Writers' Guild Awards Honor Three Games' Stories

Writers' Guild Awards Honor Three Games' Stories

Tomb Raider, Thomas Was Alone and Lego City Undercover all up for an award.

As video game narratives become more complex and more well-written, it's only fair that the hard work of the writers in the industry be celebrated. We are, after all, no longer in the age where the vast majority of game stories were hastily scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet in a bar.

The Writers' Guild of Great Britain revived its annual awards ceremony back in 2007, and has, for the last few years, been including video game scripts in its award categories. Past winners include Red Dead Redemption (2010), Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2011) and Batman: Arkham City (2012). This year, the shortlist for the awards, which will be presented on November 13 of this year, includes Rhianna Pratchett's work on the new Tomb Raider game, Mike Bithell's Thomas Was Alone, and Graham Goring's work on Lego City Undercover. Owing to the Guild's geographical focus on Great Britain rather than the whole world, the nominees for the award are all British.

The Writers' Guild itself is a trade union for professional writers, advising those who work in the business on all aspects of their working lives. The annual awards are a prestigious ceremony for those involved with writing, and an opportunity for the nominees to rub shoulders with luminaries from other forms of media.

Bithell's excellent writing on Thomas Was Alone helped elevate the game from straightforward puzzle platformer into heartwarming tale of friendship.

Rhianna Pratchett, who wrote Tomb Raider, is the daughter of popular fantasy-comedy author Terry Pratchett, and the current rights holder of the Discworld series. Over the years, she has contributed to a variety of UK publications including women's magazine Minx, gaming magazine PC Zone and the Guardian newspaper. Today, a significant proportion of her output consists of writing for games -- past work includes DICE's Mirror's Edge, Triumph/Climax Group's Overlord series, Larian Studios' Beyond Divinity, Ninja Theory's Heavenly Sword, Creative Assembly's Viking: Battle for Asgard and Tomb Raider. She's also credited with additional dialogue on Ubisoft Montreal's Prince of Persia alongside Andrew S. Walsh, the English localization of Piranha Bytes' fantasy RPG Risen and additional writing on BioShock Infinite alongside Ken Levine and Joe Fielder.

Mike Bithell, meanwhile, previously worked on a variety of console and social games including Bossa Studios' Monstermind, Blitz Games Studios' Invincible Tiger, iCarly, Dead to Rights: Retribution and Tak and the Guardians of Gross, but was primarily responsible for design and production on these projects. It wasn't until he went fully independent in 2011 that he was able to focus on taking complete creative control of his work, beginning with a reimagining of his made-in-24-hours Flash game Thomas Was Alone and continuing with his upcoming stealth game Volume. Thomas Was Alone, the game for which Bithell has been shortlisted, was an abstract platformer whose well-written narration (beautifully delivered by writer, filmmaker and comedian Danny Wallace) really made the experience into something considerably more than its constituent parts.

Graham Goring, meanwhile, describes himself as a "lifelong nerd, long-time video game designer and ex-stand-up comic, now in charge of putting words in people's mouths." He has previously worked on the Lego Harry Potter Games for DS, and the Lego City Undercover games for Wii U and 3DS. It's his work on the Wii U version that the Writers' Guild felt was noteworthy enough to shortlist him for an award, with its good-natured humor and charming story often highlighted by critics when praising the game.

Which of the three would you vote for? Or is there another British writer's work on a video game you'd nominate instead?

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