The Top Ten Game Production Classes

It's like a tier list. Except different.

The Top Ten Game Production Classes

Originally posted on my blog 5/29/2008. 15 years later, only minor edits were needed. No, I was not a source for Apple TV’s Mythic Quest.

Sure, you have your favorite archetypes in whatever game you’ve been playing, but game production has archetypes as well. And without these specific archetypes, you would not have games today. Really.

10: The Radar O’Reilly. She knows everything about the game and the company. She knows every quirk about everyone on staff and knows exactly when to send a chipper email cheering someone up. She hasn’t gotten a promotion in twelve years because she’s far too important where she is. Without her the entire company would have collapsed into fistfights and embezzlement six years ago. She is paid $16.50 an hour and never submits any overtime.

9: The Publicity Whore. Every media outlet has his email, cell phone, home phone, and incriminating photos from That Night At The Club. He is the public face of your company. When people think of your game, they think of him. He talks pretty. Which is a good thing because he has no idea what the hell you have been working on, and the last time he was at your game demo Radar O’Reilly had to actually control the game for him. Every time he opens his mouth a part of your team’s heart dies a little inside, because they know they will some day be held to account for trying to implement the possibly drug induced ravings that pass for his knowledge of what features are planned for your game. But it’s hard to hate him, because he’s just so gosh darned likeable. And he talks pretty.

8: The Raid Leader. She is the one person on your design team who actually still plays games. Her knowledge base on her game is unassailable. Unfortunately it’s not for the game you’re working on. Still, without her you’d be making “World Of Warcraft With Monkeys In Space” or something. When work breaks her will to live she goes home, logs into her anonymous Twitter account and flames the crap out of The Publicity Whore.

7: The Fixer. He’s the producer, most often, or someone filling in the role because the person with the producer title is actually the Publicity Whore or something. When someone hasn’t shown up to work for two weeks because they’re exploring the validity of their peyote visions in the desert, he’s the one leaving screaming ‘reminders’ on their voicemail. He makes the schedules. He keeps the charts. He attends the meetings with executives trying to figure out what the project actually is and why there’s a ill-concealed line item for peyote in the budget. He can’t sleep at night because he knows keeping the jobs of 50 to 100 people are his direct responsibility. He hasn’t played a video game, ever. It doesn’t matter. He makes the trains run on time. Every Friday he and Radar O’Reilly drink heavily after work and make fun of The Publicity Whore.

6: The Community Person: She is the only person who actually talks to the customers on the boards, because it is technically her job and because she’s crazy enough to actually enjoy it. She’s usually female because studies show that online bullies have a 32% harder time depersonalizing a woman. She is the person on the team with the most alcohol tolerance from far too many player gatherings. She knows exactly where to touch a ranting customer on the shoulder to defuse them in mid rant. She eats bullets. Her secret is that she actually cares what people think about her company.

5: The Idiot Savant. He has never had a real job. He has worked in games ever since he hacked into an MMO server when he was 14 and gave his character godlike stats so he could level faster. He has no social skills whatsoever and every time a new woman is hired for the team he hovers around her cubicle making awkward small talk. His code is completely brilliant and utterly incomprehensible to anyone else. He is a multimillionaire from having bought the third bitcoin ever minted, but doesn’t know quite what to do with money.

4: The PR Flack. She comes from the same vats everyone else in PR is grown in. She has only the vaguest idea what computer gaming is and think everyone involved in it is somewhat smelly. She has the second highest alcohol tolerance in the company from attending too many trade shows. Still, she speaks publicity-cant, and without her no one would know about the game you work on and it would sell four copies. The Idiot Savant is in love with her, but every time they pass in the halls he casts his eyes downward and walks very fast.

3: The Guy In QA. He has 12 posters in his cubicle, ranging on various topics such as cryptocurrency, Cthulhu and George Lucas. He has worn a bizarre costume hat to work every day since he was hired. He has 90,000 fully poseable toys on every possible surface. Everyone is frankly terrified to talk to him. He files bug reports about how the game isn’t fun and has no clear purpose. He’s right.

2: The Bitch Programmer From Hell. She hates players. She especially hates players of the game she works on. She submits passive aggressive patch notes like “Fixed some spell everyone uses because it’s overpowered.” Everyone online is convinced she exists. She is the bane of The Community Person’s existence and The Community Person has idly considered using a sniper rifle to remove the threat at long range. She is a reason why your favorite game sucks, but there are others. But she is a reason, and that keeps her happy. At home she’s a Twitch streamer and makes 12 times what she does at work from people watching her curse while shooting people in Call of Duty.

1. The Pontificator. He is convinced his job is to think deep thoughts about game systems. This isn’t actually his job, and he hasn’t done his actual job in years. But since he is an encyclopedic font of knowledge about the game he works on, he is barely tolerated. He thinks Web3 games and Play-to-Earn are actual workable concepts and the future of game design. He believes that remaking Ultima Online only without “all the mistakes” is a slam dunk. He actually uses the word ‘carebear’ in daily conversation. He is insanely, insanely jealous of The Publicity Whore. He has forgotten all the actual job skills he ever had and in the event of a sudden recession in the gaming industry he would be hard pressed to work at a Circle K on the graveyard shift.

Note To People I Have Worked With In The Past Or Present: if you think I’m talking about you, you’re wrong. I can fill in three people for each of these classes from personal experience, minimum. You are not a unique snowflake. And I’m four of them.