Game Development Reference
Whatever the type and style of the license you may be working on, having
access to as much resource material as possible is essential if you are to com-
plement the style, understand the characters and match the setting. Where a
game is being developed to coincide with the release of a film, this is even
more important as you will have no finished product to use as reference.
Sometimes the license is simply connected with a book, like the game
And Then There Were None , which was based on the Agatha Christie novel, Te n
Little Indians . The only resource in this instance was the topic itself, which
gave a little more leeway on the visual side with the characters and setting,
but imparted a strong constraint on the part of the writer who had to match
a style of writing from a bygone era.
When I worked for Revolution Software, I led the writing and design of
a game based on the Dreamworks film Gold and Glory:The Road to El Dorado .
We were very fortunate to have great support and were given a lot of excel-
lent resource material such as background paintings, character sheets, rough
cut footage, the complete film script and the dialogue track. Not only did the
material enable the artists to complement the film's visual style, I was able to
read and re-read the script and play the dialogue over and over until the
character's voices were firmly fixed in my mind. Even now, six years later, I
can hear the two main characters talking to each other in my mind when-
ever I care to listen in.
Having such a wealth of supporting materials was of particular benefit to
the team as we were under a tight deadline. For me, having established the
voices in my mind I was able to write their dialogue so much more easily.
The approval process
When developing for a licensed game, getting feedback and approval for
everything that is created must be managed thoroughly so it does not
become a huge burden and slow down the process. The owners of the
intellectual property will want to ensure that the game's developers are using
the property in a manner that complements its original context, and rightly
so. It is therefore in everyone's interest to establish a clearly-defined approval
process with agreed turnaround times if the team hopes to be able to create
a work schedule.Without this in place it is going to be extremely difficult for
you to plan your writing work.
Often the process is not straightforward and a chain of approval must be
followed, which will go from the writer (in our case) to the developer, then