The UK represents the fifth largest videogames market in the world, but how do you break into the industry, and what sort of jobs are available? And how do a writer’s usual tools (story, character and dialogue) function in a videogame?
The Writers’ Guild and the Royal Television Society are running an event to explore this growing industry, with a chance to ask the professionals your questions. Speakers include Steve Ince, Chair of the Guild’s Videogames Committee.
Steve is a writer, consultant and games designer with 21 years’ experience in the games industry who has enjoyed much success and acclaim, during his time with Revolution Software and as a freelancer since then. His most recent work includes writing dialogue for Godfire: Rise of Prometheus, which was released earlier this year (see the video trailer, above).
He will be joined by Meg Jayanth, a freelance writer and game-maker, whose work includes the recently released 80 Days – a steampunk, anti-colonial, interactive retelling of the Jules Verne's classic for iOS.
Details of the event follow, but if you are unable to attend, Steve Ince has produced a number of Gamewriter Bites! short videos, including one on how to break into the industry. The full library is available on his YouTube channel.
Date and time: 18 November, 7-10pm
Location: West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds LS2 7UP
Price: £5 (waged), £3 (unwaged), free to Guild members
More information and bookings here.
The annual London South Bank University, Writers’ Guild and IGDA talk - 4 December
Interactive writing is not screenwriting. From character creation to plotting, format to structure, from root to interactive branch the process of creating a story and delivering the script has evolved from the skills needed to deliver linear onscreen experiences.
In the annual London South Bank University, Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and IGDA talk, a group of experienced games writers Ed ‘Brink’ Stern’, Tom ‘FTL’ Jubert, James ‘Deus Ex’ Swallow and Andrew ‘Fable:Legends’ Walsh will examine a variety of techniques used in videogames writing and explore how they have used them in their own projects.
Date and Time: Wednesday, December 4 at 7 pm
Location: Keyworth Centre, London South Bank University
As always, we’ll head to the pub for a few Christmas drinks after the talk!
Sign up here: https://www.facebook.com/events/570224703050027/
Andy Walsh's speech at the Performers' Alliance Parliamentary lobby
Yesterday the WGGB, as part of the Performers’ Alliance Parliamentary Group (including Equity and the Musicians’ Union) lobbied Westminster. Issues ranged from arts cuts to not only low pay, but no pay, for writers, actors and musicians.
The lobby was well attended by members of both Houses, including Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and Shadow Culture Secretary, Dan Jarvis. All listened to what we had to say and the Guild, as ever, will continue the conversation.
Andrew Walsh, our Treasurer, spoke eloquently on behalf of the WGGB. Here’s his speech.
Good afternoon, my Lords, Ladies and gentlemen, and it is quite nice to be able to use that greeting in a place where it’s actually applicable. Coming from the games industry I have to say that the Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen here today aren’t as well armoured, or armed and, despite what the tabloids say, as disreputably behaved as the ones I normally spend my days with.
So, a games writer? A bit of an odd choice to send to stand before you today? Games to some people are this strange peripheral thing, a novel industry. To some writers we are still something set on the side, the junior medium. Even though we’ve been around for 40 years. There are those in the games industry who don’t understand the role of writing in games, despite the fact there are games out there with two million or more words in them. And yet. . .and yet. . .
The latest Call Of Duty, the first game to earn more than $1 billion, and it’s only been out a couple of weeks so it will earn more. This game has chosen to put the story, the writing, at the heart of its latest advertising campaign. And why? Because they understand that writing helps to build a brand; it sells.
A keynote speech by Steve Ince for the 11th International Conference on Entertainment Computing 2012 in Bremen
Whenever I prepare for an event of this nature I’m reminded of the huge diversity of gaming in particular and computer related entertainment in general. It’s bewildering in its range and scope and simply keeping abreast of the constant assault of news and developments is somewhat daunting.
But this broad scope also gives such incredible creative freedom to those of us who want to explore new ways of delivering entertainment to a worldwide audience. This talk, then, is me scratching the surface of writing for games and how the whole idea of entertainment can affect how writers approach the task.
David Cage, the creative mind behind the game, Heavy Rain, recently said this about players: ‘I am not interested in giving them “fun”, I want to give them meaning.’ Many of us might think that one of the main points of games is that they should be fun, but I understand why Cage would make a statement like that. The word ‘fun’ has a certain amount of baggage that could trivialise the emphasis of the product. Super Mario is fun, for instance, and Cage may feel he needs to distance his games from this kind of association. If we substitute ‘fun’ with ‘entertainment’, surely Cage would want his games to be meaningful and entertaining? If they are not, why would we want to play them? And if we want games to be entertainment, we must see them as such throughout the development process.
By Gail Renard
In his recent Budget statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered good news with tax breaks for TV, animation and video game production, that should mean more work for British writers. The new tax credit scheme is a way of keeping creative talent in Britain and can only mean more work for writers.
In recent years, many TV, animation and video game productions have moved abroad at great cost to our industries and national identity. These new breaks should make working in Britain competitive and attractive.
Many groups have worked hard for this change and the Guild have also played their part with constant lobbying and excellent, concise papers which politicians have welcomed.
A special mention goes to Jayne Kirkham, Children’s Committee Chair; Andy Walsh, who oversees video games at the Guild and also members of the Television Committee for their tireless work in lobbying for these tax breaks. We got them.
Gail Renard is chair of the Guild's TV Committee