We follow, once again, the wise man’s saying that game developers want writers who “get it.” You’ve seen how you can help writers get the game system. But what if you have *gasp* a story as well? Sorry to say that, despite the job title, not all writers will get it, so here are three methods to make sure they do.
1. Have your writer write it
I know, a shockingly obvious solution, but one which can be overlooked. If you will be using writers at any point in the process, why not bring them in early, when you’re developing the story or world? Even if you have a clear vision of the story you want, having a writer in early can ensure he or she is entirely up to speed when the bulk of the writing needs to be done.
2. Have your writer read it
This is more than just a “send your writers the story document” point. Send the story documents — send art. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all. Furthermore, if you’re one of the many game developers working with a licensed property, make sure your writers have access to the original IP, or point them in the right direction. If they’re not taking great pains to get up to speed on your property, red flags should be going up.
3. Have your writer ask questions of someone you designate
On every game, someone keeps the lore. In some cases, someone on your team’s entire job is to make sure the game lines up with licensed IP, for example. In other cases, the lorekeeper isn’t so obvious. Could it be that level designer, who happens to have every episode of your license wired into her brain? Regardless, this person should be someone who has time and would enjoy getting back to the writer with answers in a timely fashion.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Helping the writer “get it,” Part 3: Putting It all Together. In the meantime, can you think of an instance in a game when the writer clearly didn’t “get it?”