Writing for Computer Games

When we think of “writers”, we tend to think of figures hunched over a typewriter or computerSONY DSC keyboard, spewing out great works:  novels, short stories, maybe even magazine or newspaper articles.  But writers are more diverse than that.  Many organizations employ and many disciplines need writers, but we often don’t think of how often or how deeply they are entrenched in the things we do, the things we see, the things that make our environment what it is.

Sometimes writers don’t even know that they are going to be writers!  In this engaging essay, first posted on Writers’ Rumpus, a website for and about authors and illustrators “wild about kids’ lit”, writer Almitra Clay shared what it was like to write for computer games.  She shares:

Here’s how writing for a big game at a big company is most likely to pan out. Somebody near the top of the company hierarchy decides on the overall theme of the game. The overall story, the overall objective, the overall fun. The Intellectual Property. Sometimes that “IP” is created in-house; sometimes it is brought in from elsewhere, such as when a company makes a game based on Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland or what have you. Writers are then needed to craft elements of the game within that framework: the story arc of a game expansion or a specific dungeon, the narrator voice-overs, the screenplay of cut-scenes, the endless lines of non-player character dialog. But these writers aren’t likely to have the job title of “writer.”

Ms. Clay then goes on to tell of her own personal experience in the gaming industry.  It’s an interesting read; head on over to Writers’ Rumpus for the whole article.  And the next time you boot up Halo, Grand Theft Auto, Dragon Age: Inquisition or Dungeons and Dragons Online, don’t forget the writers behind the scenes who help make it fun!

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