The Art of Writing for Video Games Price: $599 | Seats: 35 Price: $599 | Seats: 35
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The Art of Writing for Video Games

Flint and JZP are the writers of established franchises like G.I. Joe, Transformers, Ghostbusters, Jurassic Park, Uncharted, Dead to Rights, Diablo 3, Ingress, Avatar, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, and many more. These industry legends - with 30+ years of experience creating remarkable video games, comics, and movies - will teach you what it takes to thrive as a writer.

The Art of Writing for Video Games

A 10-week program with live discussions, real-life projects, and teamwork that will take you from inspiration to creating scripts and characters for the professional game industry

If you want to launch a career in writing for video games or other media, this course is for you.

Week by week, you’ll learn the essentials of video game writing, and apply the principles in developing your own video game from idea to pitch.

You’ll come out of The Art of Writing for Video Games with a polished design doc for your very own game, which can serve as a work sample you can submit for game writing jobs, or to sell your game to studios. They’ll also teach you how to transform video game stories into successful franchises

You’ll gain tons of practical knowledge and insights on how to navigate the video game industry, from two of the most successful writers of the century. This course is the essential accelerator for your video game writing career.

Upcoming Cohort
Cohort Name Class Period Registration Deadline
#1 Lawful Good
Dec 04, 21 - Feb 26, 22 Sat - Dec 04, 21 - 5:00 PM UTC
  • Cohort Name
    Lawful Good
  • Class Period
    Dec 04, 21 - Feb 26, 22
  • Registration Deadline
    Sat - Dec 04, 21 - 5:00 PM UTC
Meet Your Peers
Ahmet
William
Ryan
Kevin
Thiago
fblazarini
Jason
Agha
violetkaos
Emily
tlhopie
Joseph
Sarah
Andrew
Ave
Nicholas
Michael
Meet Your Peers
  • Ahmet
    Ahmet
  • fblazarini
    fblazarini
  • Jason
    Jason
  • Sarah
    Sarah
  • Agha
    Agha
  • Andrew
    Andrew
  • William
    William
  • Thiago
    A gamemaker and a storyteller
    Works at Trialforge Studio
    Thiago
  • Emily
    Emily
  • violetkaos
  • Ryan
    Ryan
  • Kevin
    Kevin
  • Michael
    Michael
  • tlhopie
    tlhopie
  • Joseph
    Works at Rodimus Primal
    Joseph
  • Nicholas
    Nicholas
  • Ave
    Ave

Program Structure

Typical week in the cohort

Communication and networking are core components of the ClasspertX course experience. In this course, you will be part of a global learning community. In order to accommodate all participants, we have designed much of the course experience to take place asynchronously, with a synchronous class session that occurs weekly on Saturdays

Async Sessions
~ 2 hours of self-paced material during the week
  • Reading from the book
    Includes a free digital copy of the book

    The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design will be used as a supplementary material

  • Videos
  • Quizzes
  • Exercises
  • Students will be prompted to submit questions during the week, and the instructor should choose questions to answer for students during the weekend session
Sync Sessions
~ 2 hours of lectures and exercises on the weekend
  • Q&A with the instructor
  • Additional demos / examples of key topics
  • Group practice - students break out to work on an exercise
  • Group discussion
Q&A Session In this 30-minute interview Flint Dille and John Zuur Platten give a taste of what they will teach you in class
Watch Now

Syllabus

Week 1 - Introduction

An introduction to the Art of Writing for Video Games Course

  • Creating a Narrative for your Game
  • Why it matters
  • What you will learn during the course
  • Examples of games that have strong, compelling stories
  • Info about us, and why we do what we do
  • Expectations and an overview of the course
Week 2 - Creating a Narrative for your Game

A discussion on how to create a game narrative

  • Spitballing ideas and brainstorming
  • World, Character, Tone, and Theme
  • Building an IP
  • Creating strategies that allow you to outline a story quickly
  • Writing strategies
  • The bad idea and how to build on it
Week 3 - Characters

A discussion of creating compelling characters

  • The various types of game characters - PC, NPCs, Ambient Characters, Cannon Fodder
  • Character Alignments
  • 3rd person (tethered) vs. 1st person vs. Cinematic Camera
  • Character Archetypes
  • Matching characters to core gameplay mechanics
  • Character Template and how to use it
Week 4 - Worlds

A discussion on World Building for games

  • Paracosms and how they are created
  • Famous fictional worlds and why they work
  • Creating backstories for your worlds - myths, systems, societies, religions, languages, etc.
  • Reality vs. Hyper-Reality (comic worlds that layer over real ones - Gotham, John Wick)
  • Exploration vs. Linear reveals for your world(s)
Week 5 - Storytelling Types

A discussion of crafting the various types of narratives that can exist within a video game

  • Linear vs. Non-Linear vs. Nodal vs. Emergent
  • Engaging the player
  • Integrating story into gameplay - game as a story
  • Cinematics and examples
  • The purpose of the story in games
Week 6 - Platforms

A discussion of the various platforms for games

  • Apps
  • Consoles
  • PC
  • AR/VR/ARGs
  • Social Media games - FB, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok
  • How platforms affect both the narrative content and the story-telling strategy
Week 7 - Transmedia - the Narrative Landscape

