Meet your dream job!

As part of its New Year, New Job 2014 special, gaming magazine Develop has been publishing a series of interviews with industry professionals to explain their jobs and challenges. During January, every working day brought a new interview with a member of a prominent studio.

Sully Mike Monsters Inc. Job

The result of that effort is a great piece of work that covers all development areas, even including some managerial roles. In an attempt to preserve and share that research, I decided to put together all the interviews and organize them in departments.

It’s not only a good chance to take a look at your dream job, but also to learn from other perspectives as well.

Mario dream job

Enjoy!

Art

Game Design

Production

Programming

Others

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Less than half of Rovio employees work on games

Pick yours!

Finnish developer Rovio, well known for its Angry Birds franchise, has become an entertainment behemoth, using its main property as a foundation for merchandising, cartoons and other outlets.

Now, almost 5 years after the first Angry Birds, Rovio employs 800 people. However, less than 400 are currently working on games. However, for Jami Laes, executive VP for games, the company will keep finding its future hits in his department, and not all the way around.

But games will always be at the core of Rovio. That’s our heritage. The majority of the folks who have come from different industries to work on different areas of our business, they all experienced the game as their first encounter with the brand. When it comes to future franchises, they’ll most likely see the light of day from the games department, rather than another area of our business.

And now, build yours!

Regarding Rovio’s future and ambitions, he ackowledges the current state of connectivity as the biggest barrier for online gaming.

There’s enough pixels, enough power, enough fidelity to build great games on mobile, with great UI and great controls and so on. But building that long-lasting server-backed experience right now is pretty difficult on mobile.

I’m not a big fan of online-mandatory games, especially for the impossibility of accessing them at any time.  Actually, most of the times I pick my phone for playing, I tend towards experiences that rely more on consuming content than on social interaction (like I did lately with Badland or Injustice). However, that may change when overall connectivity improves… and only when it makes sense.

Source: VentureBeat via develop

OK… but what does a Game Producer really DO?

I get this question a LOT, mostly from relatives and friends, but a couple of times I also heard it from other team members (who probably were trying to mess up with me a little).

It’s a fair question, though. A programmer, programs. An artist, creates art. A game designer… well, designs the game. So.. what does a Game Producer really DO? (and why do I keep writing ‘Producer’ with a capital P?)

The Producer role according to the jobs matrix

The Producer role according to the jobs matrix

In general terms, a Game Producer is akin to a movie director or a TV producer: the one who owns the general vision and, at the same time, is responsible for keeping the message consistent across the areas.

Most of the times, a Game Producer must wear many hats, being the Project Manager hat one of the most common. This involves managing resources, planning and implementing processes that help to improve the workflow.

Too many hats for this Producer.

A Producer going too far

For example, when I was part of Three Melons, my job description included generating proposals for potential clients and being the point of contact for them once the project had been approved. Working at Playdom, in turn, demanded some deep content creation and game design skills, as we had to deliver a great game to millions of players. Those players needed new content regularly and a balanced experience that let them enjoy the game wether they paid or not.

However, one of the best definitions of the Game Producer role comes from the amazing Extra Credits team, which talks about core gaming subjects in a very accessible way. Here’s the video. Enjoy it!

UPDATE: I’m adding an interview to Ed Perkins, Lead Producer at NaturalMotion, in which he “describes what it takes to become a studio’s all-important production guru, overseeing how its projects go from concept to completion.” It can be useful for getting a more in-depth look at the Producer. Find it here!

So what is your job in the video game industry?

If you want to join the video game industry but aren’t quite sure which role suits you best, don’t worry. The guys from Sharkbomb Studios created some time ago a great (and hilarious) matrix that includes practically all the possible jobs you may find.

Some of the results are disturbingly accurate…

Jobs matrix