Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
July 30, 2014
arrowPress Releases
July 30, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


 
The Gamasutra 20: Top Game Writers

February 20, 2009 Article Start Page 1 of 21 Next
 

[Continuing the 'Gamasutra 20' series, the editors of Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine are proud to name and profile a score of the world's top game writers and story crafters, from Levine to Schafer and far beyond.]

Often overlooked as a crucial part of the development process, writers are the unsung creative heroes of the video game industry. Combining their knowledge of the written word with a knack for the interactive, game writers fill a space that's integral to the artistic future of games, and yet still very loosely defined.

There is no one typical experience for a game writer. Everyone does things a little differently. Some focus on dialogue, some on story arcs, some on character development. Some have complete control over the path of a game, while others are brought in to consult on and add to a project already underway.

However, there is one thing all game writers have in common: they help inject a hint of the real -- of the believable and the personal -- to an unreal environment. They're craftspeople of the new fiction.

This list, made up of those we consider to be 20 of the top game writers working in the industry today, is by no means an exhaustive account of all the writers who have or are currently breaking ground in the field. The list is also not ranked, and only includes writers with recent, predominantly 'published or prominent in the last 12-18 months' work in the game industry - it's not meant to be an 'all-time' best list.

With that said, we have made a conscious effort to include writers from around the world -- including North America, Europe, and Japan -- as well as those whose work falls in very different genres and who come from a variety of experience backgrounds.

In addition to information about their work, the way they approach game writing, and what makes them stand out from the crowd, we've also provided you with commentary from the Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine staff on what makes each of these game writers great.


Article Start Page 1 of 21 Next

Related Jobs

Firaxis Games
Firaxis Games — Sparks, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
[07.30.14]

Senior Visual Effects Artist
Nordeus
Nordeus — Belgrade, Serbia
[07.30.14]

Senior Game Designer
2K
2K — Novato, California, United States
[07.29.14]

Level Architect
Respawn Entertainment
Respawn Entertainment — San Fernando Valley, California, United States
[07.29.14]

Senior Systems Designer






Comments


Karim Anani
profile image
What about Dave Grossman? He was the colleague of Tim Schafer, worked on Monkey Island 1+2, Day of the Tentacle, the new Sam and Max games and Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People. The guy isn't just good, he's astounding. These are all worthy writers, but you ARE missing half the Day of the Tentacle writing staff you know.

Christopher Broom
profile image
A great list of writers, all deserving to be where they are now and as an aspiring writer myself it these folks that keep my pen to the paper, so to speak.

Michael Kelly
profile image
I was always a fan of Ragnar Tornquist's work. The Longest Journey, Dreamfall, etc. Really vivid worlds and incredibly sympathetic characters. A fantastic storyteller all around.

Susan O'Connor
profile image
I am extremely grateful to Gamasutra for taking the time to honor game writers for their work. I am a fan of so many writers on this list...wow.



In addition, I'd like to nominate Rhianna Pratchett...she's doing fantastic work and IMO deserves the recognition.

Drew Karpyshyn
profile image
I'm deeply honored to be recognized by Gamasutra for my work, and it's a thrill to see my name included with so many industry legends.



However I also feel I should point out that BioWare games are written by teams of 4-6 talented men and women.



As the lead writer, I tend to be the one who gets the credit, but honestly we have a dozen great writers on staff at BioWare and we couldn't create our great narrative driven games without the contributions of the entire team.



So, on behalf of all the writers at BioWare thank you for this honor.

Tony Evans
profile image
Congratulations to Chris Avellone! I've never worked with a better writer - and he's modest too.

Paul Lazenby
profile image
"O'Connor's approach to writing is to create believability, in the most unbelievable of situations."

Uh, No offense, but to compare the writing in Gears to, well, any other game here is like throwing a typical porn script in the WDGA Noms.

Seriously, games like Gears, as addictive as their gameplay may be, set our industry back 10 years when looking at the quality of the writing.

I think you'll find many critics and most non-gamers would agree.

Susan O'Connor
profile image
Hi Rob,



Well I'm probably not being nominated for the Gears work, but for my body of work as a whole. Each project makes distinct demands on the writer. In the case of Gears, the story was not striving for gritty realism, but escapist fantasy, and on that level it delivered. I don't know if you're calling out the cinematics (which I wrote, based on Epic's story) or the in-game barks (which were written by other people on the team), but in either case, you're definitely entitled to your opinion. I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to work with the guys at Epic, they're an incredible group of guys. Like I said, different projects have different priorities.



