Civ IV: Producer Jesse Smith Interviewed
8:12 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story
GameProducer.net recently posted an interview with Jesse Smith, a producer with Firaxis Games. The interview offers insight into the creation of Civilization IV, the experience of working at Firaxis, and the responsibilities of producing a popular game.
GameProducer.NET: Responsibility comes hand to hand with leadership - one of the skills or qualities that game producers need to have. What leadership means to you, and what have you learned about leadership in Civ4 production? Click on the link below to read the rest of the interview.
GameProducer.net: Jesse Smith Interview
Jesse Smith: The importance of leadership ability in a game producer cannot be overstated. Once you have a huge team working on a project everyone must understand the direction the project is heading and the role they play in getting the project there. A good leader listens to the team and watches the flow of the project and makes decisive decisions which keep everyone moving toward the final goal. Without good leadership the quality and timeliness of the product is at great risk.
While working at Activision as an Associate Producer I was managing managers. This was very different from what I am doing now as a Producer at Firaxis, which involves direct interaction with the actual content creators. Managing and motivating creative individuals requires a vastly different approach!
During the final six months of Civ IV I was the only Producer on the project and this was pretty overwhelming: it was my first triple-A title as a development producer, and I was working with the largest team the company had ever assembled! Finding myself becoming overwhelmed, I went to my bosses to ask for assistance, and they brought Barry Caudill, producer of Sid Meierís Pirates!, onto the project as Senior Producer. This turned out to be an excellent decision for everybody. With Barry as my mentor I honed my game production skills, and I really came to understand what it means to produce games at a cutting-edge studio like Firaxis. In the end the project came out on time, under budget, and to rave reviews from the critics and audience alike!
Asking for help is never easy but it is an important part of being a leader. You always need to be willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure the success of the game you are working on.
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