Writers Guild to honor gaming scribes

New award intended to encourage storytelling excellence, uniform standards in the field; first winner to be named in February.

Game developers have for years increasingly stressed the importance of having good stories to complement canny gameplay. And although those efforts might be appreciated by players of tautly scripted role-playing games or especially engaging action games, they've gone largely unheralded by the nongaming world.

That's set to change, given that the Writers Guild of America has announced plans to give out its first Videogame Writing Award at next year's Writers Guild Awards, scheduled for February 9 in Los Angeles. Championed by the guild's New Media Caucus, the award is intended "to encourage storytelling excellence in video games, to improve the status of writers, and to begin to encourage uniform standards."

To be eligible, writers must submit work for consideration before noon Pacific on November 21, and the credited writer must be or apply to become a member of the New Media Caucus at the time of entry. Further regulations state that the games in question must be released between December 1, 2006, and November 30, 2007, and that the writer must hold a credit specifically related to writing. Those whose credited position includes other duties (such as lead designer or producer) will not be eligible.

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Discussion

56 comments
Dreski83
Dreski83

well... at least if Mass Effect is as good as many story lovers hope, the game could be considered. Its pretty cool tho that videogames are getting even more exposure from the nongaming community ;)

ThaSod
ThaSod

This has to be a good thing. Yeah!

fionndruinne
fionndruinne

I can't say how much I'm hankering after a good RPG with a kicker of a story. Something like the way Neverwinter Nights got you into the backstories of your henchmen, with the originality of the characters in Final Fantasy XII, and the gripping story of a game like Morrowind... all rolled into one. Y'know? Maybe encouraging game story writers will make stuff like this happen. here's to hoping.

CrushedGroove
CrushedGroove

This is an amazing development. Now video game writers can start getting some professional attention and respect. Hopefully, this will inspire more writers to dig deep for original stories as the chance to be recognized for doing so is greatly improved.

majin_vegeta300
majin_vegeta300

Uniform standards for writing? Seems like it would restrict creative flow if they had to follow a template for writing a stroy.

dechristo
dechristo

I reckon Haze because it has already got some credit from the royal Shakespeare society

Kenshin836
Kenshin836

The writers at Bioware definitely deserve some recognition. Whoever wrote Bioshock deserves some as well.

redskinStu
redskinStu

Yeah, they're great writers alright. "So what did Microsoft, EA, UbiSoft etc. want me to put in this review?"

jcloverboy
jcloverboy

This is long overdo. Of the games that fit into the time period that's being considered. It is safe to say that BioShock is indeed the frontrunner right now.

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

@JimBurber, It's a shame you feel that way, you missed out on alot of good stuff the past 10 years. Any real gamer would disagree with you, my friend. Oh well....to each their own. You probably think Halo is the best thing ever right? Too bad so many people see it that way as well.

Space-Q
Space-Q

"...hell, if I played games for the story, I'd probably only have played between 5 and 10 in my entire life." That's not the only reason we play but when the story is there it makes it that much better. For me those 5-10 games are easily the best I've ever played. God of war 1 and 2, SotC, gears, colony wars, heavenly sword, MGS 1 & 3(not 2). GTA: SA...

Space-Q
Space-Q

thank god thank god thank god thank god. I can't believe I'm not the only alive who wants to see better stories in games. Story should be THE most important thing in SP mode. I can only hope we see more games with stories as good as God of war or shadow of the colossus, with acting as good as heavenly sword. Hell...even gears...that writing was cheesey but it worked perfectly for the game. God of war 2 for the win!

Jebril
Jebril

I guess the Gamespot users aren't good readers yet alone writers.

TheBatman2004
TheBatman2004

Well, I think games like Knights of the Old Republic, Resident Evil, and Half Life should be all in. All had great gameplay, and great storylines.

DonutTrooper
DonutTrooper

I'd like to see Metal Gear Solid up there. Just seems to have the best and oftenly confusing plot twists.

Ryking
Ryking

Fatal Frame would get my vote. Awesome storyline I thought. Only thing that bothers me is that - "credited writer must be or apply to become a member of the New Media Caucus at the time of entry". Do you have to pay to become a member? And will videogame writers actually join if there is a membership fee?

FadeVermont
FadeVermont

Even though older storylines won't be considered for this award its still fun to talk about past inspiration. My vote would be the original Xenogears. Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger would be close as well.

hermes200
hermes200

Well, I think that is cool. Is the kind of recongnition that can help the industry go from "serial killer training tool" to a valid art work.

