Do you enjoy video games, and are you a proficient writer? If so, there’s an exciting opportunity to become a video game writer, writing the narrative for video games. In addition, writing video games is a well-paid career, with many companies offering remote opportunities. Why not combine two things you enjoy doing and get well paid in a video game writing job?
Alongside sought-after careers like blockchain developers and architects, there’s an increasing demand for skilled video game writers. Moreover, multiple training courses are available online to sharpen your skills and prepare for an interview for a video game writing career.
In the United States alone, the gaming industry generates over $15 billion annually, and with the evolving play-to-earn blockchain-based games, it will continue to grow.
Firstly, in this guide, you will learn about video game writing and discover the role of a video game writer. Many gamers dream of writing video games, and a video games writer salary may vary. Secondly, we’ll highlight a couple of online video game writers’ courses, and if you decide it’s a career you’d like to pursue, you can be up and running in a short time.
What is a Video Game Writer?
Every video game needs a story. Above all, a video game writer works with a design team to craft stories, create character descriptions, and write a script. In addition, video games writers write game tutorials and dialogue for in-action characters’ gameplay.
You’ll work alongside game designers, developers, level designers, and programmers to build an appealing game for users. Moreover, you’ll need excellent communication and collaboration skills, as well as being good at video game writing. In addition, the ability to convey concepts to your team is a great bonus.
What do video game writers do?
Video game writers are involved at every stage of video game production. It’s certainly not as simple as writing a script and leaving the designers and developers to implement the narrative. Your role as a writer will be an integral part of completing a successful project.
You will work closely with the design team to create and develop the structure of the video game and outline a plot. At this stage, you will research the type of video game and decide how much writing is needed. Some games don’t require a lot of narratives, so writers become more involved in the design and coding of the game. For instance, a role-playing game (RPG) requires more narrative than an action game. In that case, video game writers are less involved in design and coding and focus more on the storyline.
After the initial outline of the game is decided, the next stage is to start writing storylines, character profiles and backgrounds, dialogues, and level overviews. As some video games have multiple in-game options, the video game writer must write scripts for various storylines.
At this stage, the game writer produces quest texts, dialogue cutscenes and any other writing needed, including drafting tutorials. If the game requires a lot of narratives, you could be working with voice actors and the game director in recording sessions so that you can tweak text as necessary.
After signing off the production stage, the game writer proofreads the text by playing the entire game to check for errors or make improvements.
What skills do video game writers need?
For many jobs working in blockchain, candidates requires significant technical skills. For video game writing, technical knowledge isn’t strictly essential. That said, you may not enjoy the immersive role of a video game writer unless you have a passion for gaming and some understanding of coding.
In addition, you’ll need the following skills: –
- Creative writing: You are a skilled storyteller with a lively imagination who can transform a concept into an interactive story that gamers want to play
- Game playing experience: Video games narrative has a particular style, and you must, at all stages, consider what gamers enjoy. If you do not know about playing video games, it could be a challenge to create a narrative that works
- Communication and collaboration: Producing a video game requires exceptional cooperation between the team. For instance, the game designer might have fixed ideas that you are comfortable challenging in a non-confrontational way
- Understanding of coding: Video game designers expect writers to understand how to code, so they know the language. Moreover, when you’re presenting ideas to the designer, a basic familiarity with coding can help you convey script outlines aligned with coding practices
How to Become a Video Game Writer
Whether you want to become a freelance video game writer or work as a full-time employee, starting your career in this exciting niche might be easier than you imagine: –
Some companies list a prerequisite of a scriptwriting bachelor’s degree, but it’s not always necessary.
Other options are: –
- Game design courses
- Video game writer courses
- Creative writing skills
- Coding ability
- Intern with a company to gain hands-on experience
Create a writing portfolio
Publish short stories online in digital publications or literary journals. Alternatively, build an online portfolio of your own. In addition, write multiple games of your own to demonstrate your storytelling skills for video games.
Get involved with the industry
Networking in the video game industry is essential to keep your finger on the pulse. Follow the IGN website for gaming industry news, reviews, videos, guides and more. In addition, become a member of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), a non-profit organisation for game developers, where you can also find details of upcoming events.
Get real-life experience
If you have little experience in video game writing, approach companies for other positions in relevant departments like marketing, technical writing, or production. You could also volunteer your services to a small game production team as a way to learn about the industry.
For smaller or less narrative-driven games, video game writers may also play a considerable role in the coding and designing aspects of the physical gameplay. Larger, more narrative-driven projects usually hire writers who exclusively work on the story with few other responsibilities.
