Story writing is an art. Stories have redrafts and alterations made to them just like the art and concept designs for units. A story’s first draft could be drastically different from the final product. Story evolves and what once seemed a fantastic idea might have you shaking your head in embarrassment a few months later.
The reason stories usually need redrafts is that you’re dealing with an intangible concept. If you give ten people the same story to read, you’re guaranteed that they’ll all picture it differently. We use our imaginations to build on the words we read. It’s why it’s common to hear complaints about film adaptations of popular books. Half the time it’s because it doesn’t fit the personal image that the reviewer had in their head.
It’s no different with games. In fact a collaborative effort is necessary here because the writer isn’t just writing for their fans, they’re working as part of a team with artists, project managers, level designers, and all the other vital components that any team working on a game has.
We’re lucky at Armatus because since its inception, the game has been a story-driven one. The story isn’t just something that’s made up to fit the game or show off some item of gameplay. The game serves the story.
Speaking personally, I like to begin by brainstorming with some old fashioned pen and paper. I write down words that connect to the brief and concept. I try to picture it in my head because if I can’t visualize my own ideas as the writer, then there’s not a hope in hell that my audience will be able to.
After that I can work on putting together a first draft. I send that to other members of the team and await their feedback. This is where the collaborative element comes in. You have to be a little thick-skinned here. You’re all working on the same team at the end of the day so getting sensitive over criticism is pointless. It’s being said for a reason.
There’s synergy at work here. The artist or manager or other writers might have ideas that spring to mind after reading your piece. I usually get back work with proposed edits and suggestions. It might seem like a lot of back and forth but it is worth it. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Someone might say “this character has this trait, but what’s the reason for it?” or the artist might send back their design for a character and a rethink of their personality is needed.
I’m personally a big believer in getting it as close to perfection as possible. Why rush to put out average work when you can take your time and write something you’re proud of? Trust me, if you get into writing, there’s no greater sense of satisfaction then seeing your finished product in print.
If you’ve any queries or comments about Armatus or game writing, feel free to write them in the comments below! We’re always happy to hear from our fans.