Ceased Trading. 12th Sept 2013

Game Development: Company Structure

In this section we are aiming to give you an overview of the many different processes involved in game development. As the games industry has evolved over the last 30 years the systems and job roles involved have become more and more complicated. If you are looking at getting into a career in games or just interested in how the whole process works this is the best place to start. For more information on specific job roles or application advice please see our Job Roles and Getting the Job sections.

Company Structure

Diagram: Company Structure

Most game developers have a company structure broadly similar to ours. There will be one or more game teams (also called development or dev teams), each made up of a number of Artists, Animators, Designers and Programmers.

Each team will also have several Managers, whose main function is to ensure that communication flows easily through the team. This is hugely important in game teams, where there is so much information flying around, critical decisions and changes being made to the design. For more details on all these job roles, see the Job Role pages on this site.

Surrounding and supporting the dev teams are the different support roles. Within development, Blitz has an audio team who provide all the sound effects and music; a technology team who write and maintain the engine code and tools; a QA department to test the games as they progress through development, and a pitch team who put together concept artwork and design to win new projects. Some companies may have some of these teams in-house and outsource others and some may even outsource all of these roles.

Just as important to any company are the non-development support teams such as IT, HR and recruitment, administration, finance, legal, PR and marketing. Without people specially employed to do all these jobs, the dev teams end up having to do the work themselves, which means that they don't have as much time to get on with what they specialise in - making great games!

Blitz is an independent development studio, which means we're not owned by any publisher or console manufacturer. All our publishers are therefore external companies, often American (because there are almost no British publishers left). Each game contract is negotiated separately, so we might be working for four different publishers on four different games at any one time. In addition, if one of those games is a licensed title (for example SpongeBob SquarePants), then we will be working closely with the company who owns the licence (in this case Nickelodeon) as well as with the publisher. Managing these relationships day-to-day during a project is mainly the task of the Project Directors/Managers, rather than the senior management team.

The role of senior management is to develop and maintain high-level relationships to facilitate the acquisition of new contracts, develop the business strategy so that the company stays profitable and to generally look after the high-level financial, legal and business issues that any company management has to deal with all the time. In the most basic sense, game development is a business just like any other (albeit more fun than most!) and for that you need people who are good at business, in addition to the people who are good at creating wonderful entertainment.