Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Greenlight Process: Guest Blog Edition


A while back put a sidebar up asking for submissions, here is the first. A developer who, in the interest of protecting future business chooses to remain anonymous, submitted the following report from the front. Enjoy:

Production Green Light Process

A friend at a developer pointed out a recent article titled ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT by Matthew Wasteland in this month's Game Developer Magazine.

In a humorous manner the article details a series of comments made by a Publisher to a Developer through the course of their production. The associated timeline indicates to anyone on this forum the (expected) absurdity of some of the remarks.

However, it did highlight the relative value to production of certain comments and how - as far as successful production is concerned - not all roles should have an equal voice in the oversight or direction of the development process.

For example, at the beginning of game production, the development team is focused on creating R&D based prototypes that usually visually have little resemblance to the final product. During this time, the QA, Technical and Creative Production leads should have, in weighted voting, the largest decision making power over the general direction and value of the game.

At vertical slice - when the game has a more refined demonstration of core experience value - all voices (from production, sales, marketing, QA, executive, etc) would be more or less equal as the goal is to objectively determine a P&L's overall viability relative to game value, market projections and costs. If there isn't a unified vision for success with the game at this point: change it, kill it, or accept the likely consequences (hello: Quasimodo!).

At the end, the only voice that matters to production is QA which tells the group what has to be done to be done. Because "done" can at times become somewhat subjective and depend on available time and money - Marketing and Sales should also have a strong voice in determining what *must* be fixed to successfully ship and meet plan.

However, it seems to me that at many Publishers the "Greenlight Review" meeting, in an effort to have all departments 'on board' and involved in the decision making process, has become more of a equal voting forum where expertise is not always valued according to the relative needs and benefits to the production and resulting business P&L.

It could be worth considering having a weighted value assigned to different groups that would vary according on the stage of product development.

What do you think about your Greenlight Process? Working great or needs improvement?






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