Writers Guild 2012 Best Game Writing Nominees Disappoint

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Writers Guild 2012 Best Game Writing Nominees Disappoint

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The nominees include some previous winners, but also a few clunkers.

Due to a lack of credible awards shows dedicated to games - ignoring Spike TV's annual atrocity - I often latch on to more prestigious organizations for recognizing excellence in games. The awards handed out by the Writers Guild of America for excellent game writing are a fine start, but after games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (the game, mind you) were nominated in previous years, the award loses its trustworthiness. This year is no different, with great franchises represented but also headscratchers like Brink and Mortal Kombat. Really?

Here are the full nominees for the 2012 Writers Guild Award for Best Videogame Writing:

Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Story by Alexandre Amancio, Jean Guesdon, Corey May, Darby McDevitt; Multiplayer Story by Stéphane Blais, Richard Farrese, Jeffrey Yohalem; Lead Script Writer Darby McDevitt; Script Writers Richard Farrese, Nicholas Grimwood, Corey May, Jeffrey Yohalem; Greek and Turkish Ambient Dialogue Writer Vincenzo Beretta; Ubisoft

Batman: Arkham City, Lead Narrative Designer Paul Crocker; Story Written by Paul Dini, Paul Crocker and Sefton Hill; Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Brink, Lead Writer Edward "Bongoboy" Stern; Bethesda Softworks

Mortal Kombat, Story by John Vogel, Brian Chard, Dominic Cianciolo, Alexander Barrentine, Jon Greenberg; Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Written by Amy Hennig; Sony Computer Entertainment

Unlike the BAFTAs which have a whole slew of categories, the Writers Guild of America only recognizes good writing. Even then, the nominees do not accurately reflect the year's achievements in game writing because there are a few restrictions companies must follow to be considered. First, there must be a credited writer for the game. While many game companies haven't previously recognized the contributions of writers to their games, that trend has been reversed of late.

It used to be the case that writers had to be paying members of the Writers Guild in order to be eligible, but that is no longer the case, as Micah Wright explained last year.

No, the real problem, is that game publishers just don't feel bothered to submit scripts to the WGA for review. BioWare is a notable example, as is Rockstar, for their Dragon Age, Mass Effect and Grand Theft Auto franchises that are not eligible for a Writers Guild award because they simply do not bother. If you'd like to see games like Red Dead Redemption recognized for excellent writing, then please let these companies know that you'd like them to submit their scripts for review.

Or you know, maybe we should just give the award to Mortal Kombat.

Source: WGA

Permalink

That is a travesty. Seeing games like Portal 2, Catherine, and The Witcher 2 (haven't played it, but I've heard excellent things about the writing) get passed up completely in favor of games like Brink? Maybe they should just look over every game by themselves (like everyone else does), that way they aren't a laughing stock.

Now lets be honest, rather than giving the award to someone who doesn't deserve it but is decent enough to give this an ounce of credibility, why don't we just give it to Mortal Kombat?

Mortal fucking Kombat. Nobody *wrote* Mortal Kombat. The storyline and dialogue were a paste mixed from game mechanics, leftover aggression, stock character, stock conversations, and the dust of off-brand cheese doodles. It wasn't written, it was just something that happened.

Im less concerned with why Bioware and Rockstar don't see fit to enter and more concerned with why the Mortal Kombat guys think they stand a chance? Seriously were they just hoping noone else would enter so that they'd win by default?

RedEyesBlackGamer:
That is a travesty. Seeing games like Portal 2, Catherine, and The Witcher 2 (haven't played it, but I've heard excellent things about the writing) get passed up completely in favor of games like Brink? Maybe they should just look over every game by themselves (like everyone else does), that way they aren't a laughing stock.

The Witcher could be disqualified since it is based off of a book.

columbianbacon:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
That is a travesty. Seeing games like Portal 2, Catherine, and The Witcher 2 (haven't played it, but I've heard excellent things about the writing) get passed up completely in favor of games like Brink? Maybe they should just look over every game by themselves (like everyone else does), that way they aren't a laughing stock.

The Witcher could be disqualified since it is based off of a book.

If that is true, successfully adapting a work from one medium to another is a noteworthy accomplishment in and of itself.

Well, first:

This list is because of the dumb rules of this Guild. Moneysucking idiots.

