Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
In any case, what I'm getting at here is that you'll be pulled in a lot of directions
and may have to chart a course for your story and dialogue that you do not like one
little bit.
To survive this, here are some tips:
Research the IP. Get to know the characters inside and out, as well as their
setting. Constantly ask for research material so you can know exactly how your
characters will act and react in any circumstance. The better you can hit this
mark, the more the people who read your writing will trust you and leave you
alone to do your work. One note, however: not only will you need to know
the characters of the license inside and out, but you'll have to figure out how
these characters are interpreted by the people who give you your orders.
For instance, for your lead designer, the plucky boy wizard is primarily focused
on making trouble for his arch-nemesis. The author might feel that the key
to the character is his relationship with his friends. The publisher's producer
may feel that the character's real appeal is the powers he wields and how that
appeals to his preteen fans' need for empowerment. All these people may be
right, but you'll need to spend a lot of time listening so you can walk that line
that keeps your every word from being edited 16 times.
Build consensus amongst your own team and your studio. As the writer,
you probably won't be invited to high-level meetings reviewing the work you
do. You need to make friends and get buy-in with the people who will be there.
Your producer, the studio head, etc. will be the ones defending your writing to
the publisher, so they need to believe in your talent and resist changes being
handed down from above. They also need to be familiar enough with your
efforts to be able to understand why you are writing the story the way you are.
Once again, listening is key here. Make sure your benefactors know you are
there to make the game they want to make. To do that, you need to really
understand what they want, which takes a lot of being quiet and listening and
not expounding on your own take of the characters you are writing for.
Be flexible. Most writers are highly defensive about their work and will fight
to keep it unchanged even if they know it's not quality. Don't be one of those
guys: keep communication open and make sure you aren't making everyone
else's day worse by clinging to your precious prose. Try very hard to stay en-
ergetic and involved in making sure that you and the people trying to modify
your writing are working together to make the game everybody feels they want
to make.
Don't do an end-run around process: generally, it won't be your job to contact
and talk to the publishers or the license holders. It is a hard thing to not want
to shorten communication lines and try to understand why these people don't
seem to agree with any of the directions you have taken. However, doing an
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