WGA initiates game writers

Crash of the Titans, Dead Head Fred, The Simpsons, Witcher, and World in Conflict nominated for inaugural 2008 Videogame Writer Awards.

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The latest tactic taken by the Writers Guild of America in its ongoing feud with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers guild has been to urge other like-minded unions to skip major awards shows such as the Golden Globes and the Grammys. However, that hasn't stopped the WGA from carrying on with its own awards ceremony, the 2008 Writers Guild Awards.

With film writers turning in increasing numbers to game writing, the Writers Guild Awards this year will include for the first time a category to honor those working in the games industry. The five games nominated by the WGA for this year's award run a surprisingly diverse spectrum of what the industry has to offer.

The full list of this year's nominations is as follows.

Crash of the Titans - Writer Christopher Mitchell (Sierra Entertainment)
Dead Head Fred - Writers Dave Ellis and Adam Cogan (D3 Publisher)
The Simpsons Game - Lead Writer Matt Selman, Writers Tim Long and Matt Warburton, Dialogue Jeff Poliquin (EA)
The Witcher - Lead Story Designer Artur Ganszyniec, Dialogue Sebastian Stepien, Additional Dialogue Marcin Blacha, writers Sande Chen and Anne Toole (Atari)
World in Conflict - Story Design Christofer Emgard, Story Consultant Larry Bond, Script Consultant Ed Zuckerman (Sierra Entertainment)

To be eligible for nomination in the Videogame Writing Awards, a game must have been released between December 1, 2006 and November 30, 2007. Adding the most significant limitation to the nascent award, the writers must be members of the WGA's New Media Caucus or have applied to become members. The 2008 Writers Guild Awards winners will be announced on February 9.

Discussion

60 comments
Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

Just because you haven't played a game doesn't mean you can dismiss it automatically in favour of a game you haven't. I have actually played The Witcher and can tell you it's story is infinitely better than Bioshock (which I have played as well). I cannot say it's better than Mass Effect, because I haven't played Mass Effect. I also agree that to be nominated only because you are a member or have applied to be a member seems to be dubious, but this is an organisational award for those in the organisation! Nobody complains when the Software Publishers Association announces it's games of the year, maybe because all the largest publishers belong to it?! So give this organisation a break and don't knock games just because you haven't played them!

Bodboy466
Bodboy466

@ Dryker- I was wondering why there were so few nominations and a lot of the games here, save Dead Head Fred, sucked. That they'd ignore the great stories out there just because they don't get credit is pathetic. Well, it's their awards show I guess, and it looks to be a really small, really sad one. But they better not try any of the striking crap in our medium or I'll just write the games' stories myself.

Dryker
Dryker

And the nominees are... every game writer that's actually a member of the WGA... or close enough.

MetallicaKings
MetallicaKings

mass effect had a **** story. it was an indepth, well written story, but it was ****.

SeanWithBigBall
SeanWithBigBall

mastercleft, BioShock and Mass Effect probably don't have anyone who wrote the games' story from the Writer's Guild. That means even if a game has an amazing story, BioShock has a way better story than any other game of 2007; it doesn't matter because they are not apart of the right Guild union.

mastercleft
mastercleft

Bioshock and mass effect better be nominated two of teh greatest game stories of all time

deepuism
deepuism

the award wont mean diddly-squat until video game-writers start joining the WGA. it seems like it wont be long till the award actually has some decent nominations. without mass effect or bioshock, this is utterly pointless this year.

diablobasher
diablobasher

niptucksean: You obviously didnt understand Bioshock's story. Your SUPPOSED to anticipate the plot twist.

jocool1
jocool1

Why the HELL is Mass Effect and Bioshock missing from this list?!?

KALHETMAN
KALHETMAN

The Witcher Story is Very Good.

basilfaulty
basilfaulty

I'm rooting for The Witcher and World in Conflict. Especially World in Conflict.

alejandrosimms
alejandrosimms

It's about time the writers of games were recognized. There are many games out there that have absolutely fantastic story lines. With so many people buying and playing certain games, it's a wonder it took so long to recognize these people for their work in the first place.

Keldros
Keldros

I have to agree with Skullboy on this one. I do understand the plight of Hollywood writers and actually agree that they should be given some royalties for their efforts. While producers and actors live the high life, most Hollywood writers generally live paycheck to paycheck, or have to work another job just to make ends meet between jobs, seasons, or contracts. The gaming industry, however, is a different matter entirely. As games become more sophisticated, professional writers are needed to provide the deeper stories and complex plots that gamers are now craving in greater quantity. That said, however, as games are a far more interactive medium, game writers have to interact far more with the development team, and no matter how good the story is the game won't fly without decent gameplay to keep the player moving through it. Unlike movies and TV, a game sinks or swims based on the whole team's effort, not just on the writing or scripting in the game. While they are an integral part of the team and should be given their due, they are no greater a piece than the other members. Why should a writer for a game receive any greater credit or slice of the pie than the guys who coded the entire game engine, or the designer who crafted the intricate levels, or the artists who rendered all the beautiful graphics and models? The fact that to receive the award you have to be a member says it all. They are not truly awarding for best story or writing in the game industry, but awarding for the best Writer's Guild members who also just happen to be in the gaming industry. That some of the year's most monumental games with incredible writing and scripting throughout are not on the list is quite telling.

