What does a Video Game Producer do?
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.
Nowadays, I wonder if it's harder for game producers to come up with ideas for their games. In this day and age, there's nothing particularly original, and everything has been done in some way shape or form. However, despite some failures here and there, I admire the work they do on a daily basis.
For those who are familiar with the gaming industry, Shigeru Miyamoto is definitely one of the most well known producers. My favorite game that's been produced by him has to be Super Mario Galaxy 2. Released in 2010, the game took two a a half years to make, and it really shows. The graphics are gorgeous, the level designs are wonderful, and the boss battle are spectacular. Just a thought, but I may try to go into the industry one day.
I admire how much work and time video game producers put it their games. Not only are they making them, but they oversee the entire thing, which much be an arduous and time consuming task. Has anyone here ever heard of Shigeru Miyamoto? He's a well known producer for a lot games Nintendo related games, such as the Legend of Zelda and Mario. Who knows where the gaming industry would be today without him?
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