Production is a career in which you can start out in an entry-level position and work your way up to a more senior production role. As you progress up the career ladder, you will figure out where your strengths are and choose a particular focus. You may also become skilled or knowledgeable enough in another aspect of game development and transition to a different role on the team, leaving the production role open for someone else.
The following are the basic stepping stones on a production career track. Keep in mind that companies may have different names and different requirements for getting promoted. It's best to check with your manager on what is needed to advance from one position to the next:
- • Production Assistant (PA): This is an entry-level position. Little production experience is needed, just a willingness to learn, be helpful, and take on a wide variety of tasks as directed. The main focus of this role is to be an extra pair of hands for the production team: someone who can help schedule meetings, take notes, get status updates, organize playtests, and do whatever else is needed. In this role, you get exposed to different areas of game development, so it's a great learning experience. Your work tasks will shift daily as PAs are most effective when focused on short-term tasks and whatever is needed that day.
- • Associate Producer (AP): This position has more responsibility and works closely with the producer on managing the day-to-day activities of the team. They may be tasked with producing specific parts of the game, such as the localizations or voiceover recordings. They usually have 1-3 years of production experience. They are mostly focused on what is needed that week or over the next few weeks, so they will have a set of regular responsibilities, such as running daily stand-ups, doing risk analysis, and setting up production pipelines. They may also manage PAs.
- • Producer: This person usually manages an entire development team and has 3-8 years of experience. Their focus is on executing the plan. If the team is especially large, several producers may split responsibilities across it. For example, one producer might be responsible for all the art content, another might be responsible for design content, and a third might be focused on technical content. They look weeks and months ahead on the project. If the project schedule is organized into sprints, producers focus on the next 2-3 sprints. They are responsible for keeping the team on track, solving problems, ensuring the work hits the quality bar, and facilitating the production pipeline. They also anticipate, define, and mitigate risks. They will manage and mentor APs and PAs.
- • Senior Producer: The responsibilities for this role vary depending on the studio. Usually, it is a more forward-looking and strategic role that is focused on leading the production team, pulling together the high-level plan and strategies for development, launching the game, improving processes, and mentoring producers and leads. The person also works with departments outside the development team to manage the entire development and release cycle for the game. The senior producer needs to anticipate problems before they happen and get mitigation strategies in place. They likely have at least 8-12 years of experience.
- • Executive Producer (EP): Responsibilities for this role also vary. Some EPs are focused on managing the multi-year development and release plan for a game franchise, like Call of Duty. They determine the strategies for growing and maintaining the franchise, such as when sequels are released; what new content, in the way of characters and stories, is created; and what new technologies are integrated into
the game (such as VR or AR). They may manage multiple products within the franchise. Other EPs might oversee the process of game development and focus on broader development tasks, such as establishing employee training programs, evaluating external vendors, improving processes, determining the needs of the project, and mentoring other producers.