Game writer horror stories

The recent flap over the merits of hiring game writers has been educational. I’ve learned that many, many people believe in the power of storytelling in games. I’ve learned about a few more game industry horror stories involving writers. I’ve also learned that there’s no way to talk about a game project without people figuring out exactly who you’re talking about 😉

With that in mind, I thought I’d talk about a few writer horror stories I’ve heard recently without naming names and invite developers to add their own. I’ll go first!

  1. A game went into production with assets and levels already designed. It became excrutiatingly apparent it was disjointed, so they hired a writer to sort of knit it together. By that time, however, it was a bit of a lost cause. I don’t know if the game ever shipped.
  2. A major game developer was looking for a quality game writer, so they hired one based on reputation and referral, never having read a sample test. When the time came, it became apparent that the writer didn’t get the game genre at all, so the work had to be thrown out.
  3. A major game developer with a story in progress considered hiring a writer, but the writer quoted a price that was too high. Later, when the game company realized their story needed serious help, they returned to the same writer, who started the story over from scratch and charged even more for the rush job.

Has a writer hurt you or harmed your project? Have you done a little hurting yourself? Share your horror story — we promise not to track you down!

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Filed under Game Industry, Writing

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