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How to become a Video Game Scriptwriter

A CERTAIN MASTERY OF STORYTELLING AND NARRATION

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Edouard Imbert, Senior Game Designer
Scénariste Jeux Vidéo : le maître du récit

A video game is obviously a whole universe, a story, characters, an environment, even a plot, that must be imagined.

It is the Scriptwriter's role to create this fiction while never forgetting to think about the interactive aspects of the video game. Because, in fact, the players' pleasure and satisfaction must remain the driving force behind the writing.

 

THE MISSIONS OF THE VIDEO GAME SCRIPTWRITER

Storytelling is the main mission of the Scriptwriter. He / she is responsible for building the story of the video game within the framework of a coherent universe that will be, afterwards, developed by the computer graphic designers and the Level Designers.
At the heart of the creation process, he must imagine all the characters of the game and define all their characteristics. The Scriptwriter also sets up all the game's mechanisms, namely the sequencing of the scenes, the game's structure, and anticipates the player's expectations, the gameplay, by including an interactive dimension by involving, for example, the player in the construction of the story.

A story is intended for a specific audience; thus, the Scritpwriter must anticipate the player's desires and know which tools he / she will enjoy using. The player must be able to identify with the character he / she plays, and feel involved in the mission he / she is entrusted with throughout the game.

HIS / HER KNOW-HOW, HIS / HER KNOWLEDGE

While there is no specific curriculum to train Scriptwriters, whose profile is multifaceted, they must nevertheless have an in-depth knowledge of video games, creation and production.

For this reason, a Bac+3 (3 years of higher education) in a school of cinema or video game is a common way to approach the profession. The Scriptwriter is a creative professional with a developed artistic sense and strong writing skills.

 

He / she cannot neglect the technical aspects, especially with regard to the use of professional software (graphic design, 3D creation, computer development ...) which induces a certain versatility coupled with a good team spirit. A video game is a collective project.

In order to write, to refine his scenario, the Scriptwriter often has to do a lot of research (founding myths, sociology, ethnology...).

As in all occupations in the video game industry, a good English level is essential, but also a good sense of observation and a great deal of passion!

CAREERS, SALARIES AND OPPORTUNITIES

The salary ranges from 1300€ for a beginner, to 3000€ gross monthly for an advanced Scriptwriter. It is also necessary to take into account the status (employee, temporary, freelancer), the company and the size of the project.

Salaries may be paid in advance or as copyrights for freelancers.
Everything is subject to negotiation depending on the project and his / her experience.

After several years as a video game scriptwriter, a position as project manager is quite conceivable: he / she can end up writing for cinema or television, but Scriptwriters most often remain in the digital creation environment.