Want to write for video games? ‘I’d make a comic and network the hell out of it’

Did you know that video games can be quite wordy these days?

While Johnson Ford was able to write the script for Space Invaders in an afternoon on one side of A4 – “Bleep, bleep, bleep. Pew, pew. Kshhhhhh” – a video game in 2013 can be every bit as epic, complicated or emotionally engaging as any Hollywood blockbuster.

Of course the big difference is that a video game snatches control from the writer and gives it to the audience. It’s a bit of an alien world for most but – according to a similarly mysterious Reddit writer who has spent 10 years writing for big budget games – scribblers from more traditional corners of the writing world can still crossover.

“I’ve known of a couple guys who were pulled in based on their IMDB Pro profile on previously produced screenplays, but that seems to be more the exception than the rule,” says the writer, who goes by the handle ‘dhpye’. “It’s really a rather small industry, and networking is easily the best way to break in.

“For myself, I’ve only ever hired a couple of writers, and neither had any video game experience: one guy wrote dark fairy tales; the other was a NY-times bestselling author who we picked up because he’d written a successful comic book series (which was one component of the project), and we’d wanted to attach his name to the project.

“For myself it was writing a stage production that got me my first gig – and that play had nothing to do with videogames.

“I’ve also trolled around comic conventions looking for writers – both small local events and at Comic-con itself,” adds dhpye. “Putting out a good (quality) comic is a great ‘in’ for video games as well as film – it can separate you from the herd, and busy (lazy) execs can quickly tell if you’ve got a quality product.

“A couple of guys I wanted to hire, based on their comics, it turned out were already working in the videogame industry. If I wanted to break in today, I’d make a comic, and network the hell out of that thing.”

So there you have it, apart from the fact that writing a comic book can be every bit as perplexing as writing a video game. Look out for that blog post soon!

Oh and that scrap of Space Invaders trivia? I made that up. There is no Johnson Ford.

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