Digital Writers – Let’s Get Cracking!

The terrible dialogue in the cut scenes of Lost Planet 2 made me want to hurl my console at the screen, or simply hurl.

The storytelling in Lego Batman was childish in the extreme. Even for a kids game. Solve the puzzle, beat the bad guy, move on. Solve the puzzle, beat the bad guy…

Why is game dialogue and game copy generally so kmspico bad? Because it’s the last thing that developers think of. First comes the concept, then the engine, then the game play and the aesthetic and finally, if there’s a little bit of cash left over, comes the writing.

As an ex-TV writer this seems fundamentally screwed to me. In TV the concept is written down as a treatment or a series of scene breakdowns. The scripts get written off these documents. Weeks go by before an actor gets to see a script, months before cameras get involved. The script is the bible document. All decisions get made based on that script.

Why doesn’t this happen in the game industry, or in the educational software and app industry?

There are hoards of scriptwriters out there. Scriptwriting courses in New Zealand churn them out every year, by the tens, by the hundreds. Scriptwriting graduates emerge well versed in the principals of film making, familiar with the rules and regulations of TV writing, and completely ignorant of the demands of game writing.

Does anyone teach scriptwriting for games in New Zealand? Not that I could find. Are there such courses overseas somewhere…the States, Europe, Osaka…anywhere?

Please, please let me know if there are.

As far as learning TV or film writing is concerned there are thousands of options out there for the aspiring writer. For games. Not so much. Bizarre considering that gaming is the largest entertainment industry now…and that’s not including the world of apps. Sure, the styles of storytelling are quite different, but whether you’re telling the tale of a rogue barbarian, or the mission statement of a social networking site for dog lovers, you need to know what you’re doing. There’s still a story to tell, after all.

And who’s there to tell you how it’s done?

There are a few, but good luck finding them!

Chicken and egg.

No-one’s teaching so no-one learns how. Because no-one knows how the people who make games and apps put writing to the bottom of the pile. What else can they do? You can’t make something a priority when there’s no-one around to do that something properly. And because game and app writing is at the bottom of the pile there aren’t that many jobs around. And because there aren’t that many jobs around, few are inclined to learn that sort of writing. And because few want to learn, few want to teach it…

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