LordSpleach
LordSpleach

Like a porn site, you have to be a member to see anything at all!

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

SC-RE-W the WGA. Why should they be allowed to even have awards considering the globes and emmy's and oscars and crap all have to be cancelled because of them? Not only that, but why isn't Mass Effect on that list at all?

bossjimbob
bossjimbob

Not interested in joining the WGA.

Blue_Heeler
Blue_Heeler

Unions were fine back int he day, but now it's just a crutch to hold over a company's head to reward lousy workers.

niptuckSean
niptuckSean

A predictable plot twist =/= good story, ahem, BioShock.

Axe_336
Axe_336

So, is the reason why these seem far from the best writings because they have to be WGA members? Also, if the WGA strike affected video game writers.... Would that really affect the vast majority of video games. (For those not catching it, thats suppoed to be a jab at the fact that most games have no, or crap stories)

diablobasher
diablobasher

Ok, The Witcher, World in Conflict and The Simpsons (Because it's hilarious) but Crash?! Wtf.?

Franzkill
Franzkill

Uggh Heroes Volume 3 is being delayed because of this stupid writer's strike.

Azwhtknight
Azwhtknight

Obviously there are a limited number of game writers in the union right now. Maybe more writers will join up now to take credit for their games. But then again if you unionize and the union goes on strike, you are stuck. Unions are good that they make improvements for the industry as a whole, but you don't have to be in the unions to benefit from them. Why don't they just come out with an award that recognizes writers based on merit not on unions. I feel that would be a more fair way to do it and then there would be more competition so that the game industry would benefit. Think about it. What game wouldn't want to be able to prove how good it is by being award winning?

Lumenadducere
Lumenadducere

Yeah, skullboy definitely got it right. This isn't really much of anything except the WGA acknowledging some of their writers who also happened to write for some games. Good for them, but it really doesn't mean much for the industry.

NatalieGamer
NatalieGamer

Awesome. I love games with good writing. Always thought the good writers in games don't get much recognition. Hopefully this will help the quality of writing in games evolve.

skullboy
skullboy

As someone who has written script material for over 20 published games, and continue to do so as part of my daily job, I can say this is a totally pointless award given by a totally irrelevant guild to a group of individuals who only qualify because they are coincidentally also in (or trying to get in) the WGA (so that they can sell that screenplay and get out of games, most likely). In fact, I would bet money that the 5 titles above are likely the ONLY games with any WGA involvement... Game writers are usually paid as work-for-hire, meaning 'cash down, without royalties', or they simply do the job as part of the fulltime employee job description. Neither route is covered by the Guild currently, and from what I've learned and heard from WGA members, such coverage would not be ideal to any degree. In fact, if the Guild had been involved in game writing, then current game dev would be just as crippled by the strike as the TV and Film industries are. And we all know how long and fragile game development is anyway -- such a strike would ruin or kill the development of any Bioshock 2's or Mass Effect 2's or any other 2's spinning off of story-dependant franchises. Congratulations, guys-whos-names-are-listed-above, for being in the right rolodex at the right time, but we all know what writing contributions are missing from the list, even if the WGA can't officially acknowledge any of them for themselves.

Mattyrock
Mattyrock

Hope "The Witcher" wins, awesome game.

Pete5506
Pete5506

What about BioShock and or Mass Effect

syafiqjabar
syafiqjabar

Call of Duty 4 shouldn't be nominated, it stole its story from an entire season of '24'. Not borrowed, copied, or took cues. But Stole. Plagiarized. But that said, some of the writers of the games you mentioned are not part of WGA. That's why they're not there

Evil_Zio
Evil_Zio

I like that Dead Head Fred is one of the nominees. That's one of the games that I wanted to play on the PSP because it had no chance of being ported to the PS2 since it had nothing to do with Grand Theft Auto, Lumines, and now Silent Hill.

ratamahat
ratamahat

Remember that, as the article says, the writers must be members of the WGA's New Media Caucus. So, perhaps some of the games you think should be nominated aren't up there because they're not members?

brainboy77777
brainboy77777

metroid was more deserving than crash. yeah, mass effect was more detailed, but MP3C had a pretty good story.

TacoJelly
TacoJelly

I think this is awesome. When this strike is over, I'll have a easier way into the game industry.

twiztdmike
twiztdmike

Almost every bioware title has a FAR better story than any of those game. Theres no way dead head fred has a better story line than baldurs gate. If those are the nominees I don't care sbout the award at all.

Bodboy466
Bodboy466

Pretty sad. If these are the games being honored for writing then our industry is in big trouble. Call of Duty 4 and Folklore should be topping this list. Well, I can't say I ever placed much faith in mass media award shows or the like anyway, so 'whatever' I guess.

tclvis
tclvis

Regardless of who does it, or why, I do think game script writers deserve significant recognition and credit for their work. We know what games look like without talented writers, so I for one am very grateful to them. Sure, I can go shoot a bunch of aliens or hack and slash a bunch of monsters, but it's way more fun when I care about why I'm doing it. And three more cheers for The Witcher.

_Sam_
_Sam_

ldonyo - Video game writers are probably in the same situation as WGA writers. They aren't getting paid for new media. I don't think "virtual console" and all of the other downloadable games were included in any contracts. All of the people who worked on the games might not be getting any money for their work on downloaded games.....