Video Game Writing

In case you don’t check/care about Facebook updates, I came across this video on the Escapist today. It’s pretty fascinating. I think the distinction this guy draws between “writing” and “narrative” is somewhat arbitrary, but I definitely agree with the primary point that the story of a game consists of a lot more than than written text and spoken dialogue.

One thing that bothers me is the ending bit about “the general failure to create stories from an interactive perspective”. This guy is way too down on video game writing. I just finished a blog entry a few hours ago about how the Mass Effect universe is basically the best-written video game universe currently in production. I would pit ME against any other storytelling medium–and I really mean that–and expect it to perform very well. And though I’m currently on a ME kick, there are countless other games and franchises of which this is also true: Shadow of the Colossus; the first two Resident Evil games; the Metroid Prime trilogy; more recently, Alan Wake; and numerous others I’m too lazy to search out at the moment. I do agree with his assessment at the end of Silent Hill, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, and the others he mentions (among which, thank god, he does include Shadow of the Colossus).

Once again, it makes me wish I’d heard something from BioWare. They probably had thousands and thousands of applicants for the handful of open positions, so I don’t take it personally that they never contacted me. But it would be pretty amazing to be involved.

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