Thursday, August 20, 2015

True Tales From The Video Game Writers' Bullpen!

from left: Clank, Ratchet. Not pictured: boxing glove.
As the adage goes, "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard" and while that was coined to describe the challenge of comedy on the big screen, it's especially true when writing for the small screen, including video games. As TJ Fixon, a writer on Ratchet and Clank details to Gamasutra:
“I wrote this joke, where Ratchet and Clank are in a ship together and the designers wanted them to fall asleep so they could wake up in a new environment,“ he explained. "So this gas comes out, Ratchet goes, ‘ah cryosleep gas, I’m not gonna fall asleep!’ And of course he falls asleep. And Clank says 'oh it’s good that gas doesn’t work on robots!’ and a boxing glove pops out and knocks him out.” 
“They just started peppering me with, 'Why is this funny? What Is the joke? Where does this fall in the hero’s journey? Is this the save the cat moment?’ I’m wide-eyed and going ‘I thought, I thought it was funny I’m so sorry.’ That’s what I realized, as a game writer, you think you have this freedom, but you don’t. There are so many constraints and so many moving pieces, and from then on out I was hyper-aware that any time you write anything in a script, that changes the game for 20 different departments.” 
What dialogue do the writers interviewed say they dreaded having to write the most? Believe it or not, it was ambient dialogue:
Druckmann, seeing Krawczyk’s putting a finger gun to her head at the mention of ambient dialogue, asked all three to share the most difficult part of their writing process, and for all three, the biggest nightmare was bark dialogue, (ambient dialogue enemies shout to alert players to gameplay clues), and expository directives (characters muttering to themselves something like “I need to go through that door!”)
The entire article is an entertaining and illuminating read, so I encourage you to check it out!

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