Pixars Brave


Video Game Writer


Writing for the Video Game Industry


In its infancy the video game industry did not have to rely on complex themes and stories for their games. Who can ever forget playing fun yet simple games such as Tetris or SuperMario Brothers on your consoles at home. These days are, however, long gone and considered a bygone era. A new age has settled upon us where the story and plot of a game is considered to be much more than just icing on a cake. It is what dazzles and catches our imagination as we sift through the many stages of our experience when playing a video game. Some are so convincing that we can hardly pause to take a much-needed break from playing; we are just too eager to find out what will happen next!

This dramatic change has made writing one of the most important elements in games right now. From comical themes to ones that are full of suspense and horror, a tremendous amount of effort is being poured into captivating gamers through adventures with outcomes you, the gamer, decide as you play the game. The complexity of creating such a diverse world for gamers to immerse themselves in, with the numerous possibilities of different endings, is the one big challenge in the industry today.

So if your thinking writing for video games is easy then think again. With an audience that is increasingly becoming older, the need for a good storyline has become a monumental task for industry leaders. It is this demand for complex writing that gives those with creative ideas and passion for writing an opportunity to shine. The natural love and familiarity with video games are much needed ingredients one must possess to be a great video game writer. So do not try to bring your talent into this industry if you are simply looking for work. Talent may go a long way but most video game writers are successful in this job because they enjoy the work they are doing.

Having a background in other professions such as science fiction and fantasy writing will give you an added advantage too. This will help you recognize the three important elements that are required for starting to write video games. These are the plot/setting, character development and the storyboard. Below you will find brief descriptions of each.

Plot/Setting
Creating the plot and setting of a video game is like making a storyline. You will identify the theme of the game, characters, and the general plot. Making an outline for this will be the most time consuming part of your tasks. This will give the game developers an idea of what you are trying to create for them and decide if they like it or not. If they do the nature of the game will from then on be solely in your hands, you will have the artistic freedom to do as you wish. You will also be in charge of establishing where full motion videos sequences will appear in areas of the game, this is to enhance the storyline and give a visual representation to the gamer of what is going on as the game progresses. Consider yourself to be the author of an interactive book with its many possible outcomes all left to your vivid imagination.

Character Development
Character development is essential in any storyline. I mean, who wants to play the role of someone who is mundane, boring and does not even evolve into something that can make your jaw drop down to the floor during the game. Giving special traits and abilities to characters plays an intrinsic part of this. A good background history can make your characters more appealing to gamers as well. During the game try to make your character as interactive as possible, dialogues with AI (artificial intelligence) characters in the game plays a great part in this. Offer choices during these interactions, which can put the gamer in, charge of his/hers characters destiny.

Remember that the more choices you open up for the players, the more they will be interested in playing the game over and over in order to find out what could have happened if they did this or that.

The Storyboard
Once the story line is developed and the character development is in place, it is time to create a set of storyboards. A storyboard is a collection of still drawings, words and technical instructions that describe each scene of the game. These still drawings are rough sketches done by the graphics department working with your coordination. It will include storyboards for the full motion video sequences that introduce the story and continue it between the periods of actual game play. Questions like how your characters will move, look and sound like in the game will be covered. The interactions between other characters in the game and their surroundings are also included. A brief explanation of every action should appear on each panel of the storyboard to interpret the sketches for everyone to read. The storyboard serves as your visual aide for writing the video game.

Therefore, these are some of the key elements you need to take note of if you are planning to become a writer for the video gaming industry. It is a job that many aspire for but also many fail at too. It is not an impossible task, yet it has its moments of difficulty and hardship. All you really need is a bright imagination and the guts to undergo grueling hours of work to create what could be the next hit in the gaming market.

To get the job try starting out small by writing articles and reviews for different video gaming magazines as a freelancer. Once they have taken notice of you and you have built up your list of contacts then you can work your way up to getting the job. Showing experience and a portfolio of achievements will augment your chances in this highly competitive market.

Now, if this is something you love to do and have fun doing then its time to give it a shot!


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