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GDC 2023 Session Guide for Production and Team Leadership

Video games are serious business, and production and team leaders lead the way to success. Game professionals heading to the Game Developers Conference: This Session Guide and Walkthrough will help you make the most of your GDC 2023

In our Production and Team Leadership track, learn tactics for managing game production, no matter the size or scope of your game. From AAA console games to emerging platforms with new challenges, producers need to keep teams and projects on track and increase efficiency along the way to ship games on time.

The track includes sessions from: Production Essentials Summit

Sign Up For GDC 2023 Here

The 2023 Game Developers Conference features hundreds of sessions—covering nearly every discipline, topic, and focus that matters to game developers today. It can be hard to choose! That's why we've created this helpful guide. Head here to view all previous GDC 2023 session guides.

It features some standout sessions, panels, and events dedicated to helping your career and company growth efforts. In addition, we've got tips on making the most of your GDC, and links to GDC Vault videos and Game Developer articles that will help you get pumped for GDC 2023.

Be sure to visit our Session Viewer for a full list of Production and Team Leadership talks at GDC 2023 and get started on prepping that schedule. For those wanting the option to experience every production and team leadership session at GDC 2023, be sure to register for an All-Access Pass

Core Session Picks for: Production and Team Leadership

Career Progression and Value: Set Your Teams Up for Success
Hannah Mackintosh (2D Artist & Discipline Lead, Cerebralfix)

Location: Room 2016, West Hall
Date: Thursday, March 23
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Description: "Come along as Hannah Mackintosh, 2D Artist and Discipline Lead at CerebralFix, shares how they've built a people-focused approach to guiding and fostering career growth, through utilizing goal setting processes and transparent expectations."

The Production Secrets of 'Return to Monkey Island'
Jenn Sandercock (Producer, Inquisiment & Terrible Toybox)

Location: Room 2005, West Hall
Date: Thursday, March 23
Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Description: "Gain production insights from Return to Monkey Island's lead producer, Jenn Sandercock, about the two-year development cycle, working with an iconic IP, and building a no-crunch, fully remote team of 25 people in absolute secrecy."

Leaders Working at the Heart of the Team in 2023
Grant Shonkwiler (Commander & Shonk, Shonkventures)
Erika Olsen (Senior Producer, Xbox Game Studios Publishing)
Richard Atlas (CEO, Clever Endeavour Games)
Roger Collum (Vice President, Total War, Creative Assembly)
Carolina Mastretta (Co-Founder & Studio Lead, Original Fire Games)

Location: Room 2006, West Hall
Date: Thursday, March 23
Time: 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Description: "In this session, the speakers will investigate facets of soft skills and share specific situations that they have encountered throughout our careers, and how soft skills have saved the team and shipped awesome games."

How We Almost Wrecked Our Second Game, 'The Wreck'
Florent Maurin (Creative Director, The Pixel Hunt)

Location: Room 2014, West Hall
Date: Friday, March 24
Time: 11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Description: "In this session, Florent explains how success can sometimes have negative consequences, how easy it is to rush in the wrong direction, how hard it can be to steer away from it, and how, sometimes, what you really need is a series of kicks in the butt."

Improving Game Credits at Your Studio
Katie Golden (Senior Product Manager, Riot Games)

Location: Room 2005, West Hall
Date: Friday, March 24
Time: 11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Description: "This lecture presents frameworks for credit development, code, implementation, and policy that the IGDA Game Credits SIG volunteers have discussed, vetted, and can describe have worked at other studios."

Summits Session Picks for: Production and Team Leadership

Production Essentials Summit: The Art of Closing
Fleur Marty (Executive Producer, WB Games Montreal)

Location: Room 2010, West Hall
Date: Monday, March 20
Time: 10:50 am - 11:50 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
Description: "The goal of this session is to provide clear, practical and actionable advice to producers on how to conduct a good closing phase and how to help their team fall in love with it."

