Veronica Peshterianu is a producer at Astroneer dev System Era Softworks and will be at GDC 2018 to present the talk "Hello, I'm Your Producer: Strategies for Succeeding On a Team without Production."
Her Production & Team Management Track talk will discuss strategies that can be used by new producers stepping into the role for the first time, as well as introducing production methodologies for building a foundation of trust with a development team. Here, Peshterianu gives us information about herself and what she does.
Tell us about yourself and what you do in the games industry.
I am a producer and I work at System Era, an independent game studio in Seattle, WA. Over the course of my career I've had the pleasure of working on some of the most beloved game franchises like Halo and Plants vs. Zombies.
What inspired you to pursue your career?
Playing, talking, and thinking about games in high school inspired me to pursue games as a career. At that time, I thought that I would have to go into engineering, art, or design to be a game developer, which led me to study Computer Science in university. It wasn't until graduate school, when I interned at Electronic Arts as a producer, that I learned about production as a discipline. It was a huge revelation for me! I was thrilled that there was a role in game development that combined my way of thinking through problems with my enjoyment of working with others.
Without spoiling it too much, tell us what you’ll be talking about at GDC.
I'll be sharing some tips and strategies for those joining a team as the first producer. This is not an often covered subject, but happens regularly, especially in the indie games space. My goal is for attendees to take away a few actionable strategies that can help forge a strong partnership between production and the other disciplines from the start.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your work?
The hardest thing to balance as a producer our collective desire to do the best, coolest things, with the realities of development. As producers, we want to help a team accomplish everything they are excited about, but sometimes we have to be the voice of realities and help work toward a compromise.
What are the most rewarding parts of your job?
I love it when the team feels successful. You can sense the electricity in the air when folks feel like they've accomplished something amazing together. Knowing that I helped make that happen is by far the most rewarding part of the job.
What are some of the benefits of having a producer on your development team?
One of the major benefits is having someone on the team that is keeping the larger context of the project in mind rather than just one aspect or feature. A producer can help facilitate discussion and new ideas and compromise when necessary because they have an understanding of all the various threads that go into making a game. Another benefit is representing the player in discussions, whether technical, design, or business-focused. The producer can advocate on behalf of the community and fans who will be experiencing the end product.
Are there any misconceptions about what a producer does for a team?
The biggest one I've encountered is the assumption that all producers do is take notes and keep the schedule, which couldn't be further from the truth. But there is so much more to keeping a team and project going strong!
Do you have any advice for those aspiring to join your field someday?
This discipline isn't just about spreadsheets and burn down charts, it's also about how to help a team gel and succeed. Strive to find the balance between the hard project and business management side and the softer human interaction side.