And I second the congratulations to Chris Avellone, and all the writers on the list.

Bobby Stein
profile image
This was a refreshing article. Writing in games is a slowly-evolving beast, but it's due to the efforts of people like these (and a host of unnamed ones) that are bringing our medium to the forefront. Congratulations to all.

Brian Bartram
profile image
Every line of dialogue that Tom Abernathy wrote for Saboteur was ripped out of the game. He must know somebody at Gamasutra to have made it on this list.

Brian Bartram
profile image
That was a bit harsh, but for real, he can't take credit for the writing in Saboteur... nothing of his contribution remains.

Michael Webb
profile image
Rob,



Although Gears may not win any awards for its writing, to say that it sets back the industry 10 years is a bit harsh. Personally I thought the scene with Dom and his wife Maria was one of the most emotional cinematics that I have seen in a game and would like to congratulate Susan on her writing for that scene.

It was especially refreshing to see in a game where the focus is not on narrative. By putting quality scenes in games that are not normally story driven is in my opinion helping the industry, not setting it back.

Tom Abernathy
profile image
Like the folks above, I also want to say that a) I'm humbled to be in the company of such terrific writers, and b) there are dozens of other great game writers who could just as justifiably have been listed here (some of them in my own office bloc).



Regarding Brian Bartram's comments: You seem to be under some mistaken impressions. Allow me to clarify.



I was the lead writer on "Saboteur" for three years, and in that capacity worked with some brilliant people to create what we all believe is a fantastic original IP, its characters, a fleshed-out world, a tone, an extensive game structure, dozens of missions, etc. (Those comprise a big part of a writer's job, especially when the writer is involved early in the process.) I also did a couple of drafts of a cinematic script, many drafts of mission dialogue, and some in-game chatter, as well as helping to mold many of the presentations and materials that got the project repeatedly (and successfully) greenlighted at various stages. (A significant amount of dialogue, it should be noted, was also written by Armand Constantine, a terrific writer who could also easily have appeared on this list.)



At the end of those three years, I chose to leave Los Angeles for personal reasons that had nothing to do with Pandemic or "Saboteur." Subsequent to that, decisions were made to alter the story in ways which made my cinematic script obsolete, due to the iteration that happens repeatedly in the process of developing a game story over four-plus years. (If I hadn't left, I'd have been the one making the changes.) The missions, meanwhile, got revised/cut/transformed over and over as missions do.



So it's quite true that the cinematic script is no longer the one I wrote; it couldn't possibly be. As far as the in-game chatter, I'm not sure that's totally true, but regardless I know Armand continued to do fine work for them, ably picking up the torch I had passed to him.



Regardless, I am not the writer of record on "Saboteur" -- at this point that would be Brad Santos -- and have not taken, nor would take, credit for being so. I am proud and pleased, however, to have played a role in its creation and development, and I hope it rocks. The team deserves every success.



I hope that makes sense, and I hope they find whoever it was who shot your dog.

Rhianna Pratchett
profile image
Thank you for your kind words, Susan. Congratulations to all those on the list. I'd like to second Ragnar, as well, and also draw attention to the fact that the list is very short on Europeans. Okay, Houser is a Brit (and great) but has lived in the US for over a decade. There's a lot of strong writing talent this side of the pond - Ragnar (of course), Andrew Walsh (PoP), James Swallow (Deus Ex), the Starbreeze guys, Steve Ince (Broken Sword series), Tom Jubert (Prenumbra series), Martin Korda (The Movies, B&W 2), James Leach (Fable, B&W). I'm certainly proud to be not included with these fine fellows, but it would be nice to see more of a world-wide cross section.

Colin McComb
profile image
I'll second Tony Evans's statements regarding Chris Avellone. I'm absolutely delighted - but not at all surprised - to see him at the top of this list, and I'm happy to see him getting the recognition he deserves for the quality of his writing.

Justin Keverne
profile image
So Eric and no Chet?

