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What Does a Game Writer Do?

By Alex Terris
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A game writer is involved in developing the storyline and dialogue of a game. In some game development companies, the game writer is asked to write the entire script for a game, while others hire writers at a later stage in development. Once the script is written, the writer must create the details of the plot and characters.

The exact role of a game writer depends on the company and the job description. There is sometimes an overlap between a game writer and a game designer, although the designer is usually focused on the overall game, including story, appearance and balance. The writer is often just focused on the storyline and conversations between characters. In some companies, the two may be combined into a single position, although this is relatively uncommon. Larger games development companies are more likely to have separate employees for the two positions, especially because a good storyline and script is seen as essential for a successful game.

One of a game writer’s main jobs is to develop the overall story. How much influence a writer has on the overall plot of a game depends on when he is brought into the development process. If the writer is part of the team from the beginning, then he often has much more responsibility for the story. In many cases, however, the writer is brought into the team at a later stage. In this situation, the writer’s job is to assess and fine-tune the story while checking for any errors or inconsistencies.

The narration and interaction between characters in a game is often the primary responsibility of a game writer. A game writer needs to take a storyline and develop a script that’s suitable for the target audience. This can include forming personalities for characters, coming up with new characters and deciding how the storyline is going to move forward as the game develops.

Games are different from other forms of entertainment, such as films, because the user has control over what he or she does. For this reason, a writer needs to be skilled at creating a storyline that is immersive but allows the player to feel as if he or she is part of the world. Some games are linear in design, which means the game writer has greater control over how the player moves through the world. Other games are more open, which can make the job of writing a strong storyline difficult.

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Discussion Comments
By MrsPramm — On Jan 05, 2014

@browncoat - I'm actually pretty glad about this and I hope that we see a whole bunch of new game story lines because it seems like many of the modern ones are very repetitive. The games I truly love are the ones where I feel for the characters and get involved in their story and I really think that you need a good writer to get that going.

I'd rather a game came from good writing than that they decided to make a game with a handful of cute characters and just made some story line up to go with the pretty pictures afterwards.

By browncoat — On Jan 05, 2014

@Mor - Yes and no. These days it's actually fairly easy to be a video game writer. You've just got to make your own video game. There are a lot of small companies making video games out there and there is a big market for something that people can use on their tablets or smartphones in particular.

They don't expect those kinds of games to have the same kinds of graphics and length that a big game company would produce, so a small company, or even a single person, can make a game and make a profit without having to work for years on it.

I mean, if you aren't a programmer or an artist you will probably need to get some friends to work on that aspect, or hire people, but it's definitely a possibility if someone has a story they want to tell. And if their game is successful then it might lead to work elsewhere.

By Mor — On Jan 05, 2014

If you're looking to get into this kind of work, I've seen some game companies ask for writers on writing forums every now and then. They generally are asking for either voluntary work or work for a token payment though, because I think at the paying level the industry is fairly competitive.

I doubt there are many formal qualifications for this though and the only real way to break into the industry would be to do internships and voluntary work to start with and then work your way up the ladder.

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