is clearing legal hurdles to a game’s creation. The video game producer meets with the studio’s legal team to assess intellectual property rights for music, images, and story ideas. Producers sit down with copyright holders to negotiate release of intellectual property or proper compensation for the rights. These negotiations are necessary to avoid costly lawsuits for using existing content without permission. A video game producer also works with studio lawyers to protect original content created by the studio from competing studios.
Producers work with the studio’s creative team to coordinate audio and visual elements of a game. The creative team sits down at the beginning of the project to create a script for the game that details each level or stage. Another facet of the creative process is determining spots in the game where voice-over acting and sound effects are necessary. The producer consults regularly with game programmers to eliminate glitches in computer code that would harm the game’s marketability. This process also requires consultation between the producer and artists working on the game cover.
Another responsibility of a video game producer is to keep game production within the studio’s budget. The producer keeps track of the number of hours worked by staff programmers, artists, and other professionals to keep labor expenses on track. These expenses also include voice-over actors and musicians who are scheduled for a game’s background audio. Additional costs for video game production include studio rentals and advertising for the final product. Video game producers use daily schedules and production quotas to encourage their creative teams to stay within their budgets.
The video game producer helps the studio take the final steps toward selling a game to consumers. Producers oversee alpha testing of games with quality assurance technicians and beta testing using select groups of outside gamers. The results of focus groups that have played a final version of a new game allow the producer to arrange last-minute changes. These changes are completed before the producer sends along the final version to a production team that can copy the game on CD or to an online file. A producer consults with the studio’s logistics and sales teams to arrange production and delivery of a game to retailers.