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Games writing "doesn't always get recognition it should"

"A game story is written by everyone on the team," says Deus Ex writer

The narrative designer on Square-Enix's upcoming reboot of Deus Ex believes that the industry's recognition of game writers needs to improve.

In an interview published today, Deus Ex: Human Revolution lead writer Mary De Marle told GamesIndustry.biz that "a lot of times people always think that all you have to do is sit in front of a keyboard typing and you'll have a dialogue in an hour. And that's not it.

"So, no [writing] doesn't always get the recognition from the other departments that it should. I think a lot of people think they're all writers and they're not, so there's that. But I also think that the writers often have to realise that they're not the only ones writing the story."

De Marle observed that writers shouldn't think themselves the sole voice in a game, because "A game story is written by everyone on the team... The artists, the level designers, the animators, the voice actors... It's to kind of ensure that the story, with all its richness, is being told in more than just dialogue.

"The biggest mistake a game writer can make coming in is to say 'they hired me as a writer to come up with the story so they have to listen to everything I have to say.' The truth is they don't, because other people have valuable ideas, they're the ones bringing it to life."

De Marle was also critical of the apparent importance bestowed upon the Writers Guild Of America's games writing award. "I kind of get mad about the WGA writing awards because, rightly so, to be a part of that guild you have to pay membership fees... If you have worked on a game and you want to submit for a writing award from the WGA, your writers have to be members of the WGA. And if they're not, then you can't be considered.

"They have a right to do that because they are a guild and they are recognised in the work of their members. But to tout themselves as "this is the award that you want to get if you write in games, that is not true, because they're not recognising all the games that exist."

For the full interview with De Marle, in which she also discusses whether preorder exclusive content can negatively impact games and the issues inherent in rebooting the Deus Ex brand, please click here.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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