FadeVermont
FadeVermont

This is a great step in many ways. Hopefully more awards will start going out to game writing. The more recognized game writing is, the more developers will put money into the stories of their games. I've always wanted to write a story for a game. I think now that this step has been made more people will have a chance at writing great stories for games. P.S. I don't really understand the Kojima bashing. Some of the latest FFs from square have really missed the mark so I understand the frustration there. But Kojima is a philosopher king when it comes to storylines imo. MGS2 was so much better than people make it out to be. It broke away from traditional storytelling. Convoluted? or just told differently? Most people hate, because they don't understand. I won't be surprised if I see the MGS series nominated someday.

lsny
lsny

I can't say any Japanese RPG/game deserves to win an award considering the stories are even more contrived and puerile, with the illusion of being deep and meaningful, than most manga/anime plots, with extremely rare exceptions. The appeal in games is the gameplay (a passable narrative certainly helps)...hell, if I played games for the story, I'd probably only have played between 5 and 10 in my entire life.

cqdemal
cqdemal

Does anybody ever read an article through to the end? Most of the titles mentioned in this thread weren't released anywhere close to 01/12/06-30/11/07. BioShock has already won, IMO.

Shoitaan
Shoitaan

Planescape: Torment The greatest narrative to ever be told through video games.

tshack5188
tshack5188

Anyone like Baten Kaitos' story? I'd nominate that or maybe eternal darkness

JimBurber
JimBurber

KamuiFei, save it, Kojima and Square-Enix have reused the same ideas over and over so many times I lost interest about a decade ago.

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

It's a shame, the best stories from gaming are all from Japan. I hope they get in on this too. Kojima and Square-Enix are nominees to say the least. Halo's story is garbage, you can find better on Sci-Fi originals lol. Bioshock's story didn't really do anything for me, it was ok I guess, just my opinion (no need to yell, I can sense it coming, hehe).

lamprey263
lamprey263

So wait, is this a contest for people to come up with new content to be considered for awards, so then the writers can find publishers to invest in script ideas, or is this rewarding writers for their completed works? Oh, do tell Sinclair, 'cause I love writing contests.

HyperMetaDragon
HyperMetaDragon

Whoa, I thought this was talking about the union I'm in. :P

SteveT_AU
SteveT_AU

This will have happened because people who are already Writer's Guild members (ie: film and TV writers), are increasingly the people who are writing for games now. So they probably lobbied for their work in games to be recognised by the Guild. And that probably means that only these people (ie: people who are already members of the Guild) will be eligible for the award, since I don't think they give out these awards to just anyone. Which would rule out Japanese games, and any game writing that doesn't have a recognised scribe behind it. But that probably makes Bioshock the leading contender (since designer Ken Levine has a film/TV background).

peacenutman
peacenutman

Shadow of the Colossus, anyone who beat this game would agree with me. Also ICO.

X-RS
X-RS

truly what is neede. some games have a great concept for a story but then the game doesnt perform well. this is good news.

Shifty3421
Shifty3421

I have some sinking feeling this will go to the folks at Bungie because the guild doesn't know any better... What I'm trying to say is that the guild will fail to recognize any other game with a good story and give it away to Halo's story write because of its popularity. Do they really know what they're doing? Not saying the Halo story is bad, but it's far from the best and I mean not just FPS games here.

shadowslayer30
shadowslayer30

Very good for gaming in general. Story driven games are the best type IMHO. I would like to nominate the guy who did the Halo 3 story....I would have rather had it be the Halo 1 story, but Halo 3's is still great.

john1912
john1912

MG2 story SUCKED! I dont know what ruined the game more, the story or raiden.

ColeTrain09
ColeTrain09

umm...Bioshock has this in the bag...

topgunmv
topgunmv

I thought mgs2's biggest complaint was a bad story?

jakndaxter7223
jakndaxter7223

best story....MGS2, Eternal Darkness, and LOCO ROCO

cos_vanquish
cos_vanquish

This is awesome. It's about time they got an award for their department of work.

Darth_Tyrranus
Darth_Tyrranus

I think it is safe to assume that an MMORPG will not win this award.

XenoSage
XenoSage

Uhh...I don't think Kojima could send something....isn't he also the director or producer or something? I think his stories are great but I wouldn't call them the best. I really disliked the ending and themes on MGS 1& 2. 3 actually had a nice ending and I liked the theme and how the ending talked about sacrifice. Also, although I love the dialogue I think it's kinda too lengthy. Not that I mind but there were many parts throughout the series where I felt like the characters wouldn't talk as long (and survive!) as they did in certain situations believable. I understand that some villains need to have their monologue but do all the characters???? IMO the best story was FFIX. I just love everything about it and found that I could relate to it somewhat. The ending I also thought was the most satisfying and most memorable as well. I also loved how the story was very dark yet keeping the dialogue humorous. Anyways that's just my opinion.

Axe_336
Axe_336

Well I know whoever did Bioshock's story will be on the list. Is it open to Japanese designers too I wonder.....