The Writers Guild of America today announced its nominees for Outstanding Achievement in Video Game Writing. Though most look at video games for their gameplay or storytelling possibilities, many forget that someone has to sit down and write out all potential pieces of dialogue and many of the major story beats in the game.
And that’s what this award is meant to recognize, the men and women who have crafted some of the most memorable video game narratives from the past year (from Dec. 2011 to Nov. 2012 specifically — sorry Far Cry 3 fans). Moreover, it usually recognizes some of the unique voices that fly under the radar from time to time — people like Amy Hennig (Uncharted) and Patrice DÃ©silets (Assassin’s Creed).
With that being said here are the nominees for best Video Game Writing:
007 Legends, Written By Bruce Feirstein; Activision
Assassin’s Creed III, Story By Alex Hutchinson, Corey May, Matt Turner; Multiplayer Story By Richard Farrese, Jeffrey Yohalem; Lead Scriptwriter Corey May; Scriptwriter Nicholas Grimwood, Russell Lees, Matt Turner, Danny Wallace, Ceri Young; Ubisoft
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, Scriptwriting by Richard Farrese, Jill Murray; Ubisoft
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Writing Consultant Marv Wolfman; Disney Interactive Studios
Halo 4, Narrative Design Christopher Schlerf; Microsoft Studios
Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Written By John Garvin; Sony Computer Entertainment America
An eclectic group to say the least, but one that has at least one major omission: Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. Considered to be among this year’s best games, if not the best game of 2012, The Walking Dead is one of those rare games where the writing, in essence, makes the experience. To not nominate such a game is a major oversight, especially when a game like 007 Legends (which did not receive favorable reviews) is up there.
Not so fast, though; before passing judgment on The Walking Dead not making the list there’s one interesting detail to note about the WGA and who they are allowed to nominate. Essentially, the WGA has created a mini-union called the Video Game Writers Caucus and it is from there that nominees can be drawn.
And unlike the WGA, which requires 2% of every penny earned as part of the union “dues,” the VGC only asks for a $60-a-year membership fee. Anyone who isn’t interested in joining needn’t pay a penny, but, at the same time, they can’t be considered for this award.
So while we can’t say for certain that The Walking Dead‘s writers (which does include WGA member Gary Whitta) are not all members, that seems the most likely scenario. It might also explain why certain games ended up on the list while others did not, and therefore adds a new dynamic to “judging” the list.
What do you think of the games that were nominated by the WGA? Which do you think should win?
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