Episodes

  • How are we almost done with May already?! It's bananas, and you know what else is bananas? Our guests for today's episode! Bahiyya (game designer, writer, and filmmaker who’s currently doing her masters in film, and is most well-known for her IGF award-winning game After Hours that will be released soon) and Son (writer who's currently the studio director and co-founder of Perfect Garbage, and director and co-founder of Chimeric Animation. They’re also a narrative designer at Silver Rain Games, and will be publishing their debut graphic novel soon, Thief of the Heights) join us to talk about writing processes, where they start when they’re creating a character, how often their stories change from what they originally planned, story structure, their greatest tools for storytelling, how they figure out their beginnings, when do they let other people see their work, whether they’re ever dissuaded by feedback, storytelling moments in games that they thought were special, silent protagonists, storytelling advice, major influences, what they’re reading/watching these days that isn’t video games, and way way more!

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Bahiyya’s Twitter and Itch.io page

    Son Twitter and Website, and you should check out the short film Death’s Diner, Thief of the Heights (when it's published by Harper Collins in 2022), and Love Shore

    Stuff We Talked About

    Rain White Noise Generator

    Daria

    Butterfly Soup

    Possessor

    Bloodborne

    Limbo

    Fran Bow

    Dishonored

    Guy Ritchie

    Cain by José Saramango

    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

    Our theme music was created by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • Spring is here and so are Leslee (Design Producer on Marvel Strike Force at Scopely, previously a writer and development manager at Riot, and held a variety of narrative design and production roles at 2K and Dorian) and Cassandra (award-winning game & fiction writer who’s worked on such games as Sunless Skies, Wasteland 3, and Falcon Age)! They join us to talk about being stubborn, knowing when to stop pushing for something, writing barks, overlapping dialogue, where they start when creating characters, whether they’re plotters or pantsers, what their writing habits are, how to force yourself to start writing, how COVID has changed their habits, navigating bureaucracy, knowing when to leave your environment for a better one, dealing with people overstepping their boundaries, and more!

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Leslee's Twitter and Tiktok

    Cassandra's Twitter and her three upcoming books are Walk Among Us, The All-Consuming World, and Nothing But Blackened Teeth

    Stuff We Talked About

    Final Fantasy VII Remake

    Life is Strange 2

    The Least of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones

    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

    Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

    Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey

    Our theme music was created by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

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  • Happy New Year one and all! To celebrate yet another new beginning, we've brought back old guests Greg (Creative Director of Supergiant Games, and writer of Bastion, Transistor, Pyre, and Hades) and Kate (Narrative designer on Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, all of its DLC, the Outer Worlds, and was a narrative co-lead on The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon) to chat with us about working from home during COVID, work/life balance, Early Access, the keys to writing memorable shopkeepers, the beauty of em dashes, themes that they gravitate towards, working with ensemble casts, what kept them up at night the most on the last game they worked on, murder hobos, games being adapted into film/TV, collaborating with other disciplines more closely, and more, more, more!

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Greg's Twitter

    Kate's Twitter and Instagram

    Stuff We Talked About

    Hades

    The Outer Worlds (and its DLC: Peril on Gorgon)

    Pyre

    Transistor

    Bastion

    Resident Evil 4 (specifically this guy)

    Ultima

    Netflix's Castlevania show

    Annihilation (book and movie)

    Inside

    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

    Elric of Melnibone

    Big Dead Place by Nicholas Johnson

    Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang (specifically the story: The Tower of Babylon)

    Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang (specifically the story: The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate)

    Our theme music was created by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • Are those sleigh bells in the air? NO, IT'S A NEW EPISODE OF SCRIPT LOCK! After trudging through the hellacious year that was 2020, we're back with Cissy (actress whose voice you may have heard in such games as The Walking Dead, Life is Strange, Firewatch - for which she won a BAFTA - Horizon: Zero Dawn, and most recently Half-Life: Alyx and Call of the Sea) and Erika (actress, host, and producer whom you may have heard in such games as Dream Daddy, Destiny, 2, Fallout 76, Fortnite, Marvel's Avengers, and Cyberpunk 2077) to talk whether you need to live in Hollywood to be a VO actor, being recast, voice matching, auditions, secrecy around characters you’re auditioning for, the luxury of getting scripts before a session, how they like to receive direction, best and worst pieces of direction, vocal health and more!

