Computer Games Writer

Introduction

As a Computer Games Writer you will create and lead the games storyline - what happens, when, why, and how does the storyline resolve itself? All these aspects need to be carefully planned and written. Some computer games might require a team of writers, whilst some mobile games with a small team may only need the one writer.

Also known as

  • Video Games Writer

Work Activities

As a Computer Games Writer you will create and lead the games storyline - what happens, when, why, and how does the storyline resolve itself? All these aspects need to be carefully planned and written.

There are different types of Computer Games Writer including:

  • Lead Writers - as a Lead Writer you will be responsible for managing a team of Writers. As well as creating and shaping the game's narrative along with the Narrative Designer(s), you will also work on character creation and development. You might also be involved in casting and voice recording sessions.
  • Narrative Designers - as a Narrative Designer you will be responsible for designing all the narrative elements of a game, including story structure, character, the games context, dialog etc. It is important that you create an effective narrative, which fits seamlessly into the game design.
  • Lore Writer - opportunities for Lore Writers are particularly rare, as it is such a specialised and sought-after role. As a Lore Writer you will be responsible for creating and writing and in-depth history of the games fictional world - you will create the underlying story that makes the player feel as though they are part of a real, living and breathing world.

Some computer games might require a team of Writers, whilst some mobile games with a small team may only need the one Writer.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Computer Games Writer, you'll need:

  • a good knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, computer games
  • to have read lots of books, including short stories
  • to understand the technical side of computer games. Learn about coding, design and computer games development.
  • to have made your own computer games. The are plenty of tools to help you, such as GameMaker and Unity 5. You will develop the skills required to impress any potential employer!
  • to get some experience reviewing computer games, even if it just for your own pleasure

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates below are approximate.

  • Starting: £23,500 - £24,500
  • With experience: £26,000 - £31,000
  • Senior Computer Games Writers earn £33,000

Your salary might include performance-related pay, profit share or company bonuses.

Hours of work

You would usually usually work 35-37 hours, Monday to Friday. However, late finishes and some weekend work are often required, especially as deadlines approach.

Where could I work?

Most computer games companies are based in London. However, significant computer games industry 'hubs' are growing throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for experienced Writers to become self-employed and work freelance.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in specialist magazines/websites such as Edge, on IT job boards and employers' websites, in national newspapers, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus.

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

So, how do I become a Computer Games Writer?

Although it is a very exciting jobs role that will appeal to many many people, there are very few vacancies for Computer Games Writers in this country. It is vital that you look for other employment first, before considering a move into this area.

What other employment could you do that could help you one day become a Computer Games Writer?

Writing experience is vital - take a some careers that could be useful for this career:

  • Author
  • Technical Author
  • Court Reporter
  • Journalist
  • Proofreader
  • Scriptwriter
  • Translator

These fantastic career options will all give you excellent writing experience.

But what else can you do to get into this area?

Networking is an important way of getting your face known. Visit computer games companies and speak to them - ask if you can get some work experience, even if it is answering the phone and making the coffee - it all helps to get your foot in the door.

Talk to Computer Games Writers, and find out as much as you can. Follow them on Social Media and engage in meaningful discussions with them.

Create you own computer games and take part in GameJams. A quick Google search will show you where and when the next GameJams are taking place.

Or take a look at:

http://globalgamejam.org/

Write short stories, and maybe even try to get them published. Build up a portfolio of your writing work. Short stories will give you the chance to show that you can write well and write concisely.

Eventually, you will need to knock on doors and find a suitable computer games writing role - and all of the above will improve the chances of you being invited in for a chat!

Training

If you would like some more training, the UK Writers College offer a course in writing for video games. This course has a range of units, which include:

  • webisodes
  • online interactive videos
  • video games
  • the limitations and considerations of a short form and small screen storytelling
  • hooks and cliff-hangers
  • how to develop effective video game characters
  • visual features
  • world building
  • how to create and design dilemmas
  • storytelling through game mechanics

Please check the website for dates and availability.

Other courses could be available in your area.

Work Experience

Previous experience working in IT would be really useful for this career.

Qualifications

There are no specific qualifications for getting into this career. However, we recommend that you consider working in another career first, and so you will need to look carefully at that careers required entry routes and qualifications.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Access courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

However, there are no specific qualifications for getting into this career. We recommend that you consider working in another career first, and so you will need to look carefully at that careers required entry routes and qualifications. Experience is valued by employers far higher than specific qualifications.

Further Information

ScreenSkills

Skills for the creative industries

Email: info@creativeskillset.org

Website: www.creativeskillset.org

The Tech Partnership

Skills for business and information technology

Address: 1 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DR

Tel: 020 7963 8920

Email: info@e-skills.com

Website: www.e-skills.com

Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts

Email: london@ccskills.org.uk

Website: ccskills.org.uk

Tech Partnership

Email: info@thetechpartnership.com

Website: www.thetechpartnership.com/

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

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