Assistant Producer

  • Assistant Producer

In the video game industry, the assistant producer acts as a facilitator for the development staff, and is responsible for monitoring the logistical concerns of a game’s creation. He or she works under the supervision of the producer and manages lead personnel in programming, art, and design.


Duties

The assistant producer tracks project schedules and milestones across all development departments, and works in support of the producer. This person will be required to identify interdependencies of development tasks and effectively coordinate the use of staff to ensure efficient asset flow through the pipeline. Just as in building a house, the foundation must be laid before the walls go up; the assistant producer is like a foreman who organizes the staff’s efforts and makes sure the animators are not left twiddling their thumbs, waiting on completed character rigs. It is the assistant producer’s responsibility to provide the senior creative staff with comprehensive analysis of how long each stage of development will take in order to plan milestones and completion deadlines, and to identify the appropriate staff needed to reach development goals. He or she will also help aid the producer in making decisions on budget and schedule based on those analyses, indicating what is or is not practical or possible under the development model.

Working closely with the department leads, the assistant producer will monitor productivity and be responsible for resolving staff conflicts as they arise. This person will set forth to team leaders which tasks are designated as high and low priorities and help to focus energy toward the most urgent needs. It is also important that the assistant producer act as a motivator and mediator across all segments of the studio; he or she should cultivate an environment of cooperation among employees and facilitate conversations addressing development issues or ideas for innovation.  

Skills & Education

A bachelor’s degree in game development, computer science, art, or a related field is highly recommended, and some studios may require a master’s degree. The assistant producer is not expected to be an expert programmer or virtuoso artist, but should thoroughly understand the work of each and have a solid knowledge of the game creation process. Employers are looking for an intelligent and creative person who is passionate about games and has a well-rounded education that can be applied to multiple areas of game development. Excellent organization and time management skills are a necessity. The assistant producer must be highly analytical and a stickler for deadlines.

What to Expect

Much of the assistant producer’s work is a numbers game, figuring necessary time to complete level designs, character models, texture mapping, and so on against milestone deadlines and delivery dates. This person must balance efforts to squeeze every ounce of productivity from the staff for the bosses in the big office against the goal of keeping the staff happy and motivated. The assistant producer is directly involved in the work-life balance of the studio’s employees, and as such, can take heat when the worker bees get restless. The most difficult part of the job is maintaining strong relationships with team members while also still keeping an eye on the bottom line.

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