Game Design Tips and Trends How to Become a Game Writer By James Cortes | September 22, 2019 Are you passionate about video games? Are you a good storyteller? A career as a game writer is part researcher and part writer. If this sounds like what you are passionate about, becoming a game writer may be a good career for you. Video games were a $79 Billion dollar industry in 2017, according to WePC. The market for eSports in 2017 was $655 million. Just this year, a professional video gamer was awarded the biggest prize in gaming in the amount of $3 Million for winning a Fortnite competition, reports BBC. The creation of a video game entails the collaboration of many designers, programmers, artists, animators and writers. There are many different video game platforms to write for including PC, console, mobile and online. There are also various options for game writers to participate within the gaming industry. Consequently, you might be asking yourself, “What is Game Writing?” What is Game Writing? The game writer is responsible for creating the story of a video game. This story moves along the narrative within a video game. The game writer works with game designers to tell a story throughout the entire game from one level to the next. Game writing involves creating both the dialogue, the sub-story behind each character and the story of the game as a whole. A game writer starts out by researching the characters, story and genre to come up with an outline of what the overall story will be and how the characters fit into it. The game writer discusses their findings with other members of the team to coordinate the overall video game narrative. They continue the process by working with the voice over actors and director to perfect the narrative of the overall video game story. The final stage of the project is to proofread and work with the video game testers to make sure the final product is consistent with the project lead’s vision. What is Game Storytelling A game writer is tasked with coming up with a story that moves the characters and player along a narrative. It must keep a player interested so that they continue to play. The main parts of the story include the characters, the player’s agency and the dialogue. Characters are the most important element of any game. A player must identify with one or more of the characters. A game that has a wide variety of characters to choose from will bring in the widest audience. Many popular games allow players to either pick from a multitude of characters or allow that player to create their own persona within the game play. Characters need to advance the plot and are very important in the overall storytelling process. Player agency gives the player the ability to control the actions within the environment of the game. Many popular games will give the players an environment to work within and allow them to design the story through movement and character interaction. Some popular games have a set narrative that funnels a player through a story, allowing them to level up at different points within the story. However, many of the most popular games, including Fortnite, are multi-player games where the story and narrative is dictated by the players. The game writer and designer will come up with a framework and rules for the players to use but it is ultimately up to the players to create the narrative of the game’s story. What is Narrative Design? Many game players and game designers can agree that a game’s narrative can become the most important feature in the success of a game title. A successful game writer will create interactive and immersive game play. This includes subtle interactions with characters within the game environment, settings that create a world for the player to traverse, and dialogue that moves the storyline forward. Within games, the player interacts with the environment of the game and the player becomes a part of the story. The narrative must give the player a path that they can choose and not have them do things that they don’t want to do. When the player’s actions and decisions shape the game narrative each game experience becomes unique. Skills of a Successful Game Writer A game writer must have confidence as well as the ability to take constructive criticism and be humble. Although creativity is a large portion of the job, a game writer must continuously improve the game writing and storytelling until it is accurate and reflects the overall narrative of the video game. An ability to be flexible is important, as the game will evolve over the lifecycle of the game’s production. Other skills that make a game writer successful include problem solving skills. Confidence – a game writer must be confident in what they write and not allow others to divert the video game off-track. Everyone will have an opinion about what the characters should say and how the story unfolds. A successful game writer will compile everyone’s opinion and come up with the best collaborative story. Ability to Take Constructive Criticism – Listening to criticism about something that a game writer has put months, or even years, into can be hard to hear. A successful game writer is able to take constructive criticism from the team and work it into the story if it makes the story better. Being Humble – a game writer is important to any project, but they should not become over-confident or arrogant. Being humble allows the game production team to approach a game writer and offer constructive criticism that can take the video game to the next level. Creativity – imagination and original ideas are a large part of video game writing. With so many different games on the market, it is important for a game writer to make their game unique so that it stands out from the crowd. Flexibility for Continuous Improvement – Many video games go through multiple versions before they are complete and ready for the market. A successful game writer will understand this and be willing to work to continuously improve their product. In addition, the video game industry is always changing with new innovations, and a successful game writer will take the opportunity to gain new knowledge, and try new things to incorporate those innovations into their video game. Problem Solving – problems always arise, especially during the game writing process. A successful game writer can identify a problem and find the best solution to make the production better. Much of what a game writer does is important to the game title. They create the story that moves the narrative of the game along for the player. As a game writer, you are shaping the players experience and allowing them to become immersed within the game. Successful game writers understand this and use it to their advantage. They also understand that without players a game will not become successful. Did learning about how to become a game writer interest you? Today, the creative and financial success of major game releases increasingly depends upon the strength of the game's world, characters and story. University of Silicon Valley's new Bachelor’s in Game Design Art Game Writing degree concentration—one of only a few such programs in the world—was developed to empower and support aspiring writers and narrative designers who want to be a part of this bold new storytelling frontier. University of Silicon Valley is uniquely poised to offer a meaningful and valuable education for 21st century students. We believe in an education that directly correlates with the work you’ll be doing after you graduate. Interested in learning more? Contact Us today.