Simon Carless
profile image
Rhianna: as you may or may not know, I run Gamasutra but am British of descent, and actually worked in the UK industry for a while (at Kuju), so I think that we're very aware of the European scene.



Also, some of the people you mention haven't worked on particularly recent titles - for example, we love Ragnar, but his last game was released in 2006 and we've heard very little about the new one.



Choices are never scientific, but we tried not to make this an 'all-time' list - otherwise we'd be picking Steve Meretzky and all kinds of other great writers.

Rhianna Pratchett
profile image
It's great you're aware of the European scene, Simon. It's just not represented on this list. I wasn't suggesting that it should be an 'all-time' list, just that it be a bit more world-wide in its scope. Most of the writers I mentioned have released a game in the last couple of years. Sure, with Ragnar, Dreamfall was 2006 (although he's hard at work on other stuff) but then again Destroy all Humans and Destroy all Humans 2 were 2005 and 2006 and Saboteur isn't out yet.



Not disparaging the work of any writers here, but it would be great for future iterations of a list like this to maybe broaden the scope of recognition.

Rhianna Pratchett
profile image
Re: My previous post. I did not mean to single Tom out in negative way. His games are great and he most certainly deserves to be on the list. It was merely a comment on the fact that there are writers with 'last' games on this list that have come out as far back as Ragnar's last. The games in question, including titles like Psychonauts, are still fantastic games. A great narrative is a great narrative. And I have nothing but admiration, beer and cake for the writers involved.

Adam Bishop
profile image
I'd like to say that I also feel as though Ragnar Tornquist would have been an excellent suggestion for this list. His writing is engaging, emotionally resonant, and perhaps most importantly *believeable*, which is something that isn't true of the writing in very many games. That being said, I think the fact that he's been mentioned several times in the comments points to the fact that Ragnar is actually well recognised amongst people who are interested in video game writing.

Simon Carless
profile image
Well, the good news is that we are doing that follow-up news story, so we'll mention everyone's comments there :)

Huck Terrister
profile image
Yeeeah, this should have been the list of Top 3 or 4 video game writers, otherwise you're padding it out with tons of offal

Simon Ferrari
profile image
Although it's a day late or so, I'd like to revisit Rob's comment about Susan O'Connor's work.



I don't pay enough attention to writing credits, so I was surprised to find that the same person had written Gears, Farcry 2, and Bioshock. And while I somewhat agree with Rob's sentiment (even for escapism, I can't really find much to like about the writing in Gears - scenes such as the one with Dom's wife are about as formulaic as the shot-reverse shot these days), I definitely think that Susan deserved the nod for her body of work.



For me, her biggest strength is not believability but subtle intertextuality. In contrast, look at a game like CoD: World at War - the story is great fun, because so many set pieces have been hijacked wholesale from movies (who knew so many people liked Enemy at the Gates?).



But Susan's work on Farcry 2 and Bioshock goes well beyond this, weaving bits and pieces from numerous literary sources into something all her own. The subverting of Rand at every turn in Bioshock was miles ahead of its Shyamalan-like plot twists, and no matter how many times you had to read Heart of Darkness in high school you couldn't have predicted the Jackal's motivations toward the end of FC2. Both of these are the only games in recent memory where I actually wanted to listen to the audio logs (though maybe we should be moving past this... people write notes and make YouTube videos all the time, but only doctors and lawyers make audio logs).



For me, Drew's work on Mass Effect represents a happy medium as far as subtlety in intertextuality goes. The story of the Reapers diverges enough from its Alien vs. Predator roots to still be engaging and unique. And I think it goes without saying that KoTOR's writing is the undisputed nerd gamer favorite. His gracious thanks and commentary against the "auteur theory" approach of this piece are also quite awesome.

Andrew Leeke
profile image
Rhianna does have a point about the lack of Europeans on the list, most notable of all for me being herself. Overlord was fantastically funny and extremely well written, and without question stands head and shoulders above quite a few of the games mentioned here.



Andrew Walsh is another name Iíd expect to see on a list like this. Prince of Persia is excellent, and is a great example of interactive storytelling that allows the player a high degree of freedom. Personally, facing these challenges of interactivity in a linear story if far more impressive than just writing some cut scenes to avoid it. POP is a great example of where storytelling in games can break from tradition.



