The Writers Guild of America may most commonly be associated with television and film writers, but as video games grow in prominence as leaders in new media and entertainment, so to does the recognition for the story tellers of the more interactive medium.
The Game Awards and the Canadian Videogame Awards both took place before the new year, honoring the best in games for 2014, and earlier we shared the finalists for the 2015 Game Developers Choice Awards. Now we're going to hone in an focus on the writing aspect of video games in 2014.
2015 represents the eighth year the WGA has shared an award for video games and most years there's a little controversy over the union rules on eligibility which has caused them to skip some of the best written-games in recent years (Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead and BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins). This year may be different however since the rules explicitly reads, "work that was not produced under WGA jurisdiction was also eligible for submission." The full eligibility statement is below:
To be eligible for WGA consideration, games must have been released between December 1, 2013 and November 30, 2014, and feature on-screen writing credit(s). Credited videogame writers must have been or must have applied to become members of the WGA Videogame Writers Caucus at the time scripts were submitted. Work that was not produced under WGA jurisdiction was also eligible for submission.
Update: The WGA sent us the following clarification on how "not produced under WGA jurisdiction" can also be eligible:
Although work not produced under the jurisdiction of the WGA is eligible for Videogame Writing Award consideration, credited writers must be members or apply to become members of the WGA Videogame Writers Caucus at the time of the submission.
The nominees for Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing:
- Alien: Isolation - Writers Dan Abnett, Dion Lay, Will Porter; SEGA
- Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry, Lead Scriptwriter Jill Murray; Scriptwriter Melissa MacCoubrey; Story by Jill Murray, Hugo Giard, Wesley Pincombe; Ubisoft
- Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Story by Alexandre Amancio, Sylvain Bernard, Travis Stout; Scriptwriting Alexandre Amancio, Travis Stout, Russell Lees, Darby McDevitt, Ceri Young; Additional Scriptwriting Jeffrey Yohalem; Ubisoft
- The Last of Us: Left Behind, Written by Neil Druckmann; Sony Computer Entertainment
Remember, the category is based on writing and not overall quality (or stability) of the games. It's unsurprising then, that one of the selections is based on a movie franchise while the others (two of which are DLC) currently have live-action film adaptations in development (Assassin's Creed just got a December 2016 release date). The sketchy element here is that Freedom Cry actually released in December 2013 and was re-released in February 2014 as a standalone title. With that in mind, it's a shame that other strong stories of video games in 2014 didn't get more love.
The Writers Guild Awards honor outstanding writing in film, television, new media, videogames, news, radio, promotional, and graphic animation categories. The awards will be presented jointly at simultaneous ceremonies on Saturday, February 14, 2015, in Los Angeles at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza and in New York City at the Edison Ballroom.
Sorry to the games releasing in December that aren't for consideration each year.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.