If you have a knack for writing on top of having a genuine love for all things video games, why not consider looking at video game writing jobs and combining your skills and passion?
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The gaming industry has been steadily growing with the improvement of technology. Immersive gaming, esports, multifunctional video consoles, livestreaming, and mobile gaming are all projected to grow this year and beyond.
The global gaming market is expected to be worth $159.3 billion dollars, even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. By 2023, it is expected to breach the $200 billion mark.
With this growth in the gaming industry comes a growth in jobs in the industry, including video game writing.
Today, we’ll take a look at the two types of video game writing jobs, how to get these jobs, and what it takes to do these jobs successfully.
Two Types of Video Game Writing Jobs
Many writers would agree that as much as there are different kinds of writing jobs out there both online and IRL, there are also different writing specializations to fit anyone’s skill.
If you dig into the writing careers available in the video game industry, you’d see that the opportunities are mostly divided into two:
- Writing FOR video games. These writers are involved in the development of the video game itself. These writers are awesome storytellers and would excel in adding words, stories, expressions to 3D graphics of the game.
- Writing ABOUT video games. The other type of video game writing is from the perspective of a gamer or someone observing a gamer.
Both types of writing would require you to play as many video games as you can and learn about them as much as you can. If you’re not passionate or knowledgeable enough about video games, it’s going to show in your writing.
Jobs That Involve Writing FOR Video Games
If you want to be part of the team developing video games, writing for video games is the path you want to be on.
If employed with just one company, the average video game writer’s salary is $75,000 to 80,000 per year. Of course, studios with higher budgets tend to pay higher than average.
What tools will you need?
Story-based games can be exceptionally complicated with near-infinite possibilities of scripts and gameplay, depending on what the gamer chooses in the game.
- Understanding how strings work. Scriptwriting a video game isn’t like any kind of writing. You’d have to collaborate with multiple talented people when writing a “text snippet,” or what game programmers know as a “string.” This string is saved in a text database, which everyone from designer, coder, writer, and even video game testers will use to perfect the game.
- Knowing the ins and outs of gameplay. As a gamer, you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your players. You know that the options given to your player, usually called “goals” or “missions,” are what lead you to the plot of a story. This type of skill cannot be learned by the book; it’s something you learn and experience from years worth of gaming to be able to get the point of a story across with the player and game mechanics in mind.
- Practice with tools. Sites like Twine or Inform are great resources for you to use when practicing how to write creative non-linear fiction. There’s also an app called Episode that brings your story to life with ready-made graphics.
- Learn the types of video game content you’ll write. You’re going to be training yourself with new ways of writing. For example:
- Flowcharts – These make it easy for you to visualize every possible option allowed to the player.
- Side quests/missions – This goes beyond the main story and may lead to a totally different story altogether.
- Character dialogues – You’ll work on the player dialogues (which would have multiple variations at a time) and dialogues of characters the player will interact with inside the game.
- Narrations and cut scenes – These sequences are often inserted before and after a level or a mission.
- Final storyboard – If you have experience with scriptwriting in films and TV shows, this is probably the most familiar task you’ll work on. This is only written once all other content has been created since it will include every plot twist and gameplay from beginning to end.
1. Narrative Designer
Narrative designing is a mix of game designing and writing where you come up with the foundational story, subplots, character bios and backstories, general lore, and everything in between.
It also falls on the narrative designer to document game worlds, levels, missions, quests, and the actions a player can take.
Overall, a narrative designer develops a story experience that a player should have and presents it to a team of graphic designers, animators, sound engineers, and others involved in game development.
You’re most likely going to work on a particular game on a per-project basis.
If you’re serious about pursuing this career path, there are courses offered in colleges, universities, and online schools like Coursera and
The focus of a game scriptwriter is the dialogue by the characters. The main responsibility of the scriptwriter is to ensure that the dialogue at any point in the game adheres to the game narrative.
They usually write in flowcharts to make sure they have scripts for every possible action done by the player and every possible scenario that results from that action.
It involves less interaction with your colleagues who are involved in the mechanics and gameplay. You’re more likely to work with the game director or probably even the narrative designer, who would be checking your progress and guiding you until you complete the project.
Jobs That Involve Writing ABOUT Video Games
On the other hand, if you want to write from an outsider’s perspective, that is, as someone who plays and enjoys video games, there are plenty of opportunities to write about these video games.
Think contributors to Gamespot, 1Up, Polygon, and other similar gaming sites.
Most of the time, these writers are gamers themselves, which makes them quite the pro when it comes to writing about video games.
Here are writing gigs that you might be interested in.
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3. Write news and previews about upcoming video games
Use your writing skills to spread news and updates about soon-to-be-released video games.
No opinions needed here yet, so just pull out your 4Ws and 1H (who, what, where, why, and how), reporting news as they come in.
Previews are also made available by video game companies to the right writers (i.e., the popular ones) to garner publicity for their games.
4. Write reviews of recently released video games
Reviews are more personal.
You’d have to play the video game and experience the story firsthand before you can pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of a particular game.
There’s a special kind of writing skill to become a critic. Google the late, great John Peter Bain, more popularly known as ‘TotalBiscuit’ to know if you’ve got what it takes to become a video game reviewer.
5. Write tutorials about a particular video game
Game tutorials are challenging to write because you’d have to be a phenomenal gamer, or involved in the production of that game to be able to release a tutorial quickly after the release of a game.
If you’re not in a rush and prefer to write “the go-to tutorial of all tutorials,” then it’s totally up to you.
6. Write strategy guides for video games
Strategy guides are more focused on particular levels or scenarios in the game.
Players can’t get that all-important power up? Or can’t defeat a specific boss?
Help them do it.
Create a strategy guide for them and maybe even share some cheat codes to help other players just like you to complete that game.
As players would likely be searching online articles, it helps to be familiar with SEO so that your strategy guide comes up when players search the right keywords.
Work For a Company Or Go Freelance?
The cool thing about writing previews, news, reviews, and tutorials of a game is that you can eventually be your own boss by starting a blog and generating income from it, starting your own YouTube channel, writing an e-book, and following other passive income generating techniques.
Or you can find an online magazine like Gamespot and apply to become a video game writer.
You’d be surprised just how many websites are trying to get a piece of the gaming industry reporting pie.
If you land a job with any of these gaming media, expect an average salary of $70,000 per year.
Expanding Your Skill Beyond Video Game Writing Jobs
The video game designer job market is expected to grow by double digits over the next five years. Imagine how many games are scheduled to be developed, released, and played in that time.
The amazing thing about writing for the video game industry is that they are open to people wearing multiple hats, especially those wanting to make money playing video games.
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A game designer can be the scriptwriter, the scriptwriter can be a game programmer, and so on. If you’re already a part of the industry, take this opportunity to learn other skills.
Not only will expanding your skillset help you become an inch closer to a video game director job (if you wanted to), but you’re also increasing your value to an employer.
Combine your passion for writing with a live stream, and you’ve got an excellent way to make money on Twitch as well.
Does being a video game writer sound exciting to you? Which one of these writing jobs interest you the most? Tell us in the comments!