WGA Announces Videogame Writing Award Nominees

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Spec ops the line totally deserves to be in there. Regardless of whether or not it has a membership. This just seems silly that Halo 4 can be nominated for outstanding writing when other games are left unmentioned despite the fact they clearly benefit from strong narrative and story telling. Sad face.

Halo 4 would have had my vote by default. The other games I haven't played (or wouldn't pay for).

I would have liked Borderlands 2 to get a mention because the story is what kept me playing it.

But, as it has been mentioned this isn't something the gaming community should really be paying any mind.

Excuse me, but, what the fuck? Two Assassin's Creed titles? That's bullshit. I've never understood how multiple works from the same source are allowed to be nominated for the same award. It's just unfair, really.

Membership in the Guild being a prerequisite? Bullshit. Just seems unnecessary, no matter how simple becoming a member might be.

A Halo title being nominated for and "outstanding achievement in writing"?

Though I haven't played the series past 2, Halo's writing is decent at best.

This seems more like an award for the Writer's Guild to pat themselves on the back, less about the Writer's Guild actually handing others awards (like the Academy Awards or the much maligned VGAs).

SO this is basically in-game award to members who want to try themselves out.
nothing that is newsworthy then.
then again, considering that their members consists of these guys i guess its best we ignore the WGA alltogether.

P.S. i love your avatar.

P.S. 2: capcha disagrees: respect me

The WGA award is a sham with those restrictions and to put it further they picked VERY poor candidates (for the most part, one or two exceptions) to represent writing in games.

This is why I love the internet and how it doesn't conform to their old dinosaur-like tactics of getting status.

You know, it's a pity some developers don't take the time to enter this competition/awards. I would have loved to see Dragon Age being recognized for their writing. Or even The Walking Dead. But instead, we got...that.

007 Legends? What kind of mind blowing writing could be needed for that game! Assassin's Creed got two entries, Uncharted...for the Vita and Halo 4.

No wonder videogames are not taken seriously. I mean, they're not bad games (Except 007 Legends; you should be ashamed) but...yeah, Spec Ops should be there. Or Max Payne.

This is why we can't have nice things!

Kinda weird but if I have to choose, I'm not going to. Not appealing.

Continuing with the metaphor in the article, I'd have most of these horses sent to the glue factory.

Hooooonk Hooooonk

Leaked Nominations for 2014:

Assassins Creed Reretribulation (PS3, PC, XBox 360, WiiU)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4 - Stay Frosty Edition (PS Vita)
Garbage Truck Simulator 2014 (PC, Nintendo 3DS)
Gears of War 4 - Rise Of The Retconing Reboot (XBox 720)
Random Fanfiction - The Game (Game And Watch)

Doing Doink

A sadly meaningless title when all the worthy competition doesn't even enter.

Disney Epic Mickey 2 is my horse because the rest of the competitors are the unholy spawn of the devil

otherwise i agree that it would be best to just ignore these "awards"

josemlopes:
I think its best if we just ignore the existance of these awards

My thoughts exactly. This is a bad joke and it should be treated as such.

captcha: until tomorrow

No, captcha. Until forever.

Leperous:

The last exclusionary rule which accounts for some games not getting a nomination is that all submitted games MUST have credits for ALL of their writers. When we established this award 6 years ago, it was common for game developers to either not credit the writer at all, or to give them insulting credits like "Special Thanks." When games don't have a writing credit in them, we, the largest union of writers in the world, aren't about to reward some company for not fairly crediting their employees. We don't consider "Designed By" to be a writing credit, for example, nor "Lead Designer," or any other credit which refuses outright to credit the writing. It was common in the early 80's to drastically limit the number of people credited on games because every name cost money to burn into a ROM cartridge... but there's no excuse these days for not properly crediting a worker for both Designing and Writing a game.

I have a question about this rule:

Does it exclude teams that just credit everyone involved without stating the specific part of their involvement? I mean credits like Valve does them - a list of names.

Leperous:

These two rules seem exclusionary to indies (who may choose to post their work independently online) and to Valve, who I think does a much better job than anyone else in the world with their credits - a list of names of everyone who participated on the project. I don't know if you've gotten submissions from either and had to turn them down, but it is something to consider.

I understand the spot you're in. However, in your position, I think I wouldn't hold the awards on account of no standout titles being submitted for consideration. Better the award seems to keep a standard or integrity rather than give it to whoever just because they showed up.

Zombie_Moogle:

Leperous:

Zombie_Moogle:
No disrespect to the Writers Guild, but the mechanical aspect of how videogames tell their story might make the WGA a bit unqualified to judge them

Except everyone who votes on the award is a videogame writer, so no, not a valid criticism.

Isn't the issue that it's the Writers Guild, which contains very few game writers?

We have over 350 members who have worked on at least one shipped game. We are the largest group of working videogame writers in the world. People may not LIKE our choices, but they are informed choices.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA... oh wait this isn't a joke?

Well.. Not really any good nominees.. But, Uncharted I suppose? That is my vote anyway. /shrug

Wow.. Really feeling "meh" about these.

Pheonixe:

Leperous:

These two rules seem exclusionary to indies (who may choose to post their work independently online) and to Valve, who I think does a much better job than anyone else in the world with their credits - a list of names of everyone who participated on the project. I don't know if you've gotten submissions from either and had to turn them down, but it is something to consider.

I understand the spot you're in. However, in your position, I think I wouldn't hold the awards on account of no standout titles being submitted for consideration. Better the award seems to keep a standard or integrity rather than give it to whoever just because they showed up.

We get several indy submissions a year, and typically have at least one nominee. The first winner of our award was a PSP game called "Dead Head Fred" made by a 5-man studio.

As for Valve, I guess if you don't work in games, Valve's system might seem very democratic and egalitarian... why NOT just include an alphabetical list of everyone who worked on a game? The problem is that for people who don't plan to work at Valve forever, accurate credits will show future employers a provable work history, and tend to indicate an ability to perform a specific job. The Writers Guild of America first formed in the 1920's when seven of the most wealthy and successful writers in Hollywood came together to form a union and make demands... and that demand wasn't for more money or a big chunk of the profits, it was for the right for WRITERS to determine for themselves who gets the credit for their work. Prior to the formation of the WGA, it was common for Producers to give the written by credit to their girlfriend, or some guy they owed money to, or to anyone but the writer who had written the film. To this day credit arbitration is our hardest won and most respected contractual right. That sentiment carries over into our work on videogames... people might not like that, but that's the history. I've written over 42 videogames, and I've been cheated out of my proper credit on at least 26 of them... often it's not on purpose, it's just an accident or an oversight, but at the end of the day it's not enough to say "Oh, everyone knows that Eric Wolpaw wrote Portal," or whatever, because eventually you run into employers WHO DO NOT KNOW THAT. And when that guy says "Oh, yeah, what have YOU ever written?" and then looks up Portal on the IMDB or whatever stupid database and your name isn't listed, then they shrug and say "Eh, that guy's a lying dummy." If you think things like this don't happen, then you've never met an entertainment executive. Many of them are smart and intelligent people. Many of them aren't.

Finally, our judging system is pretty strict... we get the script, go through 2 rounds of judging by 5-writer teams, all of whom judge the script for the games and rate it, those scores are averaged, and the 5 games with the highest scores wind up as the nominees. Every group of judges gets different scripts, which is how you get 2 different Assassin's Creed games in the final 5 nominees... the different groups probably didn't get both scripts. Then the 5 nominees are judged by a separate group of writers, all of whom have several shipped games to their credit. The top-scoring game wins.

Again, taste is taste... some people might not like our choices, but they're the best of the games submitted. Do I wish every game was submitted? Sure. But as I said, some aren't for political reasons, some aren't for financial reasons, some aren't because the writers just didn't know that the game awards exist, some aren't because the writers forgot the deadline for submission, some aren't because the writer isn't credited with writing the game (instead receiving a "Special Thanks" or "Other Work By" credit). Other games aren't submitted because not all of the writers agree to submit... we demand that ALL writers who work on a project submit together and get proper credits. Sometimes someone is fired before a game is finished and there's hard feelings. That's led to some major games not getting submitted; because the writer who finished the game wasn't willing to credit the writer who started the game. People can be petty, what are you going to do.

In the end, this is a WRITING award, not a gameplay award, or a "is this Assassin's Creed game as good as Assassin's Creed 2?" award, or a "I hate first person shooters" award, or whatever. We NEED a script to judge because we're judging the WRITING. The plot, the characterization, the story's twists and turns. Complain all you like that Assassin's Creed 3 is "just a sequel" or whatever, the Act One twist in that game was AMAZING. Does that make it the best game of the year? No idea. But it was the ONLY game this year (other than Spec Ops: The Line, and no, I have no idea why that wasn't a nominee) which surprised me with its writing. At the end of the day, it all boils down to taste.

-Micah Wright
chair, VWC of the WGA

Sixcess:
Is it a bit strange that Halo 4 doesn't actually have a writer, but someone who does 'narrative design'...?

Then again, where does writing end and level design begin?

Writing would be dialogue and the overall narrative structure of the game, as well as supplementary lore entries and the like.

Level design is something I'd want left to people that handle the mathematics. It's up to them to make sure the game world they build reflects the writing, not for the writers to fit the story around mechanics.

That's just cute.

That's all i had to say actually. But now I clarify that in order to pad out this comment and not get band. You know how it is.

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