Pag counter-argued "I see the job of a game director as closer to the movie director in an animated movie than in a regular movie." Fair enough, and from the last issue of WIRED, about *A Scanner Darkly*:
"The animation process dragged out for 15 months. During much of that time, Linklater [the director] stayed away from the Austin production."
To put it another way, here's what I see the nuts-and-bolts "problem" is, with both animation and games: it takes a long time between iterations. Once an iteration is done, the director can look at it and provide feedback. The amount of time it takes to look-at-and-give-feedback is much less than the amount of time it takes to do the work. Near the end of the project, the director will be fully employed playing and giving feedback. Near the beginning of the project, the director will be fully employed setting direction and vision. It's that tricky middle - that's where the director either has to get their hands dirty doing stuff outside their job description, be it production or design or code or art or animation...or browse the web and wait for stuff to get done.
People who pay close attention might notice I'm contradicting myself. Wouldn't a director who rolls up their sleeves and gets their hands dirty be "putting themselves in as their own utility infielder"?
Well, yes, so they'd have to watch themselves. Leading has to always take priority over doing. And on the "doing" front they can't allow themselves to become a bottleneck - they'd have to be able to hand the work off to someone else at the drop of a hat.