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The Nominees for Writing Achievement in Games... Really?

The Writers Guild video game nominations are in...and they're questionable.

Maybe the problem is that the writers need to be members of the WGA Videogamer Writers Caucus. Whatever the reason, this list is a little ridiculous.

Although interactive entertainment has a way to go in the world of writing and storytelling, we did see some fantastic accomplishments in 2013. So, when the Writers Guild of America announced the nominations for outstanding achievement in writing for video games, I figured I could predict the list.

Uh... guess not.

The nominations, strange though they may be, are:

  • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • The Last Of Us
  • God of War: Ascension
  • Lost Planet 3
That's not a great representation of top-tier game writing

Lost Planet 3? Really? Really? I can understand TLoU, certainly, and ACIV has its moments, but the others really aren't that astounding. There wasn't anything special about the writing in Ascension or Arkham Origins, as far as I'm concerned, and I can think of much better selections.

While it felt a tad disjointed, I still think Beyond: Two Souls should be recognized for excellence in writing, and I definitely believe Bioshock Infinite should be nominated as well. Even Grand Theft Auto V had better writing in the sub-stories than most of those Guild selections.

Obviously, it's because not enough writers are members of the WGA Videogamer Writers Caucus. Why the hell else would we see freakin' Lost Planet 3? There are also a few RPGs that escaped notice, including Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. I wasn't as enamored with that story as other people (I found it a touch amateurish), but at least it was better than the narratives we find in most video games. The writing in Tomb Raider wasn't too bad, either; better than Ascension, I think.

The bottom line is that we're not looking at very good examples of the best in video game writing. That list is kind of insulting, actually.

Published Jan. 10th 2014
  • Jay A
    Featured Contributor
    While I agree with your points, I feel like this article is incomplete. You mention Ni No Kuni and Tomb Raider briefly, but don't expand on anything, really. As a reader, I've only played ACIV and Tomb Raider on this list, so how am I supposed to know whether the list is genuinely poor, or if it just veers from your expectations? I do agree with you based on my knowledge of Video Games as a whole, I just feel as if though this could be fleshed out to make a really great read.
  • Destrolyn.Bechgeddig
    Featured Columnist
    What a hideously demoralising list!

    But then, is it really news that a "prestigious" American awards body/guild only seems to nominate well-paid mediocrity? Hardly (eg Golden Globes).

    Hopefully, gamers will make a big fuss that these are absolutely not the best video games writing, even by mainstream standards.

    But maybe it's because the Writers' Guild is very out of touch with video games. If IGN or Golden Joystick were to make the award, I'm certain the list will be very different. So should we actually take some solace that video games are starting to be recognised by more traditional circles?
  • S2riker
    Correspondent
    I haven't played all the games on that list but I can certainly vouch that GOW: Ascension doesn't deserve any awards for its story-telling. The writing was one of the weakest aspects of the entire game.
  • Ashley Gill
    Associate Editor
    This is legitimately upsetting.

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