Angry Robot

WGA Announces Nominees for Best Writing in a Game

Angry that the WGA was sticking their paws in my gaming cookie jar and mucking it up with “awards” and “standards of excellence”.

I’ll say when a game has kick bawls writing! Me and no other!

Then D pointed out to my angered self that the writers of these games are all WGA members, hence the short and confusing list. He then went on to say that they are breaking in with this awards business in order to take over the whole writing in games. This just elevated my anger levels to new heights! He mentioned something abotu better rates and stuff…But I dislike the fact that in order to work in anything like film or tv, even down to the smallest job, you have to be a member of some sort of union.

Now I get that unions exist for a reason, lots of very good reasons, but the game industry was this place where people created these epic stories without having to be part of some sort of pay your way through pecking order. But standards exist for a reason…for everyone to at least meet them and then try to exceed them. And better writing arcoss the board in games would be good…I just don’t know.

I’m all a flutter about this and I’m not completely sure why.

What do you think?

3 comments on "WGA Announces Nominees for Best Writing in a Game"

  1. D says:

    Hell I’ll tell you what I think!

    Ask EA employees how great it is to be nonunion. Now union workers in film and TV work brutal hours, but at least they are compensated well for it, and at least there’s some kind of logic for the 15 hour days (cost of studios, locations, equipment). Whereas you hear of even more brutal hours in video game development, with no good reason other than general bad planning and corporate cheapness, you start to think them workers should organize.

    Which is not to say that unions are always good – god knows the whole concept of seniority has just as many weaknesses as strengths. And it’s also not to excuse the strangeness of that list of nominees. I mean, I’m only guessing that the awards are only for WGA winners and that’s what’s going on, I don’t know for sure.

  2. Nadine says:

    Yes, I know all about the EA HellaDome workplace…But I’m just saying in terms of the writing I dislike the idea that you would have to be a WGA or WGC member. I think that writing for games shouldn’t be a unionized thing because that limits the pool of talent for the genre. And I do think that to write games you have to think in different terms than for a film script.

    I need to think more on this…

  3. D says:

    Well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the talent pool shrinks. In Canada you’re eligible to join the WGC simply by getting hired as a writer (if that prodco was a signatory to the guild), so it could never prevent you from getting a job. You also don’t have to join the guild to take the job (but you’d actually pay more in dues that way). If you look at the plus side, in a general sense, as better wages, benefits, royalties etc, it’s hard to see joining the guild as a bad deal for writers, and unionization in general is rarely a bad deal for workers. At least in the early to middle stages.

    This doesn’t mean that a stacked awards ceremony is in any way justifiable, if that’s what’s going on. Is it? Here are the rules:


    _Work that was not produced under WGA jurisdiction may be submitted.

    Submitted games MUST have separate credit for writing (i.e. Written By, Story By, Writer, Story Designer, etc.). Writing credits must be verified by their inclusion in the game manual. If writing credits are not printed in the game manual, the publisher must fax or e-mail screenshots of the game’s complete writing credits directly to Melissa Gage at the WGAW, fax no.: (323) 782-4810 e-mail: Melissa Gage. Alternate proof of writing credit will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

    At the time the script is submitted, the credited writer(s) of the game must be, or apply to become, a member of the WGA’s New Media Caucus.

    Scripts must be submitted in a reasonable approximation of a standard film or TV script format, and must clearly demonstrate a progression of the story. In addition to the script, a synopsis (1-2 pages) is required. The synopsis should describe the flow of the storyline and serve to clarify the game experience.

    Submitted scripts should be no longer than 350 pages and printed on 81/2 X 11 white paper. Abridged submissions that maintain the integrity of the narrative are acceptable in order to comply with the maximum page limit. In the case of multiple story pathways, it is acceptable to choose a single path.

    Any script consisting solely of random in-game dialog will not be considered.


    So, the problem may be that not that many companies/writers submitted their stuff since it’s only the first year the awards are to be given out.

    While it’s true that “to write games you have to think in different terms than for a film script”, that has nothing to do with unionization.

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