There are some really great writers outside of the US and Japan, and yes thereís one or two on the list, but it does seem like the majority have been ignored a little.



And also, I donít really understand the relevance of the age of a game is to this list. 2006 is still Ďrecentí in my eyes, and shouldnít be reason enough to keep Ragnar Tornquist off the list.

Justin Keverne
profile image
Itís great to see writers getting the recognition they deserve and again I donít mean to criticise the work of anybody on the list itís just difficult in some cases to see exactly what some people are being praised for.



To an outside observer the selection of individuals can seem a little strange. Specific mention is made of Susan O'Connor's role in Far Cry 2 and BioShock but then both Patrick Redding and Ken Levine are also included.



I guess specifically when it comes to Susan OíConnor she is spoken of highly by those whom she works with yet it can often be difficult to judge exactly what role she played in the titles she works on. Therefore it can seem odd to have two people specifically picked out for the same game for what appear to be very similar reasons.

Sande Chen
profile image
As a comment to Michael Webb, isn't that scene with Dom and Maria in Gears of War 2? Then that would be Josh Ortega.



Christy Marx (who btw is one of those writers who could have been on this list, but I guess her work is in stealth mode right now) made an insightful comment on the IGDA Writers SIG mailing list in response to this article -- that there's a difference between writing and storytelling. This list seems to combine the two. Did all of these people write dialog or did they own the vision? Some people do both well and others, like freelancers, do not have the opportunity to decide the story but do have free rein as to the exact dialog in cut scenes. So what are you judging -- the story or the witty dialog?



If this is the case, in regards to writing teams, as Drew Karpyshyn alluded, who do you honor? Is it a team effort or just the vision of a Lead Writer who came up with the story and then delegated?



@Justin Keverne

This is precisely why Hollywood has credits that specifically spell out a person's role. Story By credit is not the same as Written By credit.



That being said, I echo the sentiment that it's great to see an article about game writing on Gamasutra. Congratulations to everyone who was profiled!

Bobby Stein
profile image
Sande brings up some very good points. Depending on a development team's structure, the writers are brought in to fill different roles.



I believe Ken Levine was credited with BioShock because, as the lead designer, he drove the overall vision which included gameplay and story.



Regarding Ms. O'Connor's contribution, the game design was likely solidified by the time she was contracted to polish it, so her role was probably to collaborate with the dev team to make the story work within the given context, as well as clean up the NPC dialogue to conform to character voice and motivation.



These are just my educated guesses, as I'm sure either Ms. O'Connor or Mr. Levine could confirm or deny. It's also worth noting that some games which rely heavily on story sometimes sacrifice gameplay. The real achievements are the games that manage to strike a balance that satisfies both elements.

Quintin Schnehage
profile image
I'd like to put in a mention for Michael Kirkbride, the concept designer for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Kirkbride, together with Ken Rolston and Kurt Kuhlmann, brought a unique and incredibly atmospheric world into creation, but in my humble opinion, Kirkbride was the visionary responsible for breathing life into it.



His weird and wonderful concepts, knowledge of myths, religions and philosophies, and his incredibly writing skill gave the Elder Scrolls universe a charm and a depth that I have never seen in another video game world.

Simon Ferrari
profile image
@ Quintin:



Agreed, Morrowind is definitely the only game where I actively sought out obscure manuscripts to read. I remember spending hours scouring dungeons for notes, trying to figure out if I could somehow replicate the ritual used to become a god. Whoever (Kirkbride?) designed the documents in that game was a genius. Oblivion's manuscripts on the Daedric realms just flat-out frustrated me, on the other hand.

Sande Chen
profile image
As general advice for Top 20 articles -- Usually, if you look at such articles for the Top 10 Business Schools or even say the TR35, it's based on empirical data or a peer panel or a nomination period.

James Cooley
profile image
It was nice to see Marc Laidlaw get his due. The original Half-Life was a stunner that worked because it had a literary depth to it. It felt like I was in a sci-fi movie and had great pacing to it. Half-Life 2 followed up on it beautifully and had the courage to NOT be a replay of the original. The twists at the end of HL2, Episode 2 mark a game and a writer not afraid to take risks.



