FO­CUS : PROD­UCT ION

EDGE - - THE EDITORS -

Ni­co­las Schoener is pro­duc­tion co­or­di­na­tion di­rec­tor for the ed­i­to­rial depart­ment and in charge of the line pro­duc­ers and pro­duc­tion sup­port team.

“I need people who have a large va­ri­ety of skills,” he says. “Line pro­duc­ers usu­ally come in from be­ing a pro­ducer on site, or from qual­ity con­trol and test­ing. I have one or two from a game de­sign back­ground and one from a li­cens­ing back­ground. It’s very di­verse, but usu­ally they’re com­ing from pro­duc­tion.”

A pro­ducer for 16 years him­self, Schoener is in­clined to re­fer to Ubisoft’s games as “prod­ucts”, and stresses the im­por­tance of its pro­cesses. “We have a strong or­gan­i­sa­tion, which is used through the whole stu­dios. We all speak the same lan­guage, [work to] the same mile­stones, [deal in] the same ter­mi­nol­ogy.

“The ad­van­tage of mak­ing games in the past [when they were smaller] was agility – the abil­ity to re­act very fast – and that’s the one ad­van­tage we’ve tried to keep, even though to­day we have a very strong struc­ture and a solid process that we ap­ply to ev­ery pro­duc­tion, what­ever the for­mat, genre and style. Ba­si­cally, our process is sim­ple from the be­gin­ning un­til the end. We have ‘gates’ – mile­stones dur­ing which a de­vel­op­ment team shows top man­age­ment the re­sult of their work – and they’re cru­cial in the life of the project. We have a dozen ren­dezvous like this be­tween man­age­ment and the de­vel­op­ment team to de­cide how the prod­uct is evolv­ing, and we can ad­just the con­tent, the busi­ness plan, the pro­duc­tion, the staffing – ev­ery as­pect.”

While line pro­duc­ers and de­sign­ers are in­volved in a game’s pro­duc­tion from the very be­gin­ning, it is, Schoener ac­knowl­edges, a role that re­ceives less credit and glory than the in-house pro­duc­ers and de­sign­ers. “It’s a very dif­fer­ent job be­ing a line pro­ducer, or be­ing a pro­ducer on site, of course,” he says. “On site you lead a team and you pro­duce some­thing. Here we over­view, pre­pare, we plan, [and] we struc­ture ev­ery­thing. It’s not just a mat­ter of skills, be­cause they ba­si­cally all have the same job and the same skills. [The im­por­tant part] af­ter that is the sen­si­bil­ity of the per­son. Are they a hard­core gamer, a PC gamer, a ca­sual gamer, a mo­bile gamer? You have per­sonal in­ter­ests and I try to take that into ac­count, be­cause I’m con­vinced that it works bet­ter when the per­sonal affin­ity or taste of the per­son goes with the prod­uct they work on. It doesn’t mat­ter whether it’s Black Flag,

Your Shape, Ray­man or what­ever, we need the same skills, but the people are very dif­fer­ent.”

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