Game Writing Interview from the Level Up Conference

If you want to learn more about my game writing process, check out this interview that was just posted from the Level Up Conference in 2019. Over the course of two minutes, I solve all of game writing and also discuss the IGDA Women in Games SIG. It’s amazing. Check it out.

It may be some time before I’ll be speaking in person at a conference, but videos live forever! For better or worse.

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Writing for Beyond Blue, now available!

Beyond Blue, a game I wrote for, has recently launched on Apple Arcade. Subscribers can now explore the game exclusively through First Look, diving deep into the scientific mysteries of the deep ocean. Developed in partnership with BBC Studios (Blue Planet II), OceanX Media, and E-Line Media (Never Alone), Beyond Blue will also come to consoles later in the year. Eurogamer has already had a chance to enjoy it.

Beyond Blue is a single-player narrative adventure that takes you deep into our planet’s beating blue heart. Set in the near future, Beyond Blue explores the mysteries of our ocean through the eyes of Mirai, a deep sea explorer and scientist.

I contributed to the story and dialog while collaborating with subject matter experts to create a fun, meditative, and ultimately hopeful experience about the future of our oceans. Now we just have to make it happen in real life.


[an image of a diver swimming over the ocean floor with dolphins]

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For Women’s Day, speaking twice on writing!

Sherocon 2020, a comic book convention, and Digital LA’s Digital Women’s Day Retreat, will be hosting me as well as a bunch of other fine women to discuss writing for games, comics, digital, and more. If you’re in LA this weekend, armed with hand sanitizer, and interested in learning more about writing cross platform or game narrative, come on down!

2020 SHEROCON POP-UP COMIC CON

First up is the second annual Sherocon! In honor of Women’s History Month, SheroCon 2020 offers a bunch of comics exhibitors and speakers, as well as a costume contest. This free, family-friendly event runs from noon-6pm. I’ll be joining a panel of women writers to discuss writing across multiple media.

Women in Film panel
Where: Main Stage at Sherocon 2020, Westfield Culver City Mall
When: Saturday, March 7, 2pm
Who:
Kay Oyegun (This is Us)
Mairghread Scott (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Anne Toole (me!) (Horizon Zero Dawn)

If you want to learn more about writing, or want to hear about some of the awesome projects the panelists have worked on, you know where to find us!

But wait, there’s more! On Sunday, I’ll be speaking at Digital LA’s Digital Women International Women’s Day Retreat. See more below.

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This afternoon event features entrepreneurs and content creators as well as bands, an optional game of basketball, and networking. I’ll likely be joining the panel at 12:15pm, then hosting a breakout session on writing at 1-2pm. Don’t forget the LA marathon and Daylight Savings on Sunday. Plan accordingly!

Digital Women Panel
Where: Main Stage at PodShare Venice, 522 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles
When: Saturday, March 7, 12:15pm
Who:
– Alexis Schomer (Expy Health, Co-Founder)
– Olga Kay (Moosh Walks, Founder)
– Elvina Beck (PodShare, Founder)
– Arielle Nissenblatt (EarBuds Podcast Collective, Founder)
– Eraina Ferguson (Founder of My Good Life)
– Anne Toole, (me!) WGA-Award winning Writer
– Moderator: Kevin Winston (Digital LA, CEO/Founder)

Writing Breakout Session
Where: PodShare Venice
When: Saturday, March 8, 1-2pm
Who: Anne Toole, (me!) WGA-Award winning Writer

I’ll be hosting an intimate group of people interested in learning more about writing, working in games, and more. Bring your questions, get some answers!

Hope you celebrate International Women’s Day, whether at these fine events, or from the safety of your home!

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Congrats on THE WITCHER’s 76 million viewers – but not of the game

Image result for witcherNetflix’s THE WITCHER apparently reached 76 million viewers in its first month of release, making it Netflix’s biggest premiere ever. Congrats to everyone involved! And, in an abundance of clarity, I was not one of them 😆 I was one of several credited writers on the first WITCHER video game along with my then writing partner Sande Chen.

Why do I feel the need to clarify? Because this week a friend reached out to me and asked, “Aren’t you rich yet?😁

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Alas, no. The games and series are both based on best-selling novels from Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. To him go the glory and the spoils. You can see bits of Eastern European mythology seeping in that make the Witcher’s world stand out. While the games offer more of a sequel to the books, the Netflix series adapts the books themselves.

The popularity of the Netflix series has been a boon to the games, however. WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT (also no affiliation), just recorded its highest number of players ever, despite being released in 2015. I guess to CJ Projekt Red and Steam go some of those spoils.

 

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Days Gone wins Best Storytelling Award

DAYS GONE, the survival horror game I wrote for, won for Best Storytelling at the Golden Joystick Awards last month. As a PS4 exclusive, DAYS GONE also won Playstation Game of the Year.

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I contributed some early development writing, including developing the lore and jargon of the Ripper cult. Check out images from the book (art by various — I can’t draw) below.

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From the Playstation website: “At its core, Days Gone is about survivors and what makes them human: desperation, loss, madness, betrayal, friendship, brotherhood, regret, love—and hope. It’s about how, even when confronted with such enormous tragedy, hope never dies.”

If you haven’t played DAYS GONE yet, maybe now’s the time. Nothing says the holidays like fighting for your life!

 

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Where the Water Tastes Like Wine? On XBox, PS4, and Switch

So apparently the water tastes like wine on consoles today! I wrote a story for Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, an award-winning game about traveling and telling stories in a folkloric Depression-era United States. If you like supporting indie games or new approaches to game narrative, this game is for you! If you hate all those things, check it out anyway, you monster. You’re sure to find something you like.

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is available today on XBox One and Nintendo Switch. You will be able to crank it up on Playstation 4 starting Monday, December 2nd. Of course, it continues to be available on Steam, Itch.io, and GOG for all you PC dreamers. Check out the trailer while you’re at it.

 

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Arrr! Writing for Conan the Pirate

It’s Halloween! Time to dress up as a pirate! Maybe even… Conan the Pirate? I contributed to this Modiphius sourcebook for Robert E. Howard’s Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of. It’s a tabletop RPG that allows you to sail down the coast of the Western Sea to discover Shem, Stygia, and Kush and engage in some daring-do. The book can inspire you to write your own adventures using the 2d20 system set in Conan’s world.

Conan The Pirate

Want to know more? Here’s a write-up from Modiphius’s site:

The Hyborian world is home to many dangerous people, and none are more ruthless or dastardly than its pirates, the scourge of the high seas. A menace to civilization itself, these seagoing bandits have their own ways, customs, and traditions, and Conan the Pirate explores pirates and the pirate world.

Detailed within these pages are the countries up and down the coast of the Western Sea — proud Zingara, wealthy Argos, the western reaches of Shem and Stygia — as the setting for pirate-based campaigns.

With this volume, CONAN characters can embark on campaigns of piracy, plunder, and high adventure! So, unsheathe your cutlass and ready yourself for a boarding action, to seize plunder and glory for your captain and fellow buccaneers!

So check out Conan the Pirate for Halloween — or any time you feel like an adventure!

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