What is a Video Game Creative Director?
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A video game creative director is someone who makes sure a video game project looks fantastic in all aspects, and is often the creator of the game concept. He or she is responsible for the overall vision of the product, which includes game play, visual style, story, audio assets, cinematics, and marketing materials.
Working under the supervision of the video game producer, the creative director will manage and work with video game designers, illustrators, motion graphic artists, 2D/3D animators and other professionals involved in the project. They will also interact directly with senior supervisors of each department.
How to Become a Video Game Creative Director
What does a Video Game Creative Director do?
Typically, the video game creative director is considered to be the authority of the visual side of a video game, and has to think of ways to keep a video game project going forward while still maintaining the integrity of the project. Communication, leadership, and motivational skills are all essential in this role.
The creative director has to find knowledgable and competent team members for a project, coordinate duties between departments, manage the budget, approve different stages of the project, and present ideas and materials to clients. They keep all departments involved on time, on task, and on budget and must answer to the video game producer and executives who are always concerned about what the game will cost and when it will be done.
During the first stage of a project, the video game creative director gets together with a small senior team of developers to go over the basics of the game; the characters, plot, and style. He or she will keep an eye on the production, level design, animation, and background music—anything that may be involved in bringing a game to life. Like a film director, the creative director makes decisions on voice-over talent casting, audio recording, editing, and gets involved with the marketing of the game. Creative directors must have a vision of the finished game, must nurture and coach the studio towards that end, and have the foresight to anticipate the changing expectations of an audience.
Creative directors go from one meeting to another, from conference call to recording session to level demo. They schedule check-ins with team leads to get updates on the production progress, take care of any issues or concerns on how the new character rig will impact game physics, or look at the previous night’s script edits with the writing staff.
Most video game creative directors have worked as a video game designer before. They must still keep up to date when it comes to computer software programs as well as the visual aspects involved in creating a video game. A good amount of creative talent is required for this position.
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How to Become a Video Game Creative Director
The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that those interested in pursuing a video game creative director career get at least a bachelor’s degree in game design, game art, or game development; courses in fine art, graphic design, and computer programming are also helpful. Once a degree is obtained, quite a bit of time should be spent as a video game designer, graphic designer, or illustrator. This will provide an individual with much needed experience and skill that will be used in the position of video game creative director. Other courses that could be useful for this career include management and leadership courses. It is beneficial to do extensive research on the available art programs at different institutions before choosing a school.
This career requires someone to be an effective manager, who has excellent communication skills, and understands both the technical and financial constraints of game production. They should have skills in 3-D modeling, and have an understanding of scripting languages like C++, Python, or PERL. In order to advance to the position of video game creative director, one needs several shipped titles under their belt and six to eight years of game design experience.
What is the workplace of a Video Game Creative Director like?
Typically, a video game design creative director will work in a video game studio and do a great deal of their work at their computer or in their office. They often meet with the heads of other departments, which may happen throughout the studios or in meeting rooms. Many creative directors do some work from home, however, they must make time to meet with various other professionals, and this typically takes place in fast-paced office settings.
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