The Creative Director is the key person during the game development process, overseeing any high-level decisions that affect how the game plays, looks or sounds.
Not all game companies employ Creative Directors. Some companies prefer to continue to split the duties between a game’s Lead Artists, Lead Programmers, Designers and Producers.
Where the position is used, each game development team has its own Creative Director. Some highly experienced and talented Creative Directors oversee multiple projects.
They are responsible for the overall look and feel of a computer game. The position is a relatively new one within the games industry. It has evolved out of the producer’s role, which has shifted towards managing the process of completing a game on time and on budget.
In contrast, the Creative Director’s focus is on ensuring the quality and style of the gameplay, artwork, music and audio assets that make up the final product. In many cases, the Creative Director is also the creator of the original game concept and characters, and so makes sure that the finished game fulfills the initial goals.
At the start of a project, they work with a small core team defining the framework of the game, with special attention paid to the artistic styling and any technical obstacles that will need to be overcome.
As the game’s development continues and more staff are added, the Creative Director works closely with the Lead Programmers, Artists and Designers to ensure all the code and art assets produced, as well as playable versions of the game, are of a sufficiently high quality. They deal with issues arising such as new features and any major redesigning of characters and scenarios. Outside of the development team, they act as the game’s champion, promoting it to executives who are not directly involved in production, such as the sales and marketing departments.