Not signed in (Sign In)
    •  
      CommentAuthormojojoseph
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2008
     (566.41)
    I think the best writing in video games was The Legacy of Kain series, particularly the earlier ones (i.e. Blood Omen and Soul Reaver). They fantastically written and the voice acting talent was top notch too. It's just a shame this series appears to be over, on such an open ending too.

    Metal Gear Solid games are great writing too, but they don't manage the cinematic story with actual gameplay well, and as such can screw things up.

    Also, the occasional Final Fantasy can be really involving, I'm personally thinking 7, 8 and 10 for me.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2008
     (566.42)
    New 360 RPG 'Lost Odyssey' has several unlockable short stories in it penned by Kiyoshi Shigematsu. They're extremely good. The game's plot itself is intriguing, but the writing there isn't quite so hot.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2008
     (566.43)
    Most of my favorite games, like MGS and the Silent Hill games, I feel has some of the best writing in it's medium. Sure MGS can be fairly preachy, but it still had a great mix of epic, badass action and internal drama. In my opinion, anyway.
  1.  (566.44)
    "Does anyone have first hand experience of it? I'm genuinely interested in how the writing types among us have found it."


    I worked on dialog for a number of video games in my something-like-eight-years at Microsoft. I found it to be marginally less pleasant than drilling screws through my junk.

    For the most part, writers aren't really brought in to help finetune story -- they're there (and often added very late in the process) to spackle the cracks in the game designers' horribly conceived story. (Gross oversimplification, but hey, it's the internet; that's what it's FOR).
    -E
    •  
      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2008
     (566.45)
    A couple of relevant links:

    1) Vanity Fair
    2) The Guardian

    I think the idea of interactivity in a storyline is very difficult to accommodate, but potentially very exciting. It's not comparable to other media (although I think some attempts have made that mistake - like early films were essentially plays in front of a camera, or when comics are approached as a novel with pictures). You can't strip games of interactivity because that's the essential characteristic of the medium. I think that's where the Guardian article goes wrong talking about Martin Amis and Douglas Adams: writing successfully in prose is not necessarily going to translate to successful writing for games.
    • CommentAuthorVariant13
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2008 edited
     (566.46)
    Don't the "bigger" games now cost more to produce than a Hollywood blockbuster? You'd think games companies would make the extra investment and hire someone who actually has some talent. I get sick of playing a video game and thinking: "I could produce better dialogue out of my arse". Just like in the movies a shitty script can really take you out of the story.

    Same with the voice acting, it really makes a difference when they have even halfway decent people reading the lines. I swear some companies must just grab the nearest cleaner out of a corridor and ask them to read the script.
  2.  (566.47)
    I'm working on a quite big title (one with lots of people and many millions of euros), and for this type of projects it's not unusual now to hire people who write for TV series. It's not what I work on directly so I haven't got more details (and anyway, there are NDAs and things like that :), but we tend to pay professionals for this kind of things these days...

    Now, that doesn't mean that it's always good professionals, of course :).
    • CommentAuthorNadreck
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2008
     (566.48)
    The potential versus realized strength of the narratological element in games was the basis of my undergraduate thesis. I think there is a VERY strong potential to the medium as a storytelling tool, but it is a very different animal than writing a script for some other medium, and so has suffered as writers still work to find their "sea legs."

    One element that I found highly effective in past games, but isn't explored much nowadays (too much focus on creating a "cinematic experience"), is using a theater metaphor for the narrative of the game. A prime example of this is Final Fantasy VI, which even explicitly called out what they were doing with the inclusion of the opera scene. Xenogears also had an extremely robust, involved storyline, and again, worked with the limitations of the technology of the time to let much of the environment behave like set pieces. This makes total sense to me: the television effectively already acts as a proscenium arch, so why not run with it?
    •  
      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2008
     (566.49)
    Nadreck - this sounds interesting.

    Could you describe it for someone who hasn't played Final Fantasy VI?
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (566.50)
    @Nadreck - if you're able to I wouldn't mind having a read of your thesis, I always like to read people's opinions on this subject.
    •  
      CommentAuthorPyD
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (566.51)
    Chrono Trigger on the SNES had a brilliant set of little stories all intermingling into a deleriously awesome fantasy/sci-fi meta narrative.

    VERY MINOR LOST SPOILER IN THE QUESTION BELOW - very minor so not hiding







    Did anyone see the recent Lost episode 'The Constant'? - that kind of narrative flow and the time travel mechanic used within the episode would translate really well to a game the abrupt transitions etc could really serve to disorient the player in a funn challenging way if implemented properly into an adventure game of some sort.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRantz
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2008
     (566.52)
    I worked on dialog for a number of video games in my something-like-eight-years at Microsoft. I found it to be marginally less pleasant than drilling screws through my junk.

    For the most part, writers aren't really brought in to help finetune story -- they're there (and often added very late in the process) to spackle the cracks in the game designers' horribly conceived story. (Gross oversimplification, but hey, it's the internet; that's what it's FOR).


    and the sad part is, you're actually being pretty KIND about the realities of the process. I work as a creative director for a videogame company so it's my job to recommend/hire writers for projects, and I would never hire a friend because while I can be a bastard at times, I'm not THAT much of one...