For a new studio that will be focusing on social, mobile platform games. What are roles do we need to fill and how many of each role would be ideal?
It really depends on the kind of game you are making - are you doing procedural content or multiple platforms at once? Budget an extra programmer. Multiplayer? Another half a designer at least. The studio founders (I'm guessing there are between 2 and 4) should sit down and do a rough schedule for the first few games, and then figure out what the headcount should be.
Some positions that are easy to overlook:
- User interface designer/artist - A small studio will probably want to merge the positions, but the importance a good UI cannot be overstated for mobile games.
- Marketing. Even if it's just your CEO pestering every gaming news site with review codes constantly and your concept-artist-web-designer-art-director putting together a press sheet, you're going to need to budget some person-time for this.
- Testing and integration. Again, maybe this is just part of a programmer, but you should have someone whose priority is making sure your builds work and don't regress. When you don't have a fully staffed QA department, this is your only defense against 3AM checkins and oh-crap-we-need-this-immediately-for-the-demo changes.