How to Write for Video Games – featuring Rhianna Pratchett (Tomb Raider) and James Swallow (Deus Ex: Human Revolution)

This article was written by Tomas Rawlings, Design & Production Director for Auroch Digital.

Writing for video games is an esoteric art. It’s very different from writing novels, comics, film scripts or event blog posts like this. Games have a number of layers of narrative – the overall game story, the stories of the characters within the game, the narrative the player creates as they move though the game world. As an interactive space, the writer might not be in control of what order the player experiences the chunks of narrative and even if the player encounters them at all. The writer is also subject to the resource constraints of the development process itself; new characters, locations, and events impose limits on where the story might ideally go. In the video below, recorded at the Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013 in the UK, two of leading games writers – Rhianna Pratchett (who credits include work on Tomb Raider, Mirror’s Edge and Bioshock Infinite) talks with James Swallow (who writes for games such as Deus Ex:Human Revolution, as well as being a noted sci-fi writer in his own right) about the intricacies, the ups and the downs of writing for video games.

The above video was a session at Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013. The session was supported by The Wellcome Trust as part of their engagement with the games, broadcast and film industries and commitment to gaming as a form of public engagement with science. They are on Twitter at: @WellcomeTrust.