What’s the Difference Between a Game Designer & Developer?

As practice shows, the difference between game design and game development is not always obvious to many employers or startups. The fact is that the profession of a game designer is relatively immature and not sufficiently formed to determine its specialization. The main challenge in the game design vs game development confrontation remains a diverse and often fluid set of responsibilities. Not so long ago, games were developed alone. And those who worked on them were designers and programmers at the same time. Now the situation is changing. More and more specialists are required to implement valuable entertainment projects.

Based on the situation in the gaming market and its key requirements, projects may need many experts additionally. They can be with strong graphic design skills to develop levels and their content. Or more experienced in creating and interesting mechanics, or strong in coding to draw up technical specifications for programmers for the required functionality.

Let’s delve deeper into the question in this article: “What is game design and development, and which professionals to hire to achieve successful results?”

Who is a Video Game Designer?

A game designer is a qualified specialist who creates interactive projects and oversees their development. That is, it is associated not only with the design and creation of video game concept art. They’re also involved in all other processes of the game’s life cycle.

The key tasks of designers may differ from studio to studio, from project to project. But any project starts with a high concept – the main idea. And in the gaming business, the determining factor is the ingenious idea, creativity, and efficiency of a designer with an analytical mind.

A game designer not only generates some ideas and various features. They also thoroughly think over the ways of their implementation. They form the project idea into a concept, drawing up the primary concept document. It clearly outlines a brief description of the gameplay and the features of the product.

A game design document (known in the gaming industry as GDD) is generated from the concept document. Then a team of specialists is assembled, which will be needed to create the game. During the development process, the designer oversees the work of the team. They ensure that the technical specifications correspond to the main idea of ​​the project.

Thus, a game designer solves the following tasks:

  • development of the ideological basis of the product (if necessary, simply adjusting it to the market needs);
  • drawing up a project concept;
  • preparation and editing of a design document (GDD);
  • control over the development process in terms of game design.

Who is a Game Developer?

This is a specialist engaged in the creation of program code, visualization, and the key concept of the project. The choice of tools for the implementation of the tasks is also on their shoulders. They work on the technical aspects of development for various engines and platforms. This can be an application for a phone, social network, computer.

They are engaged in:

  • design document formulation and implementation;
  • writing, revision of program code;
  • prescribing characteristics;
  • creation of basic mechanics;
  • maintaining the file architecture of the entire project;
  • compilation of the results of all other specialists into the program.

Video Game Design vs. Video Game Development

Who wins the game designer vs game developer battle? When developing large projects with a small team, a big problem arises – the lack of specialists who could be responsible for each aspect of the development process separately. It is likely that during the development process, responsibilities change, which will significantly affect the speed of work and the final result. In fact, you need to focus on choosing the right experts.

Ideally, it is desirable to use a symbiosis of two people representing these professions, who will work closely together and try to understand each other’s ideas and capabilities.

You should try to get good and complete code from one or more programmers at once, and a well-thought-out product from a designer. And if the designer himself has the necessary knowledge, he will know about the quality and the stage of code completion. In turn, developers will guide designers in the right direction towards their ultimate goals. Both will be able to execute functions much faster, form tasks, and connect them to the development process.


Currently, both the field of information technology in general and the gaming industry, in particular, are rapidly developing. So the profession of a game developer or game designer is not only very interesting and modern but also in demand. Most gaming companies strive to find the best talent and produce high-quality products that can capture the market. Check out kevurugames.com/portfolio/ for more examples in which the efforts of developers and designers are combined to create impressive artwork for world-renowned projects.