Book Publisher Wants to Improve Videogame Stories


Book publisher Random House has decided to move into the videogame market by helping studios craft stories and dialog that actually doesn’t suck.

Storytelling has never been the strong suit of the videogame industry. Some games just don’t need much in the way of story and among those that do, the approach is often to just phone it in and concentrate on flashy technology instead. Plots have a tendency to be tissue-thin even in big-budget releases, while dialog is often stilted and silly.

Enter Random House, the big-time book publisher, which apparently thinks there’s some money to be made in hitching its wagon to the game industry horse. The company is looking to break into the lucrative game market in two ways: Using its expertise to create original stories for new games and to provide story advice for games that are already in development.

About 15 employees are involved in the project, some of whom have worked on adapting videogames to books. Among them is Keith Clayton, the director of creative development, who said, “There is increasing emphasis on storytelling in the videogame business, on building new worlds from the ground up.”

The publisher has two original projects it wants to sell to developers, a fantasy adventure and a horror thriller, and has also signed a deal with Stardock to assist on its upcoming strategy game Elemental: War of Magic. According to Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, “amateurish writing” is one of the most common complaints about videogames. “Poor dialogue ruins the experience,” he said.

Source: Game Culture

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