Before we go further, let's quickly recap some of the key phases of game development. As we've mentioned earlier, there is no unified, optimal approach, but commonly the game production cycle is divided into three larger areas with smaller areas in-between (planning, testing, etc.).
Click on the flashcards to learn about the production stages.
The producers' role and the scope of their work change during different phases of development. The main goal will always be to deliver a successful product in the most effective way possible, but as the major goals and milestones of the project shift, so do yours.
Pre-production is a creative, collaborative, and often slow-paced process that shouldn't be rushed. The producer is commonly the one who chooses the team members for the project. When you move on to planning the details of the project, the producer should encourage their team to share their ideas and focus on supporting their team as much as possible.
While the team is mainly focused on planning the details of the game from a design perspective, the producer should focus on the "how". How are you going to get everything done? You can still take part in the creative process, but you should always keep this aspect mind.
Plan the budget and a timeline for the project. At this point, it's impossible to make an accurate schedule so you shouldn't worry about that too much, just a rough idea of when things should be done is enough. Afterward, you should prepare a pitch deck for publishers and investors.
Your role as a producer is critical during the production, and it's the time to show of your project management skills. Producers make sure that plans are executed within the limits of the budget and schedule, risks are managed, and plans kept up to date. Always be ready for the unexpected because plans very rarely come to life exactly how you'd expect.
This is also the phase in which supporting the team is crucial to your success. You need to be the troubleshooter of the production process and ensure that game development continues despite the challenges that you may encounter. You need to support the efficiency and morale of the team; if people are happy, they also get more work done. Everybody is different, so you need to get to know your team and be able to to motivate them. Communication is key here.
For most games, post-production is the phase in which final tweaks to the game are made after the official launch. The producer is managing the polishing efforts, making sure that bugs are fixed and new content developed (depending on the success of the game). Producers are also usually the people that keep in touch with the community and potential influencers (this can vary depending on the company). Of course, they must keep constant contact with their business partners as well.
Nowadays multiplayer and free-to-play games have changed the landscape, which means launching a game can often be the first step on the long journey. This is known as live production, which we briefly mentioned in an earlier lesson, and we'll go deeper into it during the next segment.
On console and PC, the majority of the work is usually done before launch. With the rise of free-to-play, especially on mobile, the situation has, however, drastically changed. Instead of focusing on delivering a completed package at launch, the main goal is keeping the players in the game for as long as possible because the longer they play, the bigger the chances are of them spending money.
Mobile live producer is a very demanding role, and production responsibilities are sometimes split between two producers:
During live production the producer's role becomes increasingly important. The team must be able to adapt to situations and issues quickly. The feedback and reactions from your players is almost instant, and you want the people to keep coming back. Development needs to be fast and efficient, and new updates need to come out consistently. Live producers have to work in different disciplines, like marketing, customer support, and the data analysis team, in order to make all this happen as smoothly as possible. You also need to provide the team quick feedback on how their work is impacting the product.
Connect the corresponding productions stages and descriptions.
Answer the following question
By now you should have a pretty clear view on what it means to be a game producer. Next, let’s sum it all up and recap what we’ve learned.