GDC Online: Collaboration Key to Effective Storytelling

Gamasutra gave us another update from GDC Online in Austin Tuesday morning and this one contained the writers at Star Wars: The Old Republic who stressed the importance of collaboration with other non-writing disciplines when it comes to SWTOR and even just to games in general.

“”BioWare writers are very different from other writers in the games industry,” said Hall Hood, senior writer at the studio. “”BioWare writers come on very early in development.””

As a writer (and as someone who has met BioWare writers), I cannot agree more. In the video game industry, we writers often get contracted on to close up some dialogue after the game is deep in development, as Gamasutra explains in their post.

However, with SWTOR, this was not the case. When this happens, the main story hooks are already set in stone. Writers are often used to working alone (don’t I know this one) and to learn to collaborate with others experts in the gaming field such as artists, designers, sound departments and more is different for the average writer.

It’s a group effort that feels much more like making a movie than writing a story. This is definitely true for a video game as in-depth in story as SWTOR. It’s essential that all the pieces fit together, more than just plot and character development. We also need theme, style, setting and more to come together so that it all makes sense and feels more believable.

We will see the effects of these collaborative efforts in SWTOR like never before in an MMORPG.

Lisa Clark

Lisa has been an avid gamer since she was old enough to hold her first controller and a game writer for more than a decade. A child of the Nintendo generation, she believes they just don’t make games like they used to but sometimes, they make them even better! While consoles will always be her first love, Lisa spends most of her gaming time on the PC these days- on MMOs and first-person shooters in particular.