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Getting into Writing for Game Content


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I love strongly narrative games; The Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale series, Planescape Torment, Fallout, Lands of Lore, and more recently Shadowrun Returns...these are the kinds of games that inflamed my imagination both when I was younger and kept my creative spark smoldering as I've matured over the years.


After noting the Senior Narrative Designer position posting on Obsidian Careers, I began to wonder what kind of experience qualifies one as a writer for games and how to garner that experience if you aren't already in the gaming industry. I've been writing on and off for over 30 years now, but never officially in the gaming industry and I don't really have a portfolio of work to show off that would necessarily lend itself to suggesting that I'd be a good fit for a gaming-related writer. 


So...I suppose I'm posing a question to the writers already working for Obsidian, less about how they got their jobs but more about how they garnered the experience that led to them writing for games and the specific challenges that someone who enjoys crafting stories but is inexperienced in writing for games might face when trying to get into that aspect of the industry.


Good Journey.

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Start with making mods or using the NWN toolset to create your own module.


Or take Chris Avellone's advice:







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As with anything related to games, making games and mods is the most useful for your own skills, and the best recognised by your employers.


Don't get a degree in English literature (unless you have other goals). For the love of god, don't go to one of those games universities. Mod games, make simple games, let experience teach you what makes good game writing. Beyond that, read widely. As Avellone and others have noted, real life history, or even seemingly distant interests (like, say, rocketry or wildlife ecology), can give you creativity and detail that you can't get by just playing video games all the time.

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As someone who studied at a game school, I can agree with Tig that going to a game school isn't a great idea.

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