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Cissy Twitter and Instagram

    Erika Twitter and Instagram

    Stuff We Talked About

    Final Fantasy 7 Remake's Voice Cast Got Their Scripts As They Were Recording

    Our theme music was created by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • Hope you're all staying safe out there! This month's fantastic episode has Rex (co-founder and creative director of Foam Sword Ltd, which recently released its first game Knights and Bikes. He was also the creative lead of Tearaway, a production designer on LittleBigPlanet 1 and 2, and the senior graphic designer on The Movies) and Daniel (composer of such games as The Movies, LittleBigPlanet 1 & 2, Knights and Bikes, and has also composed for film & TV on titles including The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Steve Jobs, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and more) joining us to talk about running into Peter Molyneux in the toilet at a conference in Spain, Guildford being the Hollywood of the games industry, whether their collaborative process has changed over the years, how early they started working together on Knights and Bikes, what they wanted to accomplish with the music, throwing stuff away, if people undervalue the storytelling potential of music in games, memorable pieces of nonverbal storytelling, the best and worst they've ever been treated on a job, not knowing what you're doing, and a whole lot more!

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Rex's Twitter, and here's the official site for Knights and Bikes

    Daniel's Twitter

    Stuff We Talked About

    Populous II: Trials of the Olympian Gods

    I Wanna Ride My Bike (From the Videogame 'Knights And Bikes') by the Daniel Pemberton TV Orchestra

    We Are the Best!

    Daniel Pemberton Interview

    Control

    Once Upon a Time in the West

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Our theme music was created by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • Podcasting safely from home, we're back with Alix (actor in such games as Assasin’s Creed: Origins, Dragon Age Inquisition, Origins, and Awakenings, Mass Effect 3, The Last Story, Deponia I, II, and II) and Erin (actor in games like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands, Oxenfree, Firewatch, 2064: Read Only Memories, Afterparty, and the upcoming Wolf Among Us 2) to talk about working during a pandemic, where do they start when creating a character, how to support a fellow actor well, rehearsals, the audition process, receiving direction, what makes a good/bad director, trusting your actors, the best/worst direction they’ve ever gotten, intimacy on the motion capture stage, having more morally gray female characters, whether AAA games should keep learning from Hollywood, and more!

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Alix's Twitter and Instagram

    Erin's Twitter and Instagram

    Stuff We Talked About

    Tales from the Borderlands

    Dragon Age: Inquisition

    Vermintide

    Ozark

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    A Taxi Driver

    Our theme music was created by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • Today we've got Jo (writer of games and short stories, and has written on Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and is currently at EA working on an unannounced project) and Paula (writing lead and story editor on Neo Cab. She's also adapted Let’s Play from Webtoon into an animated series and has had her fiction and essays featured in outlets like Salon, the Austin Film Festival, and more) talking with us about masters degrees, delivering criticism, the most helpful piece of feedback they've ever received, how they like to collaborate with others, things they've appreciated in games that might go generally unnoticed, keeping track of branching stories and how to maintain consistency and pacing, when to stop writing, parody games, writing tests that best represent their skills, whether games are too focused on learning from Hollywood blockbusters, the last story that surprised them, and more!

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Jo's Twitter

    Paula's Twitter and Website

    Stuff We Talked About

    Star Wars: The Old Republic

    Neo Cab

    Doom (2016)

    Portal 2

    Tacoma

    The Pomodoro Technique

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

    Dance Dance Revolution

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

    Our theme music was created by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • Happy New Year! This month we've got Duncan (writer on Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, Neo Cab, In the Valley of Gods, and the co-creator and writer of the Something True podcast) and Jon (writer, narrative designer and co-founder of Inkle, and has worked on games including 80 Days, Sorcery!, Heaven’s Vault, and Over the Alps) in to talk about being a writer without a writing degree, blank canvas vs well-defined main characters, research, hot air balloons, Lovecraft forums, when to stop researching, underappreciated game moments, player agency, the sweet spot between satisfying and frustrating, the role of writers in pre-production, and more.

