[Disclosure: This is a guest post]
The video games industry is big business, and it seems that no matter what the state of the economy, videos games seem to thrive continuously. In addition to being insanely interactive, some of the stories we’re seeing these days are mind-blowing and completely captivating from start to finish.
But how do you go about writing such a deep story? A screenwriter might be writing a story for a 2-hour long production, but video game gameplay can last hundreds, so what process is there to make this easily while maintaining its quality?
Today, we’re going to explore the essential seven steps you need to take on your journey to writing your first video game story.
#1 – Plot the Outline
The first step you need to take is to think about the complete outline of your content. You need a start; you need a middle and an end. You then need to think about the major milestones that are going to get your main character from point A to point B.
Granted, some games might allow you to have multiple endings or outcomes, which can make this process difficult, but this isn’t something you need to think about it too much detail. Just plot the start and the end and then all major events that happen in between.
#2 – Deciding the Game Type
There are many different variations and genres of video games out there, each one affecting your story in a different way, especially when it comes to implementing it. Think about the type of game you want your story to be.
You could pick an action-adventure game, a first-person shooter or even a puzzle game. You could combine a couple of genres if you’re feeling adventurous. Make sure you define this genre earlier, however, since it will be a defining factor in overall direction and atmosphere throughout the writing.
#3 – Building the World
Of course, your story is going to take place inside of a world, a world that you’re going to need to create. During this stage, remember that the world is going to be seen through the eyes of your character, which is why it’s so important to remember the tone of voice and the atmosphere of the game.
“Think about elements of the world such as the current state, the economy, the culture and the type of place that it is. Try to include as much information in this section as possible. Even if you don’t use the details, it can help you so much when writing” – explains Maxine Stearns, a Game Quest writer and editor at Academized, and a Huffingtonpost writer.
#4 – Creating the Characters
Once you have a clear idea of the what the world is like, it’s time to start thinking about the main characters of your game that are going to inhabit or explore it. Creating characters for a game is pretty much the same as creating them for any other kind of story.
Try to put yourself in the player’s position and build up a whole history of how they got to where they are today. Again, even if you don’t use these details, you can use them to affect how the character is, looks and acts in the game.
Coming up with ideas, writing your story and then polishing it off, so it’s the highest quality is typically one of the hardest parts of the entire process. However, there are many online tools online available to you that can help with several the tasks;
- State of Writing & Academadvisor – Two resources full of writing guides to help you improve your general writing skill and story structure.
- Ukwritings & Grammarix – Two grammar and editing tools to ensure your story reads well and is grammatical sound.
- Easy Word Count – A free online tool used to track the overall word count of your story.
- Essayroo – An online proofreading tool you can use to find and correct any errors in your story.
- Cite It In – A free online tool for formatting and adding sources and references into your story.
- Paper Fellows – An online writing tool to help you generate ideas for your story.
#6 – Start Writing the Story
Now that all the major elements are in place, it’s time to start writing your story. If you’ve already got a definite idea in your head about the story is, that’s great, get it down on paper. If not, try to start writing and see where it takes you.
Sometimes you might write the introduction and feel you want to expand on these events or have the intro as your ending. Don’t worry about getting it right the first time, just write.
#7 – Adding Extra Storylines
Since you’re writing for a game, the chances are that you’ll have other little side stories, such as side quests and little adventures that don’t necessarily affect the main storyline. Matching them up to points in your main story, write out any extra content you want to add.
If you’re writing a big game, with lots of NPCs extra, you might want to think about writing dialogue for them all.
#8 – Finalising Your Story
Now that you have all the major parts of your content created, it’s time to start piecing it together into one package. Make sure all your dialogues and quests in #6 come together into the main story and ensure the main story doesn’t have any loose ends unless you’re planning on writing a sequel.
As you can see, there are seven main steps you need to take in order to write a compelling and captivating video game story. While this process could take weeks or even months, be sure to write with a fresh frame of mind and be open to any and all opportunities that come into your head.