Video game writer salary
How much do video game writers make? Above all, video game writing is not the highest-paid position in blockchain-based games, and freelancers may earn more than employees. The average salary is between £35,000 to £55,000, but some senior video game writers may make considerably more.
Video game writing courses
Completing an online video game writing course could be your best option if you don’t have the funding or time for a bachelor’s degree.
EDX: Professional certificate in writing for video games
The EDX course is through the University of British Columbia. It teaches the difference between video game writing and storytelling. You’ll learn your role in writing scenes and how to develop characters and plots that fit with the narrative and game production.
The comprehensive and interactive course teaches you how to develop an industry-standard portfolio to showcase your writing skills. You’ll also learn prerequisites for working with designers and programmers to create interactive narratives.
The UBC professional video games writing course is self-paced, taking an estimated eight months to complete with 4-6 hours of study per week. Once complete, you’ll have all the tools and techniques required to meet the global demand for video game writers.
The professional course was created by successful game writers working and teaching in the industry. In addition to targeted writing assignments, you will receive direct feedback from game industry experts.
Professional certificate in writing for video games course outline: –
- Video game writing essentials
- Writing video game characters
- Writing video game scenes and dialogue
- Worldbuilding for video games
- Interactive narrative
- Working as a game writer
Each module is a stand-alone course that you can take for free, with an option for a paid upgrade for verification.
UK Writers College: Writing for video games
The writing for video games course is self-paced and flexible, with twelve months to complete. There are ten modules with 200 pages of notes, and you will complete ten in-depth assignments. You work with an assigned tutor who is a leader in the field. The tutor independently assesses your work and provides detailed feedback, focusing on developing your writing skills.
You will learn game mechanics and how to create a narrative so you can create compelling and high-quality stories. In addition, the course teaches you how to develop believable characters and integrate with a team to create an immersive game environment that keeps users coming back for more.
The writing for video games course teaches you how to write dialogue, in-game text and other narratives relevant to video games. You’ll discover how to create pivotal points in a story and build in exciting cliffhangers and irresistible hooks.
Writing for video games course outline
- Module 1: Jigsaw Storytelling: An overview of gamer’s tools used to narrate stories
- Module 2: Boiling It Down: Considering the limitations of short-form storytelling and how to transform big ideas into incredible stories
- Module 3: Gone in 60 Seconds: How to grab the attention of a distracted audience
- Module 4: NPCs Are Real People Too: Learn to develop characters and dialogue and deliver game information
- Module 5: The Story Glyph: Creating in-story narrative assets to instruct and inform players
- Module 6: Worldbuilding: Part 1: Building imaginary and immersive worlds to draw players into a game
- Module 7: Worldbuilding: Part 2: Four critical steps to creating beasts or monsters and populating the game with exciting antagonists
- Module 8: Horns of the Dilemma: Creating interesting dilemmas for players to solve
- Module 9: Storytelling Through Game Mechanics: using game mechanics to leverage the story as the backbone of the game
- Module 10: Putting It All Together: Building on your experience from the course to put together a project brief to showcase to potential employers
Conclusion: Create An Exciting Career As A Video Game Writer
To sum up, writing video games is an exciting direction for creative writers who love gaming. Moreover, it could be an ideal career if you enjoy working as part of a creative team and understand coding language.
Though most job specifications list a bachelor’s degree, it’s possible to find an entry-level job writing video games if you can find a small project that needs a game writer with skills.
Finally, if you need help finding a new position, we can help you tailor your resume for a video game writing job. Contact the CB Recruitment team and upload your resume.
Do video game companies hire video game writers?
Yes, some of the larger organisations may have a team of in-house writers working to develop stories, create and develop characters and write dialogue.
Do I need a degree to become a video game writer?
Ideally, a degree in scriptwriting or creative writing is a good foundation for video games writers. In addition, skills in writing fiction, storytelling and using narrative voice are helpful additions to acquire. Many video game writer jobs require a bachelor’s degree, but it’s not unusual to find companies that do not list a degree as a requirement.
Are video game writers in demand?
Yes, it is becoming a sought-after career because many blockchain-based games are evolving, with play-to-earn features, making them popular with gamers. Above all, companies want to produce new games to increase revenue, so the demand for video games writers will likely continue.
Is video game writing a good job?
It depends on your definition of good. It could certainly be your ideal job if you’re interested in writing video games, passionate about gaming and can write creative stories and narratives.