As part of an in-depth new interview
at Gamasutra, senior Pandemic writer Tom Abernathy (Destroy All Humans!, Saboteur
) has been discussing the important role of a writer in the game biz, suggesting that setting 'tone' is one of the key game-related jobs for that craft.
Abernathy, who started his career working on games such as Heavy Gear
, commented in particular of the relevance of writers to the game business, beyond just providing the words to accompany the game:
"When I talk to people in the game industry about how writers can be vital to what they do, the word I keep coming back to is "tone." It's sort of an ineffable thing. A lot of people don't really understand it, or understand what it is, or at least how to craft it and maintain it. It's not something, to be perfectly honest, that most game industry professionals and development people are used to thinking about.
Programmers and even designers... most of the time, that's not something that they're thinking about, at least in those terms. A good writer is completely steeped, hopefully, in training and experience crafting, conceptualizing, and executing tone, in all aspects of what they're writing. Story, characters, dialogue, universe of the thing, theme -- which is not a word that gets tossed around in games a lot."
Elsewhere in the interview, Abernathy looks at what the industry can do to complete with people's entertainment spending at a high level:
"I think it's just as important if you want to not just make a game that's good and has a complete and immersive fantasy, but if you want to compete, as we have to, in this market with peoples' time and money with movies, television, the Internet, and all the other things that people could be doing to divert themselves -- not to mention the pub crawl on 6th Street -- we have to elevate the kind of experience we're presenting to make sure it's something that can totally compete with those kinds of experiences.
And we have some tools that none of those things have. We have interactivity. There are things we have already that give us advantages, but good writing can absolutely help you do that, and is essential to help you do that, I believe."
You can now read the full interview with Abernathy
, including lots more on the genesis of the studio's upcoming Saboteur, and... the surprising connection between Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca and Pamela Anderson in Barb Wire?