Game thinking from Adam Clare

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The Ending of Last of Us and More from Writer Neil Druckmann

Neil Druckmann is a Creative Director and Writer at Naughty Dog who was one of the great minds behind The Last of Us. The Toronto chapter of the IGDA brought Druckmann into the city for a fantastic talk about his work on The Last of Us and his thoughts on how women are portrayed in the games industry. The event was recorded and you can watch it here:

The IGDA Toronto Chapter Committee is extremely pleased to kick-off the 2013/2014 season with a very special event!

In writing The Last of Us Naughty Dog set out to raise the bar of character-driven videogame narratives. Neil Druckmann, Creative Director and Writer of The Last of Us, will deconstruct several iterations of the story, explaining why the narrative needed to constantly evolve over the course of production.

Neil Druckmann is the Creative Director and Writer of The Last of Us. He previously worked as Designer and Co-writer on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Neil is also the writer and creator of the graphic novel, A Second Chance at Sarah.

Thanks to Andy Borkowski of AM 640 for recording the event for us!

The New Yorker Sits Down With Gears of War Writer

Gears of War writer Tom Bissell was interviewed by a writer at the New Yorker and they talked about video games in culture and what it’s like to write for games. The interview happened because the writer saw a video (below) on writing for the heroes of the game.

Writing the Warriors of Gears of War: Judgment | Kill Screen Episode 6 from The Creators Project on Vimeo.

I’m a fan of the New Yorker (I even have books about the magazine), so I love the fact that they ask questions that feel just so New Yorker.

Right? And if games become a thing like, “Oh! They tell really good stories in these now!” Oh my god, there will be a total stampede.

Sure, but now that I’ve worked on a few games, I’ve grappled with the degree to which games are not really a writer’s medium. Film’s not really a writer’s medium, either. Good writing certainly doesn’t hurt, but it’s not the thing that saves the day. I’ve been quietly lobbying for games that are smart and intelligent, even if they’re about blowing lots of shit up. At the same time, though, pure storytelling is never going to be the thing that games do better than anything. Games are primarily about a connection between the player, the game world, and the central mechanic of the game. They’re about creating a space for the player to engage with that mechanic and have the world react in a way that feels interesting and absorbing but also creates a sense of agency. So writing, in games, is about creating mood and establishing a basic sense of intent. The player has some vague notion of what the intent of the so-called author is, but the power of authorship is ultimately for the player to seize for him or herself. This goes for any kind of game. I think good game writing is a process of getting out of the player’s way. You give him or her just enough to work with narratively, but ultimately you let the player tell his or her own story.

One part of the interview stuck out to me and it’s Bissell’s take on writing for games in a nutshell:

Indeed. The point is that there’s no such thing, really, as “video-game storytelling.” Different kinds of games have different kinds of storytelling methods. Writing Gears has more in common with action-movie screenwriting than writing something like Skyrim does. But what’s interesting about writing a game like Gears is that there’s just so much procedural dialogue you wind up having to write. By that I mean dialogue that’s totally dependent on what the player’s doing: shooting, killing, blowing stuff up, reloading, taking cover, all of that.

Read more at the New Yorker.

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