My vote for the best written game I have ever played is Deus Ex. It had more brain food, irony, depth, humor, and subtle aspects than anything I have seen before or since. Some were so small as to be easily missed, like discovering through a monk's journal that Gunther, the half-metal man who hunts you, cried over the loss of Agent Navarre. One of the only pieces of human flesh left in him was his heart, and you broke it.



I also think the Sander Cohen level from Bioshock is one of the best-written segments in any game. Funny, scary, disturbing, and wickedly entertaining, it borrowed from the Phantom of the Opera and put it under the sea in a utopia gone bad.

Curtis Bryan
profile image
Wow. This is one of the most insightful, resourceful, and enjoyable articles I've read on Gamasutra in a while. I've played many of the games mentioned. Games like Metal Gear Solid, Bioshock, Psychonauts, Braid, and the God of War series stand out as ones that changed the way I personally look at games. (It was MGS that made me want to create games in the first place). Kudos to these writers for actually thinking outside the game box when crafting their words and worlds. It gives me hope for the future.

Devraj Pandey
profile image
There are indeed a lot of good writers on this list, but I think the writers behind GrassHopper Manufacture (Goichi Suda-san I presume) as well as the fine writers behind Ico & Shadow of the Colossus deserve a place on this list

Albert Bentall
profile image
Having seen the several comments posted by the writers mentioned in this article and by others who clearly have valuable inside knowledge on the subject. Can I ask them to offer any advice to an aspiring short film and theatre writer/director who is trying to break in to the games industry with the aim of writing for games. For example is there any good reading material to look at? Is there anywhere I can find specific job advertisements? What advice can you offer on examples of work which can be most informative to a potential employer? Are there any UK/Europe based companies that offer junior writer/internship schemes?



Any help would be hugely appreciated. There seems to be a shortage of advice for aspiring game writers, and when it is so clearly a vital role to game development I am surprised there is not more demand for new minds and their much-needed talents.

Christopher Broom
profile image
@Albert



While I don't really have much AAA advice to share with you, I have done several pieces of contracted work in the industry and your best bet is to keep writing. Sounds simple doesn't it? Well it's true, write everything from poetry to scripts, short stories, essay's, anything that shows your unique talent and than attempt to get published. Even if you're only getting published in small online Ezines, it shows a willingness & a passion for the art. That will get your noticed when you begin sending in resumes.

Douglas Furen
profile image
Very good list!



As a newly hatched game writer I find this list both inspiring and appreciative - and about frickiní time! Only criticism I could possible hurl at his just list would be that it culminated at Chris Avellone Ė the first name.

Shawn Yates
profile image
Great list, its good to see these talented writers get some recognition in an excellently written article. Great writers help produce some of the best games and that's definitely not a coincidence.

Quintin Schnehage
profile image
@ Simon:



I agree. Getting a bit off topic here... but Oblivion's writing being a frustration was possibly because Kirkbride was no longer officially working for BethSoft during Oblivion's development. He wrote a couple of things (Commentaries on the Mysterium Xarxes, some of Mankar Camoran's dialogue), but he wasn't really in on the design aspect - tying it all together, in other words. You'll also notice a marked difference in the design of Oblivion and The Shivering Isles, which was written by Kurt Kuhlmann.



I'd personally like to see a fantasy game with a greater emphasis on story, narrative, and deeper meaning. Reading between the lines in the Elder Scrolls mythos you can find references to concepts in Buddhism, Gnosticism, Jungian philosophy and modern Campbellian anthropology. This is why I loved Morrowind so much - I could derive far more worth and meaning from it than, say, Neverwinter Nights.



Let me say that I'm glad Mark Laidlaw got a mention, too - Half Life 2's writing team in particular did so much to inject meaning and narrative into a game with a silent protagonist... usually an obstacle to character development. HL2 had one of the best stories in a game in recent years, despite the protagonist not having an objective character.

Simon Carless
profile image
Sande, we did do some behind the scenes consulting with folks in the game writing profession on this list, but not sufficient to make it a major part of our preamble. There are other charts that we or Game Developer do where we do a lot more complex analysis, eg Top 20 Publishers, but we felt like writing was self-contained enough that we might use advisers and do it more informally. YMMV, of course!

hosik kim
profile image
Congratulations to all! I'm a game writer in Korea. I'm sorry there is no game writer in Korea. Korea's game studios rarely have game writers and make online games(especially MMORPG) too much. Online games are hard to have good stories and writers are hard to put good stories in it. I hope we have one of Top Game Writers in Korea some day.