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Duncan's Website and Twitter.

    Jon's Twitter, Inkle's Website and Twitter.

    Stuff We Talked About

    Idle Thumbs

    Centralia, PA

    Leliana's Song DLC

    Rameses by Stephen Bond

    Spider and Web by Andrew Plotkin

    Pyst

    Our theme music was created by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • Happy holidays everyone! To close out the year we've got Walt (writer and creative director at New Game Plus, and has worked on games such as The Darkness, Bioshock 1 and 2, Spec Ops: The Line, and Star Wars Battlefront 2, and he’s also the author of the book Significant Zero: Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art & Soul in Games) and Mary (currently writes at Insomniac Games, and has also written for Certain Affinity, Techland on Dying Light 2, and Telltale on the final season of The Walking Dead and Batman: The Enemy Within) joining us to talk Narrative QA, their most important collaborators, narrative band-aid experiences, storytelling that they appreciate in other games that may go unnoticed by players, making "good" and "bad" choices, emotion-oriented goals, violence-based games, not giving your characters more story than they can handle, narrative pet peeves, things they've learned by slipping up, overwriting, digital media shelf life, what game project(s) they wish they'd been a part of, how important costume design is to their writing process, writing tests, and a thing or two more that you'll just have to find out for yourself!

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Walt's Twitter, Instagram. and check out Significant Zero: Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art and Soul in Video Games

    Mary's Twitter, and check out Read Only memories #1

    Stuff We Talked About

    Spec Ops: The Line

    Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

    We Are Not Heroes: Contextualizing Violence Through Narrative GDC Talk by Walt Williams

    The Walking Dead: The Final Season

    Disco Elysium

    When the Streaming Platform Dies, What Happens to its Shows?

    What Remains of Edith Finch

    Spider-Man

    Night in the Woods

    Star Wars Battlefront II

    Also Max and I worked on Neo Cab and Man of Medan, two great games that came out this year, and they're totally worth checking out!

    Our theme music was created by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • We're back again this month with Heli (theatre and performance costume designer, most recently a costume and character designer for Remedy’s Control and the upcoming Crossfire 2. Also worked on Mirages for Kroma Productions, and EGO CURE for Aalto University)and Claire (currently an art director at Valve, previously an artist and associate production designer for Microsoft Studios on a ton of Kinect games, Fable Legends, Sunset Overdrive, Powerstar Golf, and more. Also the production designer for Westworld VR) to talk about why costume design as a specialized role isn’t more common in games, the narrative features of costume design, differences with fashion design, research, building costumes for worlds less-based in reality, the problem of flowing clothes, working with the non-monetary budgets of video games (memory, processing power, etc), not holding back on your first draft, their most important collaborators, iteration, pitching ideas that may be too “out there,” the hardest costume they’ve designed (that they can talk about), knowing when something’s done, how non-costume designers can learn more about costume design, mundane costume design, work/life balance, and how can writers make costume designers’ lives easier.

    Our guests on the Internet

    Claire’s Twitter and Website.

    Heli’s Website and Artstation.

    Stuff We Talked About

    Marvelous Designer

    LA Noire

    The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff

    Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

    Bayonetta

    Our theme music was created by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • Apologies to all for the slight delay, but the wait has TOTALLY been worth it because today we've got Nicole (Senior Narrative Designer at Crystal Dynamics, and before that a Creative Director on the unreleased The Wolf Among Us: Season 2, and a writer on season 2 of Minecraft: Story Mode, Guardians of the Galaxy, Batman, The Walking Dead: Michonne, Game of Thrones: Season 1, and The Wolf Among Us: Season 1) and Megan (Senior Narrative Designer Team Lead and Senior Writer on the recently-released Outer Worlds by Obsidian Entertainment, and before that she was a Senior Writer on Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire and Tyranny, and a Senior Game Designer and Content Zone Lead on Wildstar for Carbine Studios) joining us to talk writing/design tests, whether narrative design and game writing should be separate jobs, the hardest things to write and design, writers' rooms, rewriting processes, where they start with constructing branching narratives, what they look for in endings as creators and whether it's different than what they look for as consumers, meaningful choices, storytelling trends they'd like to see more of, NPCs, major influences, and a great deal more!

