Inside Job: It Takes a Method
I'm not sure what caused this precisely - maybe the time for re-evaluation was nigh, maybe there's something in the collective unconscious. But after about a year and a half of the gaming media being content to assume the industry was clicking quietly along on its own, everyone seems to want to know the State of the Game all at once.
I always figured the producer was they guy the publishers sent to suck the orrigionality out of what the developers were making & bamboozle them with data, diagrams & spreadsheets
Yeah, I should have specified for the wider audience, my apologies. This discussion was on internal production. Publisher production I still have sense enough not to go near with a ten foot clown pole. ;)
Okay, that's not entirely true. But it is a very different type of work. Primarily the internal production role intersects with the publisher producer in terms of communication and leadership. Managing the publisher's expectations through this relationship is its own subject entirely, and is a large element of the internal producer's job -- usually, depending on the (size of the) studio, the Executive Producer, who is usually the CEO, etc.
The creativity sucking you're talking about can happen under a variety of circumstances, but I think the most common is a simple "too many cooks" issue when the publisher for whatever reason decides the studio is underperforming and so requires interference. But this level of intervention and mucking about also varies greatly depending on the individual style of the publisher-producer.