Video Game Writing — Syllabus

Gotham has two separate programs for Video Game Writing—Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 should be taken first. If, after Part 1, you wish to continue learning, then take Part 2.

The topics covered in Part 1:

Playing a Story: What’s different about videogame writing? A tour through the various video game genres. Bringing story to game mechanics—goals, objects, actions, space, rules.

Creating Characters, Gameplay, and Theme: How theme works. Character goals (extrinsic and intrinsic) and tactics. Merging character and theme with gameplay.

Interactive Story Structure: A tour through the various types of game story structure— traditional, multiple ending, branching, modular, and emergent.

The topics covered in Part 2:

Writing the Script: Dialogue. Character voice. Scene construction. Long and short questions. Script formatting. Types of scenes—CGI cutscenes, in-engine cutscenes, scripted events, incidental dialogue.

Narrative Design 1: Assets and Writing: Understanding the totality of the game experience. Exploration of game “assets”—art, music, animation. The “feel” of a game.

Narrative Design 2: Working in Levels: Narrative design principles—writing as reward, lingering, the feedback loop. Storytelling in linear levels and open world levels.