Production Essentials Summit: Studio Tales: Roadmaps of the Risk Management Hero
Marcieb Balisacan (Director & Producer, Embersail Studios)

Location: Room 2010, West Hall
Date: Monday, March 20
Time: 2:10 pm - 2:40 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
Description: "This talk will look at insights from story and narrative designers, their processes, frameworks, and models, as they can be used to map out project roadmaps to be able to identify goals and risks for your team."

Production Essentials Summit: The Producer's Role in Fostering Cultural Inclusion
Tina Merry (Consultant & Trainer, Tina Merry Consulting)

Location: Room 2010, West Hall
Date: Monday, March 20
Time: 4:10 pm - 5:10 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
Description: "In this session, consultant and trainer Tina Merry will explore topics to help effectively navigate cultural diversity and to support a strategic approach for increased effectiveness and inclusion in all multicultural interactions."

Production Essentials Summit: Engaging Game Developers to Do Great Work, Happily
Scott Crabtree (Chief Happiness Officer, Happy Brain Science)

Location: Room 2010, West Hall
Date: Monday, March 20
Time: 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
Description: "Learn the science behind engagement, and the practical steps any producer or game dev leader can take to boost engagement, and, therefore, the game and the bottom line."


5 Tips for Making the Most of Your GDC

1. Join a speed networking session: Our talks and panels are amazing, but be sure to bookmark at least one speed networking session during your time at GDC. They're a great way to network with like-minded professionals and industry colleagues. More info on these sessions to come. 

2. Meet up in the Connect Lounge: The GDC 2023 Expo Floor features hundreds of booths and exhibitors—along with a dedicated networking space where attendees can schedule meetings (through Swapcard, once available) with prospective clients or employers.

3. Plan Your Expo Floor Tour: The GDC 2023 Expo Floor features hundreds of booths and exhibitors, and many of them are seeking to grow their talent pools (or are promoting their services). Be sure to visit our interactive Floor Plan so you can map out the spots you want to visit, and make sure to reach out to the exhibitors on Swapcard (once available) to request meetings at their booths. 

4. Get food recs from an SF ambassador: Trying to find something to eat in between sessions? Keep an eye out for the city’s official Welcome Ambassadors–in their signature bright orange jackets, with the words “Welcome Ambassador” written on the back. They'll be hanging around GDC and may have recommendations on interesting spots to grab breakfast or lunch.

5. Complete Your Swapcard Profile: GDC is once again using Swapcard as the go-to system for all GDC networking activities. Make sure to fully complete your profile once available (in mid-March) to request meetings with any fellow attendee registered through Swapcard. You will be able to search other attendees by job title, professional interest, and other filters.

Watch and Read

(VIDEO) Production Essentials Summit: Anti-Crunch: Patterns and Practices: Chris Cobb (GDC 2022)

(VIDEO) Company Respec: How to Pivot Your Studio and Team: Seth Sivak (GDC 2022)

(ARTICLE) Building a 21st Century AAA Studio in an Officeless World: Jeff Gardiner (Game Developer)

(ARTICLE) GDC 2023 State of the Game Industry: Devs weigh in on the metaverse, player toxicity, and more: Beth Elderkin (Game Developer)

Watch more Production and Team Leadership talks on GDC Vault here

This is the latest in our series of Session Guides for GDC 2023, with recommendations for sessions, events, networking opportunities, and more. Head here to view all previous GDC 2023 session guides.

Of course, the only way to see these sessions, and so much more, is to sign up for GDC

Register for GDC 2023 Here

We can’t wait to see you at GDC 2023, taking place March 20-24, 2023 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Head here for information on booking a hotel and other travel inquiries, and follow the #GDC23 hashtag for the latest news and updates for this year’s exciting event.

GDC returns to San Francisco this March 20-24, 2023, and registration is now open! For more information, be sure to visit our website and follow the #GDC23 hashtag on social media.

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