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Opinion: Producers Bite Back On 'New Way'

Following on from a recent Letter To The Editor which suggested a change in the way game producer...
Following on from a recent Letter To The Editor which suggested a change in the way game producers are viewed, Gamasutra has received more intriguing responses from game professionals on what game producing means. Particularly notable was a note from Michael John of Method Games, who comments: "I agree with Tim Carter. What Mencher describes is the ultimate description of "producer as middle manager", whereas we as an industry need to nurture the idea of "producer as visionary."" He continues: "If teams are going to get larger (which they are already), and as Tim suggests they are going to be increasingly comprised of custom-built collections of specialists (which I believe will happen), we will need producers who are true visionaries more than ever before. The key skills of these people will be how to recruit and gather a team, how to raise funds, how to define and/or refine the vision of a project, and how to be a genuine inspirational leader." John's conclusion? "The days of the producer being "the guy who updates the Project file and orders the pizza" are, I hope, numbered." In addition, veteran producer Steven Wartofsky (Dungeon Siege II) steps in to reference one particular point that he took issue with in the original article: "I don't think any significant game development project at this point will benefit from a 4-week milestone schedule. Six weeks is really the minimum amount of time you need between milestones, if you are aware of the effort needed to package any deliverables for the milestone -- whether presented onsite, or especially offsite at the publisher -- across all the disciplines in game development. If you try to shorten that time to four weeks, you're going to have the team spending an inefficient amount of time packaging, testing and debugging a relatively small amount of work." Finally, Gamasutra received replies from idealistic independent game producers who believe that the whole concept of over-formalizing games is a bad idea, such as this response, part of Scott Frost's (Awaken.net) complete Letter To The Editor: "Producers can begin task driven, goal oriented project tracking systems that adapt to each project as needed. They will not have to create a standards based reporting system to cry out quarterly to shareholders where each project is at, and if they'll make Xmas. As more and more games have their components outsourced (narrative, writing, artistry) these types of global, fluid, and task driven projects will thrive." We welcome further additions to this debate on new ways for video game producing via the Letter To The Editor interface, where you may also reference the company you work for if you wish.

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