Long-time readers know I’ve been harping on this subject for at least six years, but it deserves the harp. One of the more successful and forward-looking game developers over the past decade has been a company called Valve. It’s more recognizable titles include Half-life, Half-life 2 and Portal.
As I noted as recently as September, Valve has had a professional writer on staff throughout its admirable run. My own opinion, as a writer, is that these two things — writer-on-staff and success — are actually related. The interactive industry being what it is, however, this tends to be a minority opinion, and the rationale is always the same: there’s no money for a staff writer. To which I reply: maybe if you had a writer on staff, you’d make more money.
In any case, today Gamasutra put up an interview with Mark Laidlaw (the aforementioned writer) and Eric Wolpaw (a second writer hired by Valve — apparently because the first hire turned out so well). It’s worth a read if you’re trying to break out of the game-design box you’re in. Because good writers know how to do that.
— Mark Barrett