GDC: Evan Skolnick Asks Game Writers To 'Make It Snappier'

Writing is one of the less discussed bits of game development; Vicarious Visions producer Evan Skolnick has been doing his best to redress the balance. Whereas last year's session dealt with dialogue, this year Skolnick chose to discuss general structure.

Up front Skolnick cautioned that the session was not for professional writers, but neither was it a debate on the essence of video game narrative, or a tutorial on "how to make players cry". Rather, it was a by-the-book overview was for game industry veterans – programmers, producers – with little experience in the mechanics of storytelling.

Skolnick again cautioned not to follow the structure too slavishly - rules are only ever guidelines. The purpose of any of the structures is not to dictate, they are only ever descriptive, and thus are mostly useful as a form of generalized advice, in the event that a script feels out of whack. The writer who understands storytelling can ignore classical structures all he likes - a novice is best suited by a mentor.

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4242d ago
Covenant4242d ago

Didn't his guy once work for Marvel Comics? Can't be too many Evan Skolnicks out there.

But I agree...too many games rely on old genre cliches to tell stories. For example, Advent Rising had buggy controls, but it also had a good story. Couple that with good gameplay and you've (usually) got yourself a winner.