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Have you ever played a video game and wondered who’s behind the interesting (or completely horrible) story lines?
Have you, like me, wondered how the heck do you get a job writing video game content?
Sounds like a dream career. Getting up every day and going wherever your imagination takes you.
Aside from it being a pretty cool thing to be able to tell people when the dreaded “what do you do” question comes up at parties or events, writing video game fiction can also be a pretty lucrative way to earn a living, especially since the video game industry is really big business.
According to Statista, the value of the video game market in the U.S. in 2021 is $65.49 billion.
That means there’s plenty of room for writers like you to stake their claim on at least some of the pie and enjoy doing what you love all in the same breath.
How Much Can I Make Writing Video Game Content?
Some of the top video game writers make up to six figures writing content. But, just like with everything else, don’t expect your results to be the same.
Not saying it’s not possible, but just don’t get your hopes up and then have them crushed when you’re not making the same amount.
Writers who pull in six figures likely have a lot of experience writing within or outside the industry. So if you don’t have any experience writing video game fiction, much less writing in general, don’t expect to earn six figures in your first year of writing video game content.
The median salary for a video game writer in the United States is $70,896, according to Salary.com.
Useful Skills for a Video Game Writer
If you want to become a video game writer, the following skills would come in handy.
Writing – this one’s a no brainer. You have to be skilled at narrative storytelling and creative writing to succeed in this business.
Collaboration – you need to be able to collaborate with others so you have to work well on a team.
Game playing – As a video game writer, you should be able to understand the style of writing required for different kinds of games. It also helps to have interactive storytelling skills and the ability to write with gamers in mind.
Coding – Knowing coding isn’t necessarily a must, but it can help when talking to video game designers.
What You’ll Be Doing
As a video game writer, there are several steps in the creative process you should be aware of if you want to become one so you know what to expect.
The conception stage involves working with the video design team to come up with the game’s genre and structure. During this phase, video game writers have to do research to figure out how much writing the game is going to need. Some games require more writing than others.
The preproduction phase involves writing character backgrounds, level overviews, storylines, and possibly creating a flowchart of potential actions and storylines within the game.
The production phase involves writing text for the quests, dialogue cutscenes, and other writing needed for the game. For games with more of a narrative focus, you might be working with the director and voice actors during the recording sessions.
During the postproduction phase, you might have to play through the game and proofread it as you play. You might also have to add or remove text if there are any additions or changes made post-production.
How Do I Get into Writing Video Game Fiction?
If you’re convinced that writing video game fiction is your calling and you absolutely have to do it, you can get into it in a few different ways, which I’m about to outline below.
How to Be a Video Game Writer
A lot of video game writers start out as freelancers and then join a team of writers at a video game company. If you wanna become a video game writer, there are a few things you can do to boost your chances.
Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Scriptwriting
Top companies like to hire video game writers with a bachelor’s degree in scriptwriting or creative writing, but you might also be able to get away with taking courses in game design and coding.
Get in at the Entry Level
Another thing you should do is try to get an entry-level position in other video game departments, like marketing, production, or technical writing. You could also try to work on an indie game with a group of people already doing it to learn more about the production process.
Network with Professionals in the Industry
Networking is always a good idea. Oftentimes, it’s all about who you know so start making some connections that could help you later on. Make time to go to the Game Developers Conference or look into joining the International Game Developer’s Association.
Build Your Portfolio
Once you start getting some notches on your belt in the industry, start building your portfolio. You can also start building it by publishing short stories in literary magazines. Submit your stories to writing competitions and contests to get even more exposure.
Ready to Start Writing Video Game Fiction?
If you’re serious about writing video game fiction and you want to learn the skills needed to be a successful video game writer, check out Master Class. They’ve got a class on how to be a video game writer that could help you get your foot in the door and hopefully be well on your way to earning a good living as a video game writer.
Have you ever written video game fiction before? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments.