WGA Awards Videogame Writing Nominees

Deadline doesn’t cover the videogame industry, but since it’s the WGA giving out the nominations as part of its guild awards, here goes:

Los Angeles and New York – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have announced nominations for outstanding achievement in videogame writing during 2010. The winner of this year’s WGA Videogame Writing Award, which recognizes writers as key creative talent in today’s gaming industry, will be presented at the upcoming 2011 Writers Guild Awards to be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011, at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.


Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Story by Patrice Desilets, Jeffrey Yohalem, Corey May; Lead Script Writer: Jeffrey Yohalem; Script Writers: Ethan Petty, Nicholas Grimwood, Matt Turner; Ubisoft

Fallout: New Vegas, Creative Design Lead/Lead Writer: John Gonzalez; Writers: Chris Avellone, Eric Fenstermaker, Travis Stout; Additional Writing: Tess Treadwell, George Ziets, Jason Bergman, Nick Breckon, Matt Grandstaff, Will Noble, Andrew Scharf; Bethesda Softworks

God of War III, Written by Marianne Krawcyzk; Additional Writing by Stig Asmussen, Ariel Lawrence, William Weissbaum; Sony Computer Entertainment

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Writer: Benjamin McCaw; Story Dialogue Editor: Marianne Krawczyk; Ubisoft

Singularity, Written by Marc Guggenheim, Lindsey Allen, Emily Silver; Additional Story and Writing: Jason Henderson, Adam Foshko, Michael Cassutt; Story and Script Consultant: Adam Foshko; Activision

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Executive Producer-Writer: Haden Blackman; In-Game Script: David Collins, John Stafford, Cameron Suey; Additional Writing: Tid Cooney, Ian Dominguez, Tony Rowe; LucasArts

Established by the Writers Guilds’ Videogame Writers Caucus to promote storytelling excellence in videogames, improve the status of gaming writers, and encourage uniform standards within the gaming industry, the WGA Videogame Writing Award recognizes the essential creative contributions made by writers to video games and the gaming industry. Both the WGAW and WGAE continue their collective efforts to bring an increasing number of videogame projects under WGA jurisdiction to ensure that writers receive the benefits of a Writers Guild contract.

The WGA Videogame Writing Award honors the best qualifying script from a videogame published in the previous year. To be eligible for WGA consideration, games must have been released between December 1, 2009 and November 30, 2010, works must contain separate writing credit(s), and credited game writers must have been or must have applied to become members of the WGA’s Videogame Writers Caucus at the time scripts