Think back to the days before Sony grabbed the video games industry, and moved it towards a whole new demographic. The days when an admission to playing video games reduced street cred to below those who played Dungeons & Dragons. To before every man and his dog had internet access …. Think back to 16 bits, to 2D adventures, to a lack of Z-buttons … we are back in 1993.
Back in 1993, the games industry was still in its infancy. Sure, the first program on a computer that could be described as a “game” was over 30 years old, but in terms of where we are now, small was beautiful. Games were slowly changing – away from the two man teams in the bedroom towards larger teams based in a development studio. Games were changing, and the process behind developing them was too.
When I first joined the games industry in 1994, Producers were in charge of the titles. Their role was to liaise between the publisher (those that put it in the box) and the developer (those that wrote the game) and ensure that things ran smoothly. However, as team sizes got bigger, and costs got greater, the industry had to move forwards and ensure that ship dates were met – Producers needed to find some project management skills!
Back in the mid 90’s, Producers were either Internal or External. The external producer worked as mentioned above, but the internal Producer used to add the project and man-management of an actual team to his responsibilities. Slowly but surely, as team sizes became larger and larger, the roles were split even further so that most publishers now employ a Producer to look after the design and quality sides of a project, along with all the external issues such as licensing, liaison with marketing, whilst the internal Producer changed his job title to Development Manager.
And so we have me! I have worked in the video games industry for ten years starting as an Internal Producer and now as a Development Manager. My years have seen me work with two of the largest publishers in the business and my hands have been dirtied by some of the largest franchises out there – I have been extremely fortunate!
Unfortunately however, there is still a lot of mystique about the industry – the people who pay our wages (ie. you!) have many questions but nobody to answer them – and this is where I come in. If there is something you have always wanted to know, I will try and answer it for you. Want to know why games ship late? Can’t understand why paper reviews you read don’t relate to the game you have just bought? Curious about why games cost so much? Mad when a title you have been looking forward to is cancelled? Send them all through…
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