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By TACP Staff on July 18, 2021
The video game director is an individual who wields creative control over the artistic, visionary and functional aspects of video game development. The director manages those creating artwork, sound, and game programming. Video game developers work under a game producer who will require the director to finish projects within a specified time frame and within delineated financial parameters. These professionals must have superior organizational, planning and management skills.
Defining the role of a video game design creative director can be difficult because the exact duties of this profession can differ from one agency to the next. Like many creative professions, there is no specific set of guidelines that are followed across the board. However, all video game design creative directors generally have one broad purpose: to make sure a video game project looks fantastic in all aspects. In order to achieve this, most creative directors will manage and work with the video game designers, illustrators, motion graphic artists, 2D/3D animators and other professionals involved in the project.
Often, the video game design creative director is considered the top authority on all aspects of the visual side of a video game, and may have to devise techniques to propel a video game project forward and keep it on track while maintaining the integrity of the project. Communication is an essential skill, as is leadership and motivation. Most creative directors rise to this position after having worked as a video game designer, and they must stay up to date when it comes to the computer software programs, tools and devices used to get the job done. A creative director must be well-versed in all of the visual aspects involved in creating a video game, and a good amount of creative talent is required in this position.
Some other duties the creative director may have include recruiting competent team members for the completion of a project, developing and managing the project’s budget, coordinating duties between different departments, reviewing and approving different stages of the project, and presenting design ideas and materials to clients.
Typically, a video game design creative director will work in a video game studio and will likely do a great deal of their work at their computer or in their office. The job requirements mean this professional will 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; in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 57% of all art directors (in general) are self-employed. However, even self-employed directors must meet with various other professionals, and this typically takes place in fast-paced office settings.
Related: How to Become a Video Game Director
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends that those interested in pursuing a creative director career obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in an art or design subject. However, once that degree is obtained, a fair amount of time should be spent as a video game designer, graphic designer, illustrator or as a multimedia designer. This provides a wealth of experience and skill that will be used in the position of creative director. Many creative directors also earn master’s degrees as they do artist work, which can further prepare them for the role of director. Other courses that are beneficial include management and leadership courses. Interested students would benefit from doing extensive research on the available art programs at different institutions before choosing a school. Learn more about art schools here.
Working with the artistic side of video games is an exciting prospect, and these professionals are certainly well-compensated for their skills and abilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has published data reporting that in May of 2018, art directors working in the motion picture and video industries earned a median annual wage of $92,780. This is well above art directors working in other industries, such as advertising and public relations, newspaper and book publishing, and specialized design services. There were 101,800 art directors employed throughout the United States in 2018.
Surprisingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a slower growth for video game design creative directors than the average career. The anticipated growth from 2018-208 is just 1% compared to 5% for all other occupations. One of the reasons for slow growth can be the high level of competition in this field. More and more individuals are going into the video game design industry, and existing video game designers, illustrators, and artists are attempting to rise through the ranks to become creative directors. One thing that sets candidates aside is a well-crafted portfolio that demonstrates strong skills in visual design and all aspects of multimedia art. Management and leadership courses can also help candidates stand out from the crowd.
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