    Our guests on the Internet

    Nicole's Twitter.

    Megan's Twitter, Website, and check out House of Ash and Brimstone (Gatewalkers Book 1)!

    Stuff We Talked About

    The Wolf Among Us

    Bioshock

    Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton

    Sabriel by Garth Nix

    Untitled Goose Game

    The Walking Dead Season 1

    The Outer Worlds

    More than Quest Givers: Why Good Characters Matter Konsoll 2019 Talk by Molly Maloney and Eric Stirpe

    Pyre

    God of War

    Transistor

    Brave Fencer Musashi

    Apex Legends

    Dota 2

    The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

    The Twelve Dancing Princesses by the Brothers Grimm

    Luigi's Mansion 3

    Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons

    Schitt's Creek

    Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

    Our theme music was composed by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • We've got Kelsey (game writer and narrative designer on Outer Wilds with Mobius Digital, along with Stormland for Insomniac, and wrote the unreleased Tales from the Minus Lab for USC’s Interactive Media & Games Division) and Olivia (script writer and narrative designer at Ubisoft Montreal on Far Cry 5 and Far Cry: New Dawn, and previously a scriptwriter at Ubisoft Quebec on Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and its DLC) in this month to talk about the hardest parts of working with nonlinear storytelling, stress, taking feedback, nonlinear murder mysteries, quantifying values that are hard to quantify, assuming that players are smart, tracking all the permutations in branching narratives, player assumptions when it comes to knowledge of the story and vice versa, letting players pull in information instead of pushing it on them, what makes a good opening and ending, DnD, and more.

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Kelsey's Twitter and Website.

    Olivia's Twitter.

    Stuff We Talked About

    Outer Wilds

    Twine

    GDC 2019: Technical Tools for Authoring Branching Dialogue by Carrie Patel and Szymczyk

    Steven Universe

    Overqualified by Joey Comeau

    Our theme music was composed by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • Calling in from the far reaches of Los Angeles AND Toronto, Kait (currently the Team Lead Narrative Designer on Watch Dogs: Legion at Ubisoft Toronto, and formerly the Lead Writer on A Mortician’s Tale for Laundry Bear Games. She’s also written the book Ain’t No Place for a Hero: Borderlands, and is the co-director of Dames Making Games) and Sam (currently a Senior Writer at Insomniac Games, where she recently worked on the Turf Wars DLC for Marvel’s Spider-Man, and formerly an Associate Writer at Bioware on Anthem. She’s also an author of books like Girl Squads and Wonder Women, and has written for comics like Captain Marvel, Star Trek, and Jem & the Holograms) join us to talk writing tests, how to give good feedback, important soft skills to have, writing processes and "muses," staying organized, things that tap and sap their creativity, what makes a good video game opening/ending, NPCs, storytelling quagmires, diverse dev teams, whether there's anything in their work that takes forever that people wouldn't expect, work/life balances, what they're consuming that isn't video games, why writing WWE fanfiction can be helpful for your game writing, major influences, and MOREEEEE!

    Our Guests on the Internet
    Kait's Twitter and Instagram, and you should follow all of the rad Watch Dogs: Legion writers and narrative designers on twitter!

    Sam's Twitter, Instagram, and Website, and you should check out Captain Marvel and preorder The Unstoppable Wasp. Also you should follow all of the good folks at Insomniac Games on twitter!