Isaiah Williams
profile image
While I would agree that the story in Gears of War is rather generic and fails to resolve in a satisfying way, the writing is quite solid in terms of developing characters in a minimal amount of dialogue while keeping the plot moving. I especially want to note Baird, as someone who goes through a complete character arc as a secondary character and with a fairly small amount of dialogue.

Stefan Novak
profile image
Nice feature. Yeah, I have a nomination for the follow-up: the Gyakuten Saiban/Phoenix Wright/Apollo Justice writer(s). Whoever this illusive man/group of men is/are. You're professionals here at Gamasutra; you can find out.



Phoenix Wright pretty much blows every game listed here out of the water in terms of writing. The writing is the game there. Not the writing in whatever programming language; not the mathematical writing that makes the physics engine.



That deserves special mention.



Basically it's sweet, sweet, bubbly pop writing suited for a highly creative TV drama with mainstream audience, blended with supernatural elements typical of comics/manga/teenage novels, and topped off with serious thrills and suspense. It works like gangbusters.



. . .



Literally, actually; from the urban dictionary: "Gang Busters was a famous radio program that was first heard in 1936 and aired until 1957. The sound effects of police sirens, tommyguns, and screeching tires that opened the show were dramatic and exciting -- this inspired the expression 'coming on like gangbusters'."



So yeah, Phoenix Wright. Illustrated Interactive Reading Book with Audio. Man, the things you gotta do these days to make reading NOT boring...

Susan O'Connor
profile image
@Albert



Great question. It's one I asked myself, when I was starting out. I'm working on a blog post on just that topic, it'll be up in a few days. I hope it helps; the more writers we have in the industry, the better.



Thanks for everyone (esp Simon) for the kind comments.



@Justin: you are right! The same writer will find herself playing different roles on different teams. The one constant is this: game writing is a team effort. It always involves more than one person, even if only one individual is named as the writer. We are still developing terminology to describe what it is we do (exhibit A: narrative designer). Takes a freaking village.



@ Isaiah Williams: Ha! Thank you. Guess what: Baird was my favorite. :)

Gonzalo Daniel
profile image
I don`t know about you guys, bit I think Chris Metzen deserves a little mention at least. I know his work can only be seen as blockbuster, but his stories have 2 o 3 times the fanbase than the ones mentioned here.



Besides that, great article! Tim Schafer, king of the hill!!

Tom Abernathy
profile image
@Albert --



In addition to the excellent advice above, I'd recommend getting a job for a least a short time as a tester. It gives you a tremendous insight into the way the development process works and educates you quickly about some of the more technically-oriented stuff that many writers have no experience with. There are a lot of writers who either know games or know how to write; knowing both is a big advantage not just in getting a job but in doing it well once you've got it. (And if you do work as a tester, hang in there. My six months in the Activision dungeon were indescribably painful but also invaluable. :P)

Chris Proctor
profile image
It's a shame Toys for Bob hasn't released a game with renowned writing lately - for my money Star Control II equals the best writing of any game I've played (right alongside The Secret of Monkey Island and Planescape: Torment).

Simon Ferrari
profile image
@ hosik kim:



You bring up a really great point. Although there's probably some really great stuff going on in Korean and Chinese MMOs, there are so few of us English speakers who've taken the leap to become proficient in Korean or Chinese (if you're an American student who like games, you're much more likely to learn Japanese in college).



I agree with you that it is probably by far the most difficult game writing goal to be able to create an engaging narrative for an MMO, which is all the more reason why perhaps this genre should get its own list (I'm sure there would be a few Korean MMOs on it). Hell, even Blizzard's writing team has its ups and its downs.



Don't let our ignorance get in your way... get together with the other writers you know in Korea and come up with a Top 20 for yourself!

Arjun Nair
profile image
Interactive Fiction writing seems to have been totally ignored. Writers like Emily Short, Adam Cadre, Andrew Plotkin, Ian Finley and others perhaps deserve some consideration too as top "game writers". My two cents.

Albert Bentall
profile image
Thanks for the positive and informative responses, regarding advice for newcomers to the Ďgame writingí scene. Iím relieved that nobody has turned around and said Ďgive up now!í.



