The External Producer is responsible for ensuring the successful delivery of a game, while working externally from the development team.
External Producers are almost always employed by a game publisher. Working out of the publisher’s head office, they liaise between the publisher’s sales and marketing departments and the game developer, which may be located hundreds of miles away.
The External Producer works closely with the game’s internal producer, who is part of the on-site development team. While the internal producer focuses on the staff management tasks of getting a game finished on time and on budget, the External Producer is concerned with broader issues.
The External Producer is like a consultant, advising the game developer instead of dealing with day-to-day problems. Their responsibility is best described as ensuring the publisher has all the relevant information required to make the game as commercially successful as possible.
This can involve anything from co-ordinating the release of screenshots and demo disks with the game’s marketing manager, to handling the outsourcing of audio, cut scenes or language localization with the developer’s internal producer, and running focus tests on early versions of the game.
In addition, the External Producer will act as the developer’s go-between with the publisher with regard to interim payments or major changes to the game’s design or appearance.