    Stuff We Talked About
    ASMR Hair Treatment | Mic ON Brush | Oils & Crinkle Cap
    What Makes a Good Video Game Ending? by Kait Tremblay
    Mass Effect 2
    Borderlands
    Portal 2
    God of War
    Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
    Bioshock
    Hellblade
    Observation
    Dames Making Games
    The 18-month fence hop, the six-day chair, and why video games are so hard to make by Blake Hester
    Chernobyl
    Fleabag
    The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss
    Stargate SG-1
    Cleopatra 2525
    Farscape
    Andromeda
    seaquest DSV
    Star Trek: Voyager

    Our theme music was composed by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • It's localization month, baby, and we've got Lola (producer at SEGA where she’s worked on Sonic Mania, and Sonic Mania Plus. She’s also a gaming consultant and has previously worked in development support at Kojima Productions LA on Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain, PR at Square Enix on games including Sleeping Dogs, Final Fantasy 13, and Kingdom Hearts, and has also worked in localization and QA at Activision Blizzard) and Scott (Localization Producer at SEGA of America, where he just finished working on Judgement, and before that worked on Yakuza Kiwami 2 and Yakuza 6. Was also an Associate Producer on Yakuza 0, a Senior Copyrighter and Associate Product Manager at Square Enix, a Product Manager at Level 5, and Project Lead and Editor at ATLUS) in to talk about why localization is not another word for translation, balancing standards/concepts that exist in one culture that don’t really exist in the other, mahjong, localizing tropes and archetypes that have no analogue in Western media, tone shifting differences in the East vs West, deviating from the script, the difference between a good localization and a great one, dialects, lip flaps, why your localization team should be integrated early in the process, work/life balance, and using editors in addition to translators.

    Our Guests on the Internet
    Lola's Twitter

    Scott's Twitter

    Stuff We Talked About
    The bizarre, true story of Metal Gear Solid's English translation by Jeremy Blaustein
    The Yakuza series
    Judgment

    Our theme music was composed by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer. SPIKES FOOTBALL That's right! We made it to FIFTY episodes, and to help celebrate such a monumental achievement in podcasting, we snuck a couple of past guests in through the back door for a victory lap. Which guests, you ask? How about takes a somewhat deep breath, Carrie Patel, Tyler J. Hutchison, Laura Michet, Richard Lemarchand, Sarah Elmaleh, Jon Paquette, Brendon Chung, Cat Manning, Kate Dollarhyde, Eric Stirpe, Janina Gavankar, Ben Esposito, Claire Hummel, Graham Reznick, Ryan Benno, AND Molly Maloney? So what, you say? Well, what if I told you we talked with them about the main things students should know about interactive storytelling, how it's OK to be silly, storytelling confessions, extreme programming, whether game stories can be apolitical, what the differences between a good collaborator and a great one are (and how to work with a bad one), favorite underappreciated bits in games, anything they'd do differently with their past work, things you might not need to worry about with your storytelling, major influences, the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen, auteurism in games, the greatness of Yakuza 0, stuff they've worked on that they wish people appreciated more, and so! Much! More! I mean, do you see how long this episode is?!

    ROUND ONE

    Our guests on the Internet
    Laura's Twitter and Website, and you should check out Pathologic 2

    Carrie's Twitter, and you should check out The Outer Worlds

    Tyler's Twitter

    Richard's Twitter and Website

    Stuff We Talked About
    Ep 45: Molly Maloney & Eric Stirpe

    Mass Effect 2

    Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton

    The Doves Type® Revival

    Doom (2016)

    Mario is Missing!

    The Trust Equation

    ROUND TWO (begins at 49:35)

    Our guests on the Internet

    Sarah's Twitter, and you should check out Afterparty and GamDev.World

    Jon's Twitter

    Brendon's Twitter, Website, and you should check out Skin Deep

    Cat's Twitter, Website, and you should check out Pathologic 2

    Stuff We Talked About

    The Sims 2

    Alien: Isolation

    The Curse of Monkey Island

    Oxenfree

    Super Mario Odyssey

    Civilization VI

    Ico

    The menu from Medal of Honor (1999)

    Honeysuckle by Cat Manning

    Collaborative Approaches to Getting Great VO Performances (if you have GDC vault access, you can find it there!)

