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Video Game Writing

Taught by video game writing expert and BAFTA award winner Marianne Krawczyk, this 10-week course is an intimate workshop limited to 14 students. Each will have the opportunity to write a spec level of a game, a fully realized game story in a professional industry-standard narrative design document and a narrative green-light pitch.

Application Deadline: September 12, 2017

Admission: College juniors and above are eligible to apply. Click here for an application form.

Course Start Date: Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Workshop Day/Time: Tuesdays, 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Class Size: 14 students (maximum)

Tuition: $1,500

Acceptance: Students will be notified of their acceptance status by September 13, 2017.

Please note: This course will meet 10 times over an 11-week period. There will be no class during the week of Thanksgiving.

About Video Game Writing: The workshop environment encourages collaboration, direct interaction and feedback between students, instructors and guest speakers. Students will write a spec level of a game and develop a professional narrative design document for a full game level through the following steps:

• Sourcing their story from different literary choices

• Building a world around the story

• Developing characters and avatars

• Designing player mechanics and write a game-script

Students will:

• Learn how to create rich, compelling and ultimately powerful narrative experiences for players

• Learn how to face the challenges unique to video game writers

• Discover how the craft of game writing diverges from traditional storytelling

• Gain insight into emerging opportunities for writers in the gaming industry

The course will include:

Game story analysis: What’s been done, what could have been done better and how these compare to the game story that is being created in class.

Writing a sample level from a favorite game: Taking a published game, students will be asked to create a level that they believe would have helped the game and the narrative.

Finding strong game stories: Not all stories are right for the game space. Finding the proper story and creating situations where inactivity promotes narrative is an essential component.

Building living worlds: In games, the environments are as important as any character because the player constantly interacts with their surroundings, and the world itself helps deliver the narrative and back-story.

Developing interesting characters: Defined characters, open characters, avatars and NPCs all serve a different purpose. Learn what they are and how to utilize them to strengthen a story.

Designing narrative-driven mechanics: What a player does in a game and how that relates to the story is essential when creating a meaningful experience.

Writing the game script: From writing barks to high level cut scenes, we will take a look at all that the game writer is responsible for within the design team.

Great game dialog: Finding great dialog in any medium can be tricky. It becomes significantly more difficult when a player is constantly distracted by interactivity. We will explore techniques on how to get the point across, in character and to the player’s ears without breaking immersion.

Collaborating with a team: Collaboration is an essential component of building a game. Working with the team and different disciplines is an art from all on its own.

About the Instructor: Renowned game writer Marianne Krawczyk has won numerous awards for her pioneering work in the creation of game worlds, stories and characters. At Sony Santa Monica, Krawczyk served as lead writer on all of the major God of War releases and has also been very involved in the overall franchise, consulting on various content including novels and comics. Krawczyk was nominated for WGA awards for God of War 3 and God of War: Ascension, and she won a BAFTA award for her character and story work on God of War 2. Krawczyk has also worked extensively with Ubisoft, THQ and Activision on other major franchises such as Skylanders, Driver, Far Cry and Prince of Persia, the latter of which garnered another WGA award nomination.

Krawczyk was the lead writer on Klei Entertainment’s Shank and Shank 2, and she collaborated with J.J. Abrams and Roberto Orci on the 2013 video game tie-in to the Star Trek film franchise. Krawczyk also served as the lead writer on one of 2014’s most highly anticipated titles, Hinterland Games’ The Long Dark. In addition to her work in games, Krawczyk has written exclusive content for Amazon Prime, as well as the feature Appleseed Alpha, directed by Shinji Aramaki.