Many video games have deep storylines. This has been the case since the early text adventures where creative writing was all that existed to keep a player engaged in the game. I believe that some stories are better served by this interactive medium rather than say a novelization or a movie script and I'd love to give it a try, but without having any contacts in that industry or real experience working in that medium, I was wondering what it takes to get started? Find or start an open source game project? Send some kind of treatment to an established game publisher or developer?
Here are some resources you might be interested in: Writing for the Gaming Industry The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design– dividedNov 19, 2010 at 17:23
Conveniently, this was just addressed in a post at Tor.com: Breaking Into Video Game Writing– JSBձոգչDec 3, 2010 at 15:35
My first advice is -- don't. There's an attitude in the gaming industry that working on games is so cool they shouldn't have to pay you a fair wage. Working conditions in the game industry tend to lag behind other sectors. Salaries for graphic artists and coders in the game industry are about 1/3 of what those same people would make in any other sector, and I suspect it is the same for writers.
If you must get into the game industry, though, find a company with a history of treating its people fairly, and that use an open-source engine under their games. The business argument for a company to use an open-source engine is persuasive, but for you as a writer the biggest difference is in corporate culture and willingness to give you a fair shake.
Once you've figured out who you want to work with, put together a proposal, send it in, and cross your fingers.
7This guy is totally right. We'd never hire a writer and pay them a real wage. Plus, writing for the game is the fun part, and developers will do that for free. Sad but true. Nov 19, 2010 at 18:01
2I have to agree with @John ... If you honestly wanted to write for video games, you're better as a developer/designer, since writers are rarely hired for more than a short contract.– daestwenNov 20, 2010 at 5:37
Bioware had a contest several years ago to hire a writer. Certainly not an appealing way to go about applying for a job, but that contest did leave behind some potentially useful tips for what sort of writing game companies might be looking for, eg:
Some additional guidelines to keep in mind:
- Dialogue should be no longer than 2-3 lines at a time.
- The dialogue must be fun, easy to read, and not overly verbose.
- We will also be judging the structure of your dialogue. Does the
dialogue flow logically? Does the player feel in control of the conversation?
- Avoid dialogue where the player has very little interaction. The player should feel that he is talking to an NPC, not being talked at.
- Avoid modern sounding dialogue. Do not use modern anachronisms or slang. Fantasy characters shouldn't sound like they come from the 21st century.
- Make the first character interesting. The first character the player talks to sets the tone for the entire module.
Creating a Neverwinter Nights module would definitely be something you could do in order to get a feel for the flow of writing if you want to get involved in writing for RPGs.