    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

    ROUND THREE (begins at 1:42:12)

    Our guests on the Internet

    Eric's Twitter

    Janina's Twitter, and you should check out Stucco

    Kate's Twitter

    Ben's Twitter, Website, and you should check out Donut County

    Stuff We Talked About

    Joanna Newsom

    mewithoutYou

    Samuel R. Delany

    Jeff VanderMeer

    The Secret of Monkey Island

    Van Cliburn

    Portal 2

    The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

    ROUND FOUR (begins at 2:36:27)

    Our guests on the Internet

    Ryan's Twitter, and you should check out The Environment Art Podcast

    Claire's Twitter, Website, and you should check out In the Valley of the Gods

    Molly's Twitter, and you should check out Yakuza 0 and Return of the Obra Dinn

    Graham's Twitter, and you should check out Deadwax and Visitations with Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah

    Stuff We Talked About

    Red Dead Redemption 2

    Yakuza 0

    Undertale

    Firewatch

    Mother 3

    The Walking Dead Season 1

    Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series

    Until Dawn

    Westworld VR Experience

    Our theme music was composed by Isabella Ness, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • We're all avoiding our deadlines to bring you this episode with Olivia (writer, narrative designer, and editor and currently works at Failbetter Games where she’s worked on Fallen London, Sunless Sea, Sunless Sea: Zubmariner, and Sunless Skies. She’s also worked on Lethophobia, The Mystery of Kalkomey Isle, Cheaper Than Therapy, and Where the Water Tastes Like Wine) and Jessica (former Lead Writer at Telltale Games where she worked on Batman, The Walking Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Wolf Among Us: Season 2, and since then has written for WB Games San Francisco, and is currently working with Bad Robot Studios and Google Stadia), who are here to talk about writing meaningful choices, their personal favorite choices in games, what makes a good NPC, what takes you out of a game’s story, storytelling quagmires, getting through rewrite fatigue, when do you know you’re done with a script (apart from deadlines), maintaining a healthy work/life balance, time management, and what’s inspiring them outside of games.

    Our Guests on the Internet
    Olivia's Twitter.

    Jessica's Twitter.

    Stuff We Talked About

    Heaven’s Vault

    Gris

    Transistor

    A Burglar’s Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh

    The Chrestomanci Series by Diana Wynne Jones

    Alice Diamond and the Forty Elephants by Brian McDonald

    The Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

    Our theme music was composed by 2Mello, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita

  • NARRATIVE DESIGN! WHAT IS IT? Today we're super lucky to have Rosa (narrative designer at Criterion Games, previously an audio designer there, and her credits include Battlefield 1, Star Wars Battlefront: Rogue One X-Wing VR Mission, Star Wars Battlefront 2, and Battlefield 5's Firestorm mode) and Ben (writer at Insomniac Games, where he worked on last year's Spider-Man, and he's also a writer and director of film and TV) joining us to answer answer one of the most perplexing questions of our times, plus chat about going from audio to narrative design, building narrative teams, enthusiasm being undervalued, how to sustain yourself through dark periods, how to nail the voices of established characters/IPs, the greatness of Yuri Lowenthal, methods for getting the best possible performances from your actors, whether directing has impacted their storytelling processes, storytelling quagmires they've found themselves in, how do you know when you're done with something (especially when you don't have a deadline), do they feel obligated to play other games to stay up to date with the state of storytelling, games that impressed them recently, stuff that takes them out of a game's story, things they want changed in game development, and one or two more things!

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Rosa's Twitter.

    Ben's Twitter.

