Writing In Video Games

Something I’ve been interested in for a long time is writing for an actual video game. What prompted me to go out and pursue this recently was an opportunity that I saw; not one that I could take advantage of now, but one that maybe I could be lucky enough to grab in the future. That opportunity was seeing a job opening in BioWare, a department picked up by EA Games dedicated to creating brilliant RPGs and the like. If I was maybe 10 years older, it would have been a dream come true… but lacking the age and experience needed to even interest such a company, it’s something I need to pass on for now.

Just to give you a bit more perspective, they were asking for a minimum of 5 years writing experience in a similar environment (writing and developing stories behind video games), in addition to university education. While I believe I write¬†very good for my age (remember guys, I only just graduated high school this year), I’m in no way shape or form ready to take on such a task.

However, it solidified my desire to pursue something other than novel writing, and that’s why starting yesterday, I started seeking work writing for video games. I picked up a gig several months ago where I was supposed to write the story for a fantasy rpg, but it kind of fell apart. Well, fell apart in the sense that after the guy said he wanted me on their team he disappeared. ūüė• Today I got in contact with two different people managing two different projects, one very interested in having me write for them. So maybe it something comes of it in the near future, I’ll be taking a step in that direction that I can tell you guys about.

I’d like to talk a bit more about my experience with that fantasy rpg I just mentioned. While I didn’t get too far into any of the work involved in that project, it was the beginning of a whole new era of writing for me. I opened myself up to the world of script writing (something I had little interest in before), and to the world of¬†real world development. When you’re designing a world for a novel, you only have to see it well enough to write your readers into it. You have narrative readily available to throw your readers into the story, but that’s completely gone in video games. Instead of you writing and describing everything that happens around the reader, the reader is instead a player, and is experiencing the world as the artists pictured it, and it’s your job to reflect that world in the characters.

A video game I finished recently is¬†Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I highly recommend it if you like¬†diverse combat, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss today. I picked up the game because my boyfriend said I should try it, and he reinforced this fact by supplying me with the information that one of my favourite fantasy authors, R.A. Salvatore, wrote the story for the game.¬†Here’s an article with an interview with R.A. Salvatore¬†regarding his involvement in the game.

What I’ve so far learned about writing for video games is that it’s nothing like writing a novel. You need to show¬†the player the world you’ve spent so long building in a completely different way. Each and every character within the game, whether it be a simple farmer or a merchant is significant. Your story affects everyone, everyone the player touches, and everything that you, the writer, have yet to touch on yourself.

What are your thoughts on the stories behind video games, the writing that is involved in it? Have any of you ever written for a video game before (be it dialogue, quests, or developing an actual story)?

~Erynn

 

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