What does a games writer do?
Games writers think up the story of a game. While artists create the look of a monster, games writers give the monster a name, show how it became a monster and why it needs to be defeated.
Writing for games is a highly collaborative process. In most cases writers will be given a loose sequence of events and locations and be told to “make it work”. The story of a game is the result of many people and disciplines working together with conflicting needs and goals. The game will inevitably go through many stages of iteration and change – and most of it will be out of your control or influence. Writers will have to find a way to stitch it all together in the most efficient way possible so that the audience believes it was meant to be that way all along.
There’s another way in which writing for games is different from writing novels or writing for film. In games, the players contribute to the story through their interaction. Instead of telling the player a story, the writer invites a player to do things so they will understand the story.
What’s a games writer good at?
- Dramatic writing: write stories for interactive platforms, stories that don’t have a straightforward beginning, middle and end
- Characterisation: establish tone and distinct character voices consistent with the story world and the characters’ backgrounds, agendas, personalities and abilities
- Collaboration: work with designers and developers, receive feedback on stories and change them accordingly
- Knowledge of gameplay: understand how gameplay, engine capability and player journey, impact on the story
- Communication: be able to explain the story and write the supporting documentation