Typically when you hear someone talk about breaking into the video gaming industry, chances are the person babbling on about the idea has his or her aim set on programming in some capacity. Programming is certainly important, but creating a game takes much more than just proficiency with C programming or middleware. All of the realistic physics and cel-shading in the world is for naught without memorable characters and a solid storyline. Write The Game takes a look into what it takes to become a game writer.
The sad thing is, most game companies will always put programmers before writers. The reason for this is pretty simple. A game without a story-line can still be fun, playable and profitable. A game without programming, however, is not.
The good thing is, this is changing. Lots of game studios are now investing in writers. Story-line is starting to sell, and although it will always be at the lower end of the priority chain, a career as a game writer will be viable pretty soon.
However, in my experience, the route by which writers become video game writers is often fairly roundabout and unexpected. Studios are usually only interested in successful writers - people who have published novels or created blockbuster film scripts.
One of my early career aspirations as a child was to be — and I hope you'll pardon the technical term here — "the guy who comes up with the Pidgits". What better playground for an active imagination than a video game world with its seemingly limitless settings, props, characters, and narratives? I remember spending a lot of time with a Commodore 64 program that allowed me to create my own basic 2D shooter. I could edit sprite templates to create enemies, power-ups, and the other elements that go into a typical Xevious knock-off, but most of my time working on these games was spent conceiving the plot behind why the little red guys were shooting at the little blue guys. If there's ever a demand for two minutes of gameplay preceded by ten minutes of opening text crawl, I'm ready.