Narrative_copywriter_banner© Maciej Korsan

Narrative Copywriter

Industries:
Games
Personality type:
Creative
Departments:
Print and Media

The Lowdown        

  • Designing the narrative structure of a game
  • Writing dialogue, story and incidental copy like item descriptions and tutorials

Is this role right for me?

For this role, you will need to:

  • Have a creative and intelligent writing style
  • Be able to create text and dialogue that fits a game's tone and world
  • Understand the deep and varied aspects of interactive digital storytelling
  • Research games and their narratives, thinking critically about the narrative decisions and how they interact with the design choices
  • Understand what makes a game appealing to different audiences
  • Possess excellent imagination, creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Have excellent communication and presentation skills

What does a Narrative Copywriter do?

A Narrative Copywriter is a writer for a videogame. Due to the extreme focus on game design during development, it’s a Narrative Copywriters job to make sure that story elements work within the design choices. For example, if the designer decides that they want social media integration, a Narrative Copywriter may decide to work in a story reason.

They will also be responsible for helping to shape the overall story and write character dialogue. It’s important for the Narrative Copywriter to understand the tone and world of the game, as they’ll be writing a lot of the small touches than could make or break the experience.

Almost all written content, even including the item descriptions and menus, will be written by the Narrative Copywriter. As a job, it’s a real labour of love that combines a dedication to writing and a passion for games. In smaller studios all team members may contribute to the incidental copy, but for large projects with many moving parts and single or team of Narrative Copywriters may be brought on board.

The role can sometimes be referred to as a "Narrative Designer ".

Will I need a qualification?

While a lot of people do get into games simply by experimenting on their own and using that as part of a portfolio, it is recommended you get a qualification or degree in english language or game design and development to show that you know story structure and narrative.

Courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

What’s the best route in?

There is no traditional route into Narrative Copywriting, but there are multiple pathways that copywriters in the past have taken.

Being a writer in another medium can be a strong position to transition from. If you have a portfolio of work in comic books, film, books or similar and have proven you know how to structure narrative, it can make it easy to go straight into a Narrative Copywriter role.

Another option is to write for indie games, or even create your own. The gaming landscape is changing and shifting away from a focus on the big-budget releases, and it’s a lot easier now for indie developers to get their games on multiple platforms. Having your writing attached to a potential indie hit would be a dream, but even if it doesn’t prove to be a hit you’ve still gained valuable experience.

The other option that has garnered success in the past is moving from another department. A level designer with talents in writing, for example, will be able to show that they’ve got what it takes to combine gameplay and narrative.

All three of these paths will require a lot of networking and persistence to get notice, however. Narrative Copywriting is a very popular career path, and making sure you’re noticed for being passionate and talented is key.

More information about Trainee Finder

Interested? Find out more...

For more information on job roles in the creative industries, take a look at Hiive's job roles.  

Websites

  • 3DWorld is the magazine for SFX, TV production and game development artists 
  • BECTU is the UK's media and entertainment trade union, covering broadcasting, film, independent production, theatre and the arts, leisure and digital media
  • Develop is the monthly magazine for European developers 
  • Edge is the UK's self-styled bible for UK gamers
  • Eurogamer is a European-focused consumer website
  • Gamasutra is a website founded in 1997 that focuses on all aspects of video game development
  • GameDev.net is the online community for game developers of all levels
  • GamesIndustry.biz covers breaking news from the games industry
  • IGDA is the International Game Developers Association, a global network of collaborative projects and communities made up of individuals from all fields of game development
  • MCV is the weekly trade magazine of the UK games industry, 
  • TIGA is the Independent Games Developers Trade Association - non-profit trade association representing the UK's games industry
  • Ukie are champions the interests, needs and positive image of the video games and interactive entertainment industry

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