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March 25th, 2008, 17:50
Originally Posted by Lord Alex View Post
Yes, although the three mediums are similar (at the most basic level), writing for games is closest to movie script writing, but different enough to require its own unique set of rules and skills.
On the whole, however, it would be easier to teach a screenwriter to become a good game "writer" than just about any other option, including a game designer; hence, the reason why many unemployed screenwriters (due to the strike) were gravitating to game writing; they have a lot in common.
You would think that would be so - but actually - you're wrong.

I'm not knocking you for that - it is a widely held misperception. However, the consensus in the industry is that screenplay authors have too much to unlearn and worse - have great difficulty understanding and recognizing that. They think their screenplay skills apply when quite often, they do not. It leads to a lot of problems. Indeed, it is a very significant and commonplace problem in the industry when developing writing talent.

All professional mainstream writers share many skills with game writers, and on the surface they do have a lot in common; however, it is in the differences where the skill of writing for games is really told and is made. These are subtle and exceptionally difficult nuances to master.

The truth of the matter is this: no past experience as a writer of fiction (novels/novellas), journalism or screenplays is any predictor of success in writing for RPGs. Period. When you are hiring for a position on a game dev team- that's a hugely significant issue. Who the hell do you get to fulfill this viatal role on the team and how do you identify them?

I have tried all of the above as writers. Some of these - and in particular screenplay writers - thought that the task would be easy. It is not. It is very di can be a writer" is the standard response.

That response is right. Anybody CAN be a writer. But that proposition in logic does not end there. In fact, that's the essence of the problem.

Because while almost anybody CAN be a good CRPG writer, almost nobody is actually a good CRPG writer. Because there is no qualification or past experience - other than writing for CRPGs - that is a good predictor of success, it's a horribly difficult position to hire for and fill on a team. And without one or three? You are screwed.

Writing is a bitch and deserves far more respect than it gets. People who share views like Maxwell simply don't know what they are talking about when it comes to Western style CRPGs.
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