Last Updated on August 28, 2023
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how to become a writer for video games
A video game writer develops a video game’s story, script, character descriptions, tutorials, and all of the player’s actions in the gameplay. Video game writers work alongside the programmer, game designer, game developer, and level designer to create the story, look, and feel of a video game.
A video game writer is involved in every aspect of a video game production, from concept to post-production:
Conception: Video game writers work with the video design team to develop a game’s genre and structure. In the conception phase, video game writers complete research and determine how much writing the game will need. For example, a role-playing game (RPG) will require more writing and narrative design than an action game.
Preproduction: As the type of video game solidifies, the video game writer starts writing character backgrounds, storylines, level overviews, and they create the flowchart of possible actions and different storylines in the game.
Production: The video game writer writes dialogue cutscenes, text for the quests, and any other writing in the game. For more narrative-driven games, the video game writer might also work with the director and voice actors during the recording sessions.
Postproduction: As the video game develops, the video game writer will play through the game, proofreading text along the way. The video game writer may remove or add text if changes or additions are made in the post-production process.
4 Useful Skills for Becoming a Video Game Writer
In addition to a passion for gaming, video game writers need to have the following skills:
Writing: Video game writers need to be skilled at narrative storytelling and creative writing.
Game playing: Video game writers understand the style of writing required for different types of games, along with interactive storytelling and writing with gamers in mind.
Collaboration: Unlike cinematic scriptwriters, video game writing is a collaborative process, so video game writers must be comfortable working in a team.
Coding: Knowing how to code and being familiar with video game creation is valuable when speaking to video game designers.
How to Become a Video Game Writer
Many video game writers begin careers as freelancers, then join a team of writers full-time at a video game company. To build a career as a video game writer, follow these steps:
Pursue a bachelor’s degree in scriptwriting. Companies may prefer to hire video game writers with a bachelor’s degree in scriptwriting or creative writing. You can also take courses in game design or coding to learn skills.
Build a writing portfolio. Showcase your creative writing skills by publishing short stories in literary journals or digital publications. Practice making your own games so you have a writing sample to show a prospective employer.
Network with industry professionals. Meet people in the video game industry to get advice and learn about employment opportunities. Attend the Game Developers Conference or join the International Game Developers Association.
Gain hands-on experience. Look for entry-level positions in other video game departments, such as production, marketing, or even technical writing for the instruction manuals. You can also work on an indie game with a small team to learn about the production process as a whole.