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How to Write for Video Games

Profile photo of John Dennis, video game designer writer

John Dennis wants to know: Could writing for video games be your cup of tea?

What does it take to become a Video Game Writer, and how is writing for games different from linear media like books and film? How can a game writer create a story with endless possibilities, adapting to any choice a player might make — whether expected or unexpected?

Those question (and more) are answered today by John Dennis, who has worked in the game industry over 20 years on diverse titles from the beloved Worms franchise to the mega-hit Call of Duty series. He’s currently a tutor at Arvon academy for their course, Writing for Games: The Art and Business of Creating Interactive Narratives.

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Do I need to be a good writer to get a job testing video games?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Dillon, who asks “I am really interested in becoming a video game tester! I really like finding bugs and sharing about it to my friends. The only problem is I’m not a great writer. Would that be a major deal breaker?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The difference between creative vs. technical writing
  • Why technical writing is important for game testing
  • How you can improve your technical writing to get a job as a tester

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Is it better to be a freelancer or an employee in the video game industry?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Mihai, who asks, “Is it better to be a freelancer or an employee in the game industry? I’ve read some articles about this but they didn’t offer me enough information to actually make a definitive decision.”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The difference between an employee and a freelancer
  • The pros and cons of being a freelancer, and how it affects your financial stability
  • The best way to successfully start a career as a freelancer

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Can I sell my original story to a video game studio?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Josh J. who asks, “I have only recently started learning how to code games, I’m starting with Game Maker Studio. However, I know I’m not ready to put the ideas I have in my head into code yet, I just have not learned enough yet. I am a decent writer however (if I do say so myself). And it’s my stories and imagination which I want to put into games most. Is it possible to write the story, plot, script etc of a game and sell it to studios?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The 3 different sources where game teams get their stories
  • Why games and game stories are often developed hand-in-hand
  • How you can get your foot in the door as a game writer

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What does a video game writer do, and how can I start in that career?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Lance, who asks, “It sounds like game writing and game designing are very similar. I was looking to become a game designer due to the fact that I was able to make the story but it seems like that’s what game writers do. Is it realistic to think that I can make the plot and story by being a game designer or should I consider switching to game writer?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What a video game writer does at their job
  • How you can start learning video game writing
  • Why you should also learn game design to be a successful game writer

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How To Become A Video Game Journalist

This interview is part of the Quest for Your Career series. We focus on each specific job in the video game industry by interviewing an expert in the field. Learn what they do, how they got started, and whether it's a good job for you.
Nicole Tanner, Video Game Journalist Editor Writer

“If you can build a solid relationship with an editor, it can be invaluable in helping to establish yourself.”

Nicole Tanner has spent over 15 years writing, editing and podcasting for video games and video game publications. She graduated in 1999 with a degree in Journalism, and has since worked at top game-industry and game-review publications such as IGN, The Sims Official Magazine, GameNow, MacLife, and Pixelkin.

In addition to writing and editing articles about games, Nicole has also contributed directly at video game studios. She has been the Director of PR & Marketing for Foundation 9 Entertainment – a company that ran several game studios around the world – and was a Game Writer in charge of story development for all of the games at KIXEYE.

We’re speaking with Nicole today to find out what it’s like to be a games journalist, and what skills and talents it takes to succeed in this exciting and challenging career path. Read more ›

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How To Become A Video Game Writer

This interview is part of the Quest for Your Career series. We focus on each specific job in the video game industry by interviewing an expert in the field. Learn what they do, how they got started, and whether it's a good job for you.

Meet Darby McDevitt, Video Game Writer

Darby McDevitt, Video Game Scriptwriter

Darby makes his own luck by working hard and saying “yes” at every opportunity.

Darby McDevitt is a scriptwriter for the hugely successful Assassin’s Creed series of games. But he doesn’t only write for games. He’s also released several prose fiction works, has been published in national literary journals and anthologies, and has released several music albums. He’s also written, produced, directed, or designed the audio for a number of successful films.

That should give you a hint about how Darby approaches his career: passionately. The best way to get good at something like writing for video games is to do it, and do it a lot.

Darby talks with us today about how his passion for learning new things and taking on more responsibility got him into the game industry – and continues to open new doors. It’s a lesson he hopes you’ll take to heart. Read more ›

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