In the war to have games become a more accepted part of our culture, there is perhaps no more important battle than those who write scripts to games be viewed on equal standing with screenwriters, novelists and journalists. A videogame can be an unparalleled platform for in-depth storytelling, and it needs a great writer to help it get there.
The Irish Times has a great feature on screenwriters who have crossed over to writing games, which highlights the unique challenge of writing for the medium:
“It reflects the interactive nature of games,” says Cameron Christian, senior designer for Resistance 3 . “Books and movies are one-way [conversations] but, since we’re about interaction, that carries over into our community relationships.”
Indeed, it’s a reflection of game development in general. Every step is collaborative, even the traditionally solitary role of writer. “With a film,” says Paquette, “when you write a script, that script is a finished product and people treat it as bible for production. They take it to the set and try to make it come to life. A game is a more organic process it evolves because you have to play it [as you develop it] to get a feel for what’s fun. ‘Fun’ is very difficult to pin down. That’s why, when you’re making a game, you’re constantly changing things, so it’s constant rewriting.
“You’re not just working on a page; you’re working as part of the team. They’re giving you ideas and you’re giving them suggestions for various parts of the game; whether it’s sound, animation, or FX or whatever. You’re working very closely with a team to bring that vision into the game.”
Videogames haven’t found their Kafka or anything, but for now we can go to sleep knowing there are at least seven games where we can play as a gigantic cockroach like in The Metamorphosis.