VIDEO GAMES AND BOARD GAMES: Mark Brendan (DIRT 3, F1 2010, WORLD IN CONFLICT, KINGS OF THE REALM, DRAGON RISING, SOLOMON KANE)
Meet our new Elite Script Mentor, here to help YOU get the best from your ideas for video games…
“Mark Brendan is a writer and game designer. He has worked on numerous games, both analogue and digital, for companies such as Games Workshop, Target Games, i-Kore, Climax, Codemasters, and Vivendi as well as publishing games related fiction and magazine articles. He is currently working on a Solomon Kane board game for French games publisher Mythic Games, and writing screenplays for Dark Matter Films, the production company he co-founded in 2017. His video game titles include DIRT 3, Brian Lara International Cricket 2007, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, World in Conflict, F1 2010, and Kings of the Realm.”
We’re delighted to have Mark on board and we look forward to sharing new insights into video games for you from us, Mark, Habib Zargarpour (whose games credits include 007 and NEED FOR SPEED titles).
Of course, we’re still just as intent on screenplays and other writing as we’ve always been: check out the new categories of our Spring contest below!
Teleplays (long and short form pilots)
Books, including comic books and graphic novels
Video game scripts
Check out the PRIZES, RESULTS DATES, and JUDGES INFOHERE.
Meanwhile, here’s a reminder of what our Elite Mentoring services offer, and whose mentoring you can hire through us…
WriteMovies Elite Mentoring for Writers includes:
Constructive, professional, and honest feedback on the cinematic potential of your script by industry veterans.
Either: Personal mentoring by actual Hollywood Producers, Face-to-Face (if in Los Angeles) or on the phone; or, detailed notes encompassing feedback on dialogue, story line, structure, pace, characters etc.
Full analysis on length and effectiveness of story telling.
Accurate predictions on possible audience response emotionality and possible cult factor.
Professional advice on how executives and producers analyze your material and what they look for.
Pointers to convince executives and producers of your passion and competence as well as the box office potential.
Fundamental career advice on how to get agents, how to pitch and what to write.
The option for recommended scripts to be pitched to agents and producers in Hollywood.
All of which gives you vastly more confidence proceeding if you know your script is perfect.
Take the next step to get your script produced, with one of these top Mentors:
Our new contest is almost here! And before we announce it we want to draw your attention to our NEW special prize… with the first of our new series of articles about WRITING FOR VIDEO GAMES by Jamie White.
I love gaming. It’s one of the few ways that I can truly turn off from the outside world, and relax… well, mostly (Fifa and Overwatch have given me my fair amount of stress!) Even watching films I can’t fully switch off. Maybe I’ll notice some blatant exposition for no other reason than to be exposition, or I might simply note to myself “shot, reverse-shot, shot”.
Gaming Is different, though. I become fully invested in the protagonist and their story because, as silly as it sounds, I AM the protagonist. It’s my story. I am experiencing these things because I am controlling this character freely and the character’s progression depends entirely on my own.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this same experience… and it’s great that we are now accepting video game submissions! So, I decided to look at a few games and note down how you can take similar aspects into writing your own video game script…
ONLINE FIRST, STORY CAMPAIGN SECOND
Online multiplayer games are incredibly popular and are possibly the most profitable type of games as it offers a unique element of competitiveness to them. You can actually test your true capabilities as a player. Now, this “loot box” fiasco has taken some glory of these types of games (sarcastic clap for EA) but these are still viable games.
For me, the one gaming franchise that comes to mind when you talk about online modes being more important that the story is Call of Duty. While the golden age of CoD has faded, with some ridiculous and over-zealous stories, they continue to be popular. Why? Online modes. Whether it’s a straight-up team deathmatch or the infamous “CoD zombies”, Call of Duty games continue to sell for their online games modes.
But they still contain story campaigns, and rightly so. They may not be the main draw of the games now, but they’re still vital elements to their marketability. The way these games utilize their stories could also be the easiest way for new video game writers to get involved with the medium.
Note: I haven’t played a Call of Duty game past Black Ops, so I’ll be mostly referring to Modern Warfare 1 & 2, World at War, and Black Ops itself.
Now The way the stories work in these types of games is fairly simple. There’s one narrative (maybe two) that goes from A to B – much like a regular, linear screenplay. The difference is the scenes of this type of video game script would be HUGE. You should treat your scenes like levels in a video game (sounds obvious, but it really is the best way I can put it). The levels won’t last 10 seconds like some screenplay scenes, but closer to 10 minutes, and probably even longer. Check out this video of the first level to Call of Duty: World at War.
That opening is close to two minutes long – that sets up the premise of the entire game. There’s another “cutscene” that acts as an intro to the level itself – another 30-40 seconds there. That means the level itself is around 10-12 minutes long. Consider that a scene for your video game script and compare it as a regular feature script scene – that’s a huge difference. Saying that, that’s the only real difference. Take note of how certain NPCs (non-playable characters) only appear or act when the player is close by – see how that would be scripted? It’s very cinematic. Very filmic.
If you’re new to video game writing, you should definitely take this sort of approach.
Next, I’ll look at a couple of games where the narrative is imperative but gameplay takes a backseat, and how that could be much more complicated than this method.
A BEAUTY AND THE BEAST review from Susan Wloszczyna at rogerebert.com. How does the live action remake compare to the beloved animation?
Top movie review website rogerebert.com has recently looked over the new BEAUTY AND THE BEAST remake… adaptation… whatever you want to call it. It’s an intellectual and intriguing review for a film that somehow managed to balance skepticism and enthusiasm before its release. (more…)