In a recent interview, Ace Attorney producer Eshiro Motohide and Danganronpa producer Terasawa Yoshinori shared their thoughts on how producers can forge a healthy working relationship with the development teams they manage.
During the chat, which was initially published by Dengeki Online before being translated by the folks at Gyakuten Saiban Library, Yoshinori suggests the key to success lies in giving developers the freedom to make what they want.
You have to be willing to take the shackles off, he says, because in game development the answers are never clear at the start. You'll only ever create a great game if you're willing to experiment, and put new, even risky, ideas to the test. Although he admits it's hardly a foolproof tactic.
"There are times when it’s a success, and times when it isn’t." comments Yoshinori. "When I think it’s obviously wrong, I’ll of course explain that and have them change it. But if not, I’ll have the team make their own choices. So whenever they do fail, I blame myself for not having made my own opinions clear to the team.
"When I didn’t tell them to do something, it means I myself didn’t have confidence in that idea."
Motohide's approach is similar. He doesn't want to become a babysitter, constantly telling devs how to do their jobs, or steering them away from ideas they're set on.
With that in mind, he tries to take a hands off approach, and sees himself as something of an interpreter; helping his team convey their ideas clearly. If he can't grasp a concept, or a joke, he reasons that players won't either.
"I tell them to be aware of their final destination when making a game. If the development team thinks [an idea] is funny, if they don’t manage to convey that in some manner to me, it’s unlikely the users will understand it."
"We sometimes fight about that, but we need to make games that satisfies the users that pay money for them. So with that in mind, I hardly make any detailed instructions on what they decide on on the development floor unless it isn’t conveyed well."
You can find the complete translation over on the Gyakuten Saiban Library.