Then:

There are some troubling things about that list. The choice is the least that actually puzzled me. The things were:

It took 3 writers for Mortal Kombat. It took 8 writers for Assassins Creed. WHY? (with this I mean just the amount, not the quality since I haven't played those games. But having many writing styles which compete with each other in a story doesn't seem to be a good idea)
Then the obvious lack of great storydriven games this year: Bastion, Portal 2, Witcher 2... I don't want to be judgemental but all 3 kick Batman Arkham City in the ass and Batman AC is without a doubt the strongest story on that list.

Why do people still consider those idiots from that Guild worth for news? They only accept games where at least one writer is member (ergo paid them money), they don't consider the story in context of the game, they don't take games where the writers are not credited. Based on the last point alone there can never be a Valve game because of the way Valve does credits.

Oh no, skyrim wont win another award, Hurry, everyone panic and over react immediately!!!!

...

Yeah, I know skyrim wasnt mentioned and Im talking out my ass. actually... those nominees do make me suspect how good "writing" has to be to qualify.

I just take it as a sign that standards keeping getting looser. Of those, Im not really sure who should win between AC:R and B:AC

Greg Tito:
the Writers Guild of America only recognizes good writing.

Should have gone to Specsavers.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

columbianbacon:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
That is a travesty. Seeing games like Portal 2, Catherine, and The Witcher 2 (haven't played it, but I've heard excellent things about the writing) get passed up completely in favor of games like Brink? Maybe they should just look over every game by themselves (like everyone else does), that way they aren't a laughing stock.

The Witcher could be disqualified since it is based off of a book.

If that is true, successfully adapting a work from one medium to another is a noteworthy accomplishment in and of itself.

Of course, but 'best video game adaption' isn't an award, is it? Feel like if they had that award there might be more effort put into it, companies trying to get presteige.

Uncharted 3 AGAIN? This game doesn't deserve so many awards, FFS. It's good, yes. But, come on.

No Bastion? What the hell?

Wait, wait, wait... WAAAIIIIT A MINUTE.... Mortal Kombat had writers?*

*I do enjoy Mortal Kombat and I'm a big fan of the series and even the story but it would be foolish of me to say that its well written.

Personally, I thought the over-all story of Mortal Kombat was decent enough, at least if you just keep in mind that it's Mortal bleeping Kombat. But then again, I thought Duke Nukem Forever was a decent enough game as long as you keep in mind that it's Duke bleeping Nukem.

For a casual MK player such as myself (casual as in I haven't played an MK title since MK Trilogy for N64) I thought it did a great job of actually tying all the tournaments together. To me, the MK series didn't really have a story beyond Earth is fighting against Outworld, so win the tournament and you'll get a specific ending for your specific character. The actually story in the MK Story Mode was rather enjoyable because you actually see what goes on during the tournaments, you get to see where the hell the cyber ninjas came from, you get to see how Katana and Jade rebel against Shao Khan. What I'm getting at is that for a player like myself, the story in MK is decent because previously there had been little to no story at all.

That said, the end was absolute crap. Sindel comes in and single-handedly annihilates everyone? Such a mass killing of characters usually results from a writer realizing that they've drug the story out for too long (see Hamlet for another example :P).

So it's like I said, Duke Nukem Forever is a decent game as long as you say to yourself "This is Duke Nukem, I should be expecting an over-the-top macho man spitting out corny and often lame one-liners, boob jokes, and general immature humor" and sure enough, that's what DNF delivers: DN 3D with shiny new graphics. MK's story is decent as long as you say to yourself "This is a story writen for a series which previously had a minimalist approach to writing from the beginning, I probably shouldn't be expecting a Shakespearean tragedy."

Allllllll that said, however, I do agree that it is a real shame that man companies that actually do produce games with genuinely good stories don't care enough about those who write said stories to try and get them acknowledged. As a hopeful writer myself, I wish more people would have an appriciation for good writing. (Note: I did not say that DNF or MK have good stories/writing. I said they were decent within their own contexts......but I do admit that's about as meaningful as saying "I'm number 1 because my mommy says I am!" :P)

columbianbacon:
Of course, but 'best video game adaption' isn't an award, is it? Feel like if they had that award there might be more effort put into it, companies trying to get presteige.

The Witcher 2 isn't an adaptation any more than Batman: Arkham City is. It isn't based on any of the books, it just uses the characters, setting and maybe some tropes from them. It kind of tries to be a follow up to the books, but really is just a new story in the same "universe". So completely eligible for the award if you ask me.

A good writer can seamlessly weave action, backstory, and exposition in with narrative. An excellent writer knows when they should put "Fatality" across the screen in blood.