So I guess Iím on the right track, Iíll continue to concentrate on my personal work, and stick with the testing for a few more months, even though it does sometimes feel dangerously mind numbing. Tom you must be a little bit psychic I think.



Susan, itís great that you are trying to address the issue of support for new writers and I am very excited about reading the blog you mentioned, perhaps you could put a link up for us.



Many thanks

D. Omaha Sternberg
profile image
This is a great, though not exhaustive, list of writers. I, too, am very happy to see the art of game writing seeing some exposure. It's a part of the industry that sadly doesn't get a lot.



Among other things, I host/produce the DigiPen Institute's official podcast, and our March podcast is actually about game writing. So this article was actually quite timely. If any writers would like to participate in the podcast, I'd love to hear from them. The basic idea is to explore game writing/narrative from the career perspective...what is a game writer, and what do you need to know/do to become one.

D. Omaha Sternberg
profile image
I just got told that DigiPen didn't put up the podcast's email address when they relaunched their website redesign recently. Oops. If you are interested in the above mentioned interviews, you can get me at omaha(at)soundpodcastpro(dot)com. Thanks.

Jehanzeb Hasan
profile image
I'm a little late but I'd also like to include Daniel VŠvra who was the writer behind MAFIA, without a doubt, one of the greatest story-based, character-driven games around.

Georgina Bensley
profile image
I find it interesting that while a couple of women did make this list, apparently neither of them is actually employed on a full-time basis by a games company. Rhianna is freelance as well, yes? Could be a complete coincidence, with such a small sample to draw from, but I'm curious.

Sande Chen
profile image
@ Georgina



I also maintain a blog on Women's issues in the game industry... AFAIK, percentage-wise, there's actually more women in game writing than in the other game development disciplines.

Arthur Protasio
profile image
I'd like to pay my respects to all the writers mentioned...and those who weren't. Industry notables or not, the act of writing and telling stories is most likely a passion that drives us and to be able to live and attain success through it is the dream of many.



Though "writing by" and "story by" credits do not mean the same, both of them deserve respect and involve a great deal of crafting words and ideas. As an aspiring writer and game designer I know the effort that goes into scribbling every letter and through it I plan on also becoming a professional.



A lot of motivation in one's career comes through the advice and knowledge shared by the experts. In that sense, I am thankful and encourage more comments through writing peers and professionals like Susan O'Connor, Drew Karpyshyn, Tom Abernathy, and Rhianna Pratchett among others. It is not because I am a fan of titles such as Mass Effect, Bioshock, and Mirror's Edge, but because examples like Sternberg's participation also deepen the notion that we are all one big community.



Lastly, I can say I'm eager to read Susan's blog post with more advice, specifically relating to Albert's question. Though all career doubts will never be truly cleared, it is through this collaborative motion that our strengths and confidence are maximized.



Best regards to all who commented,

Andrew Walsh
profile image
Late to the party, but it was extremely nice to find that my name had been mentioned in this company and I would like to second the other names above.



Games writing is an evolving profession with an everchanging skill set. It was great of Gamasutra to recognise the field in this way. Praise to all who take on its challenge. Narrative wranglers and wordsmiths everywhere. I salute you!

William Szegedi
profile image
And what about Sheldon Pacotti? The writer of the Deus Ex games. He did a brilliant job with them. And Terri Brosius, writer of Thief: Deadly Shadows and other ex Looking Glass and Ion Storm devs... I think it's a big mistake leaving them out and having the writer for Far Cry 2 for example...

Tim Clague
profile image
Any plans to a new list this year?

Haw Yann Seow
profile image
Hmm, I was hoping someone would at least bring up Amy Hennig's name, if only because I really enjoyed the epic tale she spun in the Legacy Of Kain series.



@Stefan Novak: I agree about the PW series, I've played all 5 games and twice at least for the first 4 :)

Jesse Long
profile image
Hello. My name is Jesse Long and I am looking forward to break into the video game industry in the terms of writing. Sadly, I know of no one that writes for video games in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota) and I would like to have a mentor of sorts that would help me navigate the minefield of college and to help me learn which classes to take and to also set up some further resources to help me with furthering my craft. Is anyone willing to take the time to help me out here? Thank you.


none
 
Comment: