Writing for video games question

I’m just getting familiar with the world of game development and I’d love to know how you feel about the roles of a game’s writer and designer. As they seem so close as to almost be indistinguishable. Where do you draw the boundaries between what a writer and what a designer does? If a story is told through environment and gameplay, does that reduce writer’s job to just working on dialog? How much input do they have with animators, in terms of the delivery of your dialog?

Usually the same person in Indie dev, lore writers are often just bolted-on exposition.
I passionately feel all game devs should do courses in film-writing, its transformative.
Game devs believe they can plot and create characters and write dialog, most can’t…

The reason is, the work is hard! Iteration is required in dialog same as level design.
But most don’t / won’t put the effort in. I’m guilty of this myself. Its just tough hard slog.
But talented game devs with more film experience could kick out amazing classics!

They’re clearly different distinct roles in larger games

In some studios they are the same person. Like Hideo Kojima for some of the Metal Gear Solid games. I know that for MGS 2 he wrote the script and he took part in the game design. Not all of the game design however, but most of it. I’m assuming that he did the same for other games in the series. It took him at least 2 years to write that script. That’s a lot of work!

@franktech is certainly right though. Cinematic training would be soo beneficial for game developers. I myself have thought about taking some of those courses online. Character design isn’t easy, but it’s so rewarding in the long run.

We had several occasion here at our university where we discovered how story is dealth with in different team sizes and complexities.
Its always good to have someone just for story alone, but like with code: Half gamedesigner is an explosive mixture with potential :3

Well these days there is no real difference between the needs of a feature film and video games as a means of telling a story but the reading of the written story tends to create a number of different personalities based on the impression of the reader. As an animator this is a problem as the result will be my impression of the character rather than how the character is portrayed as to what they would or would not do. So in my case I usually write up a small story line, like a back story, that usually does not make for a good read but creates a better understanding of how I see the character as to their personality.


As a designer I/we tend to write stories to define the characters id, Sigourney Weaver for example as a 12 foot blue character, and the game writer is responsible for the words the character needs to speak from the printed page that does not always translate in away that makes sense.

As Harrison Ford said “You can write this stuff but you can’t say it” :wink:

Each game writer should remember that a narrative should have a story to be told. A story in this case is characterized by eventfullness and fictionality. So a writer need to tell a story about a certain event/events in which a fictional character will be the center of the event. I’m just explaining it from the linguistic point of view (based on my research on perspective and focalization in the games of the Gothic Tradition).