To be fair, Mortal Kombat was pretty well written. I mean, the plot was pretty coherent, well paced, it all made sense, and the whole thing (dialogue included) went about its business with an air of self-awareness, its tone alternating appropriately between relatively serious exposition and completely tongue-in-cheek.

Yeah, it sure as hell wasn't Portal or Mass Effect, but it set out to tell a story about magic ninjas, demons, cyborgs and magic demon cyborg ninjas, and it did so quite well. It wove an amusing and entertaining tale that kept my attention and interest through to the end. It did this with a unique atmosphere and dialogue that reflected its unique (the mortal kombat canon is nothing if not unique) heritage and betrayed neither its campy, humorous aspect, nor its less-often seen serious moments.

But no it does not deserve any kind of award for writing and anyone who thinks it does is senile.

Seabear:
No Bastion? What the hell?

Yep, there are certainly titles more deserving than those chosen; Bastion for one.

The fact that the writer's guild even recognizes video game writers is a certain step up, I suppose.

columbianbacon:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
That is a travesty. Seeing games like Portal 2, Catherine, and The Witcher 2 (haven't played it, but I've heard excellent things about the writing) get passed up completely in favor of games like Brink? Maybe they should just look over every game by themselves (like everyone else does), that way they aren't a laughing stock.

The Witcher could be disqualified since it is based off of a book.

I thought the book was based off the game...

I might be mixed up though, but the book reads a lot like a game...

>.> The Witcher was based off of a -series- of books.
A big popular series long before the games were released.

Smiles:

columbianbacon:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
That is a travesty. Seeing games like Portal 2, Catherine, and The Witcher 2 (haven't played it, but I've heard excellent things about the writing) get passed up completely in favor of games like Brink? Maybe they should just look over every game by themselves (like everyone else does), that way they aren't a laughing stock.

The Witcher could be disqualified since it is based off of a book.

I thought the book was based off the game...

I might be mixed up though, but the book reads a lot like a game...

The game's credits clearly state "The Witcher game is based on the prose of Andrzej Sapkowski".

And Wikipedia says he wrote the series of books set in that universe in the 90's.

Mortal Kombat, what are you doing on a list of non-awful writing?

Get out of there so someone who actually deserves that spot can have it.

I think Brink deserves the win. It was flawlessly paced and the character interactions were very intense, felt real. And the finale was breathtaking.

"Disappoint" doesn't seem to be the proper term. I'd go with "baffle".

Mr.Tea:

Smiles:

columbianbacon:

The Witcher could be disqualified since it is based off of a book.

I thought the book was based off the game...

I might be mixed up though, but the book reads a lot like a game...

The game's credits clearly state "The Witcher game is based on the prose of Andrzej Sapkowski".

And Wikipedia says he wrote the series of books set in that universe in the 90's.

thanks! I don't know why anyone would make a game out of such a mediocre book though...

Mortal Kombat had a story?

The clue is really in the name.

The Writer's Guild of America...

Yeah there definitely the experts on the subject....

BIG Mortal Kombat fan here, MK9 was one of my top 5 games of 2011 too.

But it should NOT be in the running for most well-written game of the year. I'm surprised Catherine wasn't nominated, too.

brink?!?!? Mortal Kombat??!?!?!?! WHAT?!?!? Good story? Really...*Laughs* With these nominees I now know these guild are a joke... and not to be taken to seriously...

Sandor [The Hound] Clegane:
The clue is really in the name.

The Writer's Guild of America...

Yeah there definitely the experts on the subject....

Says the fellow who can't use the appropriate their/there/they're for the given context.

Don't throw rocks in glass houses bro.

Brink and Mortal kombat, hope someone's having a joke at my expense and Portal 2 is included in there.

HobbesMkii:
A good writer can seamlessly weave action, backstory, and exposition in with narrative. An excellent writer knows when they should put "Fatality" across the screen in blood.

I nominate you for a position with the guild. In one sentence you did something truly amazing.

I should probably post something on topic, or interesting now. But really I just wanted to say good job.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
That is a travesty. Seeing games like Portal 2, Catherine, and The Witcher 2 (haven't played it, but I've heard excellent things about the writing) get passed up completely in favor of games like Brink? Maybe they should just look over every game by themselves (like everyone else does), that way they aren't a laughing stock.

I don't need to say anything else but this.

A list of games with good writing and Catherine is nowhere to be found. This is a sad day.

*deleted*

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