And youre tired of me spending my time trying to dissuade you and just want to hear the brass tacks about how to improve your chances? "Jesus Christ, gaider you mumble. "do you ever get to the goddamn point?" Rude. I mean, sure, fair, but rude. With the caveat that Im only talking about the sort of writing jobs one gets at a place like bioware because thats the only type of place ive hired for (Im sure people get hired to write games like the last of Us — call. — but Im not certain what their criteria for that would be other than to, you know, be neil Druckmann, and thats harder for some folks than others here are some things you should try. Learn On one hand, this means you need to play games.
M: Rory's Story cubes : toys games
We want you to wave your magic Writing Wand and give it a brilliant story. Yes, i know games which really care about story will have actual writers there in early development, but we have neither the time nor money for that. Others will have the writing being done by someone whos also doing something else on the team, like a programmer, because they just have. And most of everyone else? Their game doesnt have much call for story, period, because theyre just not that kind of game. Writing is a hard skill to show. You could be a genius at narrative design, but proving that youre a genius? More than that, the people who methodology are hiring writers have a really difficult time in figuring out whos capable. Its not like a 3D model you can look at and objectively say whether whoever made it has the chops or not — were talking about an inexact science, and there are no degrees in, say, interactive branching Fiction. So you make do writing your brilliant submissions and trying to stand out among all the other submissions. But youre good with the chances?
If any of thats a problem for you, then go write a novel and be happy. Thats good, because despite all that you can also do great revelation work and end up with something really rewarding — something you share with your entire team — and I can safely say that nothing feels better. So lets talk about getting the job. Third: Getting the job Just so were clear, right up front? The chances of you getting any writing job in the game industry are not good. Its not necessarily because you suck, its because of two main things. There arent many writing gigs to be had. Many game developers who need writing will outsource, meaning they bring in a writer late in development and go "see this story-less game we have here?
And then theres the rest of your job which is what comes after youve done all the collaborating — and thats the implementation. That is 80 percent of your job. Figuring out how to make lined the story work inside a video game. That level you wrote? You will re-write it at least three times, trying to make it suck a little less each time. It got cut because, even though it was really fun, the art team is behind schedule and the level it was in now doesnt book exist and it falls on you to fix the surrounding story now that the middle piece isnt there any longer. The reason this is 80 percent of your job is because you will spend the majority of your time fixing shit. And you will do it with a smile, because its your job to make it all come together like it was meant to be that way from the beginning and not be a princess about it because the story you pitched in pre-production and which.
And even if they can, maybe they cant put a tightly-packed crowd into the castles great hall because the goddamn Playstation memory budgets wont allow the engine to put more than ten actors on the screen at any given time even though the rest. Or so the programmer is sadly telling you, and he doesnt have time to fix that problem because hes busy trying to make the game, you know, not crash when you press play. Which is a long-winded way of saying that game writing is largely about collaboration, and thats not something everyone thinks about. The team works together, and every department has their needs and is contributing their piece to the whole exactly the same as you are. The writers do not get everything they want all the time. Or maybe you think thats backwards and that writers should get to dictate to the rest of the team what their priorities are, because everything in a game should be subservient to the story. In which case i say that you should definitely be put in charge of the universe. That is not the case ever.
Wired for, story : The
What more could there be to it? Imagine how you think a story is created for, say, a novel. A writer series puts together the concept and quotations then crafts the story from a series of scenes — all centered around a protagonist who grows and moves through those scenes in a scripted fashion. The writer creates it from beginning to end, determining everything because the story is everything. The story is not everything in a video game.
Maybe this fact causes you to clutch your pearls in shock, but its true. A game writer has to bow to the requirements of gameplay and level design, as well as to the limitations of both technology and the schedule. Just because i can imagine the story taking a turn into a giant castle doesnt mean the art team wants to build said giant castle. It doesnt mean they have the time to build it on top of all the other levels even if they do want to build. Even if they do have time, it doesnt mean that design can fill up a giant castle level with everything else that needs to go along with it just so you can have a pretty backdrop to your precious conversation.
They make fewer decisions, but they write everything within the context provided. Perhaps they only write cutscenes, or they only write hints and journal entries. Games have a lot of text. Now, someones going to call me on this and say my definitions dont hold true at all studios, and that is absolutely correct. My examples are generally the case, but what youll find in game development is that there simply are no standards for what a particular job entails, and that goes double for designers of all stripes (which writers are still considered, even if theyre not officially. Sometimes a narrative designer is just called a writer, and sometimes a writer is called a narrative designer because that sounds cooler and thats just the way.
"One of those, please. I dont care which one.". I like the enthusiasm, miss Eager Pants, but lets not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? Second: What does a video game writer actually do? So whats so hard about writing a video game? You come up with the story then you write it! I just wrote a paragraph and its awesome, see how easy it is?
Game of Thrones, wikipedia
First: What kind of writer do you want to be? This is a more pertinent question than you think, as not all writing jobs in the industry are the same. The most complicated version is the narrative designer, which is a fancy way of saying "the person who shapes the games narrative, as well as the one who writes all the words.". Bioware has narrative designers because rpgs need people who will come up with the design for all the quests you need to do, who plan out the arcs for the characters and who figure out not just what the story of those things will. In fact, thats the best description in a nutshell: a narrative designer is about designing the player experience. A writer, then, is someone who isnt involved in the design, pdf or isnt as involved in the design, i should say, as theyre often asked to create a story inside the context of a design which has been provided to them. Thats still a kind of design if you want to split hairs. Lets say i give a writer the design for a quest. I tell them what its about, what the steps are and who the characters all are, and its then up to them to flesh it out from that point.
are not many full time writing positions available in the entire industry, and yet I suspect becoming a writer is near the top of the "most common dev job wanted" list. Its kind of crazy. Go be a level designer. Go be a gui artist. Now thats a dev job which offers some security. Im sure there are articles on becoming a game writer you could track down with google, but since people keep asking for my advice Ill give some. Itll be handy to have as a link the next time someone asks me this question anyhow, and I deleted the last article like this I wrote.
Writing doesnt get that, at least, so i should be thankful. We do get the people who have ideas, however. The ones who picture being a game writer as the one who gathers all the other developers into a room and pitches an outline which they will then fall in love with and go make, with the writers job being to make sure they keep. What youre picturing right now is a project Director. No, they dont hire people to do that. You have to work best in the industry for quite some time to get to that point, or start your own company. Short of that, youre going to have to work inside a box of a size which is smaller the further down the chain you reside.
The True, story
Do you want to write video games? Be honest with. I mean, i dont want to shoot down your dream. There are lots of people whove done the research, who know exactly what theyre getting into when they say this and who spend years earnestly pursuing their goal. There are also lots of people who like the notion of getting into game development but figure theyll never have any real skills like programming or art so this is their best bet. Folks in qa get that gender a lot, and let me tell you: they love. Qa has the added indignity of people wanting to get into the field for the express purpose of using it as a stepping stone to something else.