Q: How do we know who wrote what?

Haran asks:
About writing credits in games - in most big games, you can't know which part of dialogue\text was written by whom, just that there is a "lead writer" and other writers. Is there a secret way industry people like you guys use to know this? And for Torment, will you list somewhere who wrote what?

The "secret way" is we ask people what they were responsible for. The answer we get back is rarely simple.

The thing is that most big games are a team effort. Although one person might initially be in charge of an area or a character, by the end of the project so many people have had their fingers in everything that it's often difficult to say who wrote what.

The best we can do (which is what you often see in interviews and the like) are things like: "Well Joe did the high level design on Sagus Cliffs," "Luke was primarily in charge of the Oasis," or "Kate wrote most of the characters in the third act of the game." That's about as specific as we can get.

We could maybe list those vagueries in the credits, but even that might be disingenuous. For example, right now George Ziets is in charge of the Bloom and has written a couple of the conversations. But Colin has written most of them. I've written a few, as has Thomas Beekers and a couple of our other writers. Some of the conversations have been gone over many times by multiple people. I've thoroughly reviewed (and sometimes revised) all of them, and George plans to do the same.

So who wrote what? I could maybe tell you right now, but I'd have to break it down node by node in many cases.

By the end of the project? All I'll be able to tell you is, "Well, George did the high level design on the Bloom...."


Got a question? Ask me anything.


Matthew MacNish said...

I can't remember which authors it was, I think maybe Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, but I read an interview where they said it's basically the same even in a two person collaboration. So yeah. Wow.

Adam Heine said...

Yeah, you're probably thinking of this gem.

"Neil congratulated Terry on a line that Terry knew he hadn’t written, and Neil was certain that he hadn’t written either. They both privately suspect that at some point the book had started to generate text on its own..."