[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.