Exploring the expansion of the game IP

  • Why you should be developing IPs rather than one-off ideas
  • Envisioning your IP across multiple media
  • Creating complementary expressions of a single idea
  • Budgetary considerations when you think big
  • Laying the groundwork for a franchise
  • Improving your chances by providing the vision
Week 8 - Role-Playing Games Influence and how to take advantage of it

An intro to the core elements of RPGs and how they can be used in almost any video game

  • What is an RPG
  • A brief history of D&D
  • Breaking down a monster into a series of numbers (stats)
  • Chance vs. Percentages
  • How we can hide math within a story while using it to create tension
  • Miniatures vs. Theater of the Mind
Week 9 - Discussion of the Final High-Level Design Document

A discussion of the final deliverable

  • What should be included (note - this information will come much earlier in other forms, but this is a review discussion)
  • Pitching your idea - 3 main points
  • Examples and discussion of what works and what doesn’t
  • Including visuals
  • Punching up the text and presentation
Week 10 - Wrapping it Up

Course conclusion

  • Selected students pitch their concepts
  • Autopsy of the course - what was learned and what resonated
  • What's next - building your portfolio
  • Career considerations
  • The future and how "you" fit into it

Final Project

Final Project Preview

Create and Pitch your Game Concept To The Class

For the final project you will

  • Create a ~15-page design document similar to Lobo - The Game
  • Pitch your game concept to the class
  • Receive high level feedback from Flint Dille and JZP, fellow creatives and invited guests
  • End up with a final polished version of your design document, one you can submit to a potential employer or buyer

What you'll learn

  • Creating a Narrative for your Game
  • Creating Compelling Characters
  • World Building for Games
  • Various Types of Storytelling
  • Exploring Different Platforms for Games
  • Transmedia: The Expansion of the Game IP (creating franchises)
  • Creating Compelling Stories for Role-playing Games

Who this course is for

We do expect attendees to interact with other students on their exercises as one of our goals is to teach creative networking and teamwork.

Flint Dille

Who this course is for

Target Audience
  • Professional and aspiring writers looking to develop stories in the context of games
  • Game designers and Indie game developers wanting to work amazing stories into their games
  • Game enthusiasts who are curious about learning how to create narratives in games
Prerequisites
  • Willingness to become a professional writer
  • Genuine interest in games and game stories
  • A desire to entertain through story and games

Your Instructors

Flint Dille
Flint Dille

Flint Dille is the most produced game writer globally, with over 14 Gold and platinum games, including: Uncharted, Riddick, Diablo, and Ingress. Many of his scripts received critical acclaim and have withstood the test of time, as evidenced by ongoing franchise opportunities. He was creative lead at Niantic from 2012-2020, creators of Ingress and Pokemon Go. He is currently Narrative Lead at Deviation Games.

You definitely don't need a degree to start a career as a game writer. I've been lucky to have met and worked with Gary Gygax, who has no degree, he created Dungeons and Dragons. I've done tons of stuff with Frank Miller, who also has no degree, and also created all these comics. Joe Ruby created Scooby-Doo and didn't have a degree either. The truth is: In 2021, it helps to have a degree but it doesn't hurt not to have it.
Career Highlights
  • Writer for remarkable video games including Ghostbusters (2009), The Chronicles of Riddick (2009), Transformers (2007), Superman Returns (2006), and Fantastic Four (2007)
  • Writer for Steven Spielberg’s movies: Fievel Goes West (1991) and Tiny Toons (1992)
  • Story editor for TV series including G.I. Joe (55 episodes), The Transformers (30 episodes), and Ingress (11 episodes)
  • Together with Gary Gygax (the creator of Dungeons & Dragons), Flint Dille created the interactive gamebook series, Sagard the Barbarian
  • Lead creative at Niantic Labs, creators of Ingress and Pokemon GO
John Zuur Platten
John Zuur Platten

John is a writer and designer who has shipped over 80 games. With over 30 years of experience in the business, John has written for established franchises such as Jurassic World, Ghostbusters, The Fast and the Furious, and The Chronicles of Riddick. He was a lead creative at Niantic Labs, creators of Ingress and Pokemon GO. John has also written feature films, comics, television and streaming content.

The script is perhaps the most important thing in a game. People will remember characters and stories, but they won't remember the game engine and what technology it was made on.
Career Highlights
  • Writer for remarkable video games including Jurassic World Evolution (2018), Apache Air Assault (2010), Ghostbusters (2009), The Chronicles of Riddick (2009), Transformers (2007), and Tom Cat Alley (1994)
  • Story writer for the TV series Harry and the Hendersons (1993)
  • Lead creative at Niantic Labs, creators of Ingress and Pokemon GO
Relevant Publications in the Field
The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design
View More
324 ratings
Mr. Blurg

I bought this book and have enjoyed it immensely. Both the authors provided much more than I was hoping for. They are seasoned game writers/designers who have worked on many games you know and are still working on games. The book breaks down not only how to write for games, but what that entails, including hardships you will find along the way (both with writing and people).

Joseph Velikovsky

This book is the best I’ve ever read on Game Writing and Design (and I’ve read a lot, and taught Game Writing and Design a lot, and written a million-seller game) If anyone here is keen on taking a crack at either adapting your film project to a game or writing an original IP game, I would seriously read this book first.