    Stuff We Talked About

    Writing and Narrative Design: A Relationship by Eric Stirpe and Molly Maloney

    Return of the Obra Dinn

    Brawl Stars

    Mortal Kombat 11

    Spider-Man

    Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-wing VR Mission

    God of War

    Detroit: Become Human

    Another Case Solved

    Guildmaster Story

    Alto's Odyssey

    Celeste

    Our theme music was composed by 2Mello, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • This episode is NSFW as we've got Kim (studio manager at Defiant Development, where she’s worked on Hand of Fate, Hand of Fate 2, and Ski Safari: Adventure time. Also the co-founder of Blushbox Collective, a group of game developers exploring and promoting love and sexuality in video games, and the Heartbeat conference and game jam) and Kate (currently the narrative director at KO_OP and writer of the sex games column for Kotaku, previously a games journalist, video producer, on-camera host, scriptwriter, streamer, and community manager at companies ranging from Gamespot to Xbox) in to talk about sex, intimacy, and how they're used in game stories. Other topics include why it’s important to talk about sex now, becoming a stronger communicator, sexual values being good life values, exploring taboo subjects in games, how sex is portrayed in indie games vs big budget games, wanting better consensual content, the lack of funding for intimate interactive experiences, whether there are any aspects of relationships that are hard to translate to gameplay, VR porn, win states in sex games, how to make interactive relationships engaging, and the sexiest games.

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Kim's Twitter and Blush Box's website.

    Kate's Twitter and column.

    Stuff We Talked About

    Lyst Summit

    Heartbeat Symposium

    Ladykiller in a Bind

    Cibele

    Dragon Age: Inquisition

    Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

    One Night Stand

    Mirror

    Our theme music was composed by 2Mello, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • Awards season has ARRIVED, and to mark the occasion we've invited two writers representing two of the games nominated by the WGA this year for Best Game Writing : Jon Paquette (Lead Writer on Marvel’s Spider-Man, Sunset Overdrive, and Resistance 3, and formerly a Creative Director at EA, writer on Medal of Honor, and Medal of Honor: Airborne, and QA Lead on Jurassic Park: Trespasser) and returning guest Mel MacCoubrey (Narrative Director on Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, and formerly the Assistant Director of Narrative Design on Assassin's Creed Syndicate, scriptwriter on Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry, and scriptwriting intern on Far Cry 4)! Incredible topics discussed include Jurassic Park Trespasser, writing internships at Ubisoft and Insomniac, whether the core pillars of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey and Spider-Man stayed consistent throughout development, scoping challenges, game length, making big changes to the story once you have a playable build, preventing problems before they happen, always putting your best ideas forward, hardest part about writing for an open world, the worst professional advice they've ever gotten, maintaining a healthy work/life balance, underrated people working with game narratives, the value of voice actors, if there's anything they would change about game development, AAA games that don't have combat as main mechanic, the importance of Farming Simulator 19 as an esport, and moreeeeeeeeee.

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Jon's Twitter.

    Mel's Twitter.

    Stuff We Talked About

    Jurassic Park Trespasser

    What Remains of Edith Finch

    Florence

    Brie Code

    Return of the Obra Dinn

    Gris

    Inside

    Farming Simular 19

    Our theme music was composed by 2Mello, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.

  • It's 2019 and we've got Molly (Lead Narrative Designer at Bad Robot Games, and previously Lead Gameplay Designer at Telltale on Guardians fo the Galaxy, Minecraft: Story Mode, Walking Dead: Season 3, Tales from the Borderlands) and Eric (Writer on Fortnite, interactive consultant for Eko, and previously a staff writer for Netflix's Trash Truck, and a writer at Telltale on Walking Dead: Season 2, Tales from the Borderlands, Minecraft: Story Mode seasons 1 & 2, and Batman: The Telltale Series) here to talk about how choose your own adventure is the dominant influence on interactive narrative at the moment, choice timers, the marriage of writing and narrative design, working relationships, players forgiving bad writing more than bad narrative design, what made Telltale work, finishing a project and feeling like you just spent a lot of time making an asset for somebody else, Bandersnatch (SPOILERS), the problem of having “good” and “bad” endings in branching narratives, fail states, making people feel like their choices matter, obfuscating branches from players, and what makes a good choice.

    Our Guests on the Internet

    Molly's Twitter.

    Eric's Twitter.

    Stuff We Talked About

    Writing and Narrative Design: A Relationship by Eric Stirpe and Molly Maloney

    Still The Smartest Guy On The Hill 30 Years After Sex, Lies & Videotape: Steven Soderbergh Unravels Hollywood Chaos by Mike Fleming Jr.

    Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

    Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters

    Until Dawn

    Our theme music was composed by 2Mello, and our logo was created by Lily Nishita.