I was watching the behind the scenes dvd for God of War 2 (yeah, I’m a total dork when it comes to those things, I always get the collectors edition game if it has interviews with the developers, despite our reputation for not being as photogenic as creators in other entertainment industries).
In it Cory Barlog, director of the game, describes his postion as Game Director at SCEA, and it sounds quite a bit better than this. Basically, he describes it as working with every single person on the team to make sure their work meets the vision for the product and meets the level of quality the he wants to achieve.
Now, some game development studios have this explicit position, others just have people in various roles on the team trying to do the same thing. But it does seem a bit more mature to explicit define one person as having this role.
Or, you could, like EA, have “producers” direct and “directors” produce. We wouldn’t want to use consistent language or anything. I mean, filmmakers have been creatively collaborating in large groups for a century, what-in-god’s-fucking-name could we learn from them?
It does seem very unlike an American studio though, I sort wonder just how much of Sony’s Japanese heritage affects the Santa Monica studio – developer’s in the east seem much more ready to accept the notion of the “director”. Kojima, Itagaki, Mizuguchi, Suzuki, Suda51, Ueda, Mikami, Kamiya, Sakaguchi, Naka, and of course, Miyamoto. And more – that’s off the top of my head. I would have a much harder time naming western developers who would consider themselves “directors”.