What does it take to break into the games writing industry? How exactly do you go about it? Weaving engaging storylines and being part of where the magic happens may seem like a pipe dream, but all you need is one transferable skill – and the courage to try.
A career in writing
At the online conference Pocket Gamer Connects Digital 4 (November 2020), writer Antony Johnston talks about his journey from magazine journalism, via conjuring the odd tale here and there on his manual typewriter, to penning some of the most well-loved narratives today. Johnston wrote the graphic novel that became the movie Atomic Blonde. He also penned the script for the videogames Dead Space and Resident Evil: Village, and much more besides. In this video, he talks about how writing skills he learned early in his career serve him well as he explores other media.
Crafting masterful plots and dialogues that make an impact is not as gargantuan a task as you might think. With the titles of journalist, webcomics writer, novelist, games writer, film producer, screenwriter, short film director, graphic novelist, and more under his belt, Johnston shares valuable insights on how to navigate the landscape of different industries using one core skill: writing stories.
Transferable transmedia skills
He talks about how playing tabletop RPGs and writing 4,000 lines of one-liner insults for the orcs of Shadow Of Mordor contributed to his writing career in different formats. Each new writing venture offers something new to learn from and to adapt to. He also relays the importance of letting go of your ego especially when it comes to collaborating with other writers and artists.
How do you balance writing for survival and writing for pleasure? What’s the process for getting the narrative or the visual story of a graphic novel across? Towards the end of this One Skill Is Enough video session, Johnston answers a few hand-picked questions from the audience to cap off the talk. If you’re interested in transmedia trends, you’ve always wanted to know how writing games works, or if you’re a novelist or any creative looking to expand your horizons, this half-hour session from the writer of Resident Evil: Village and the creator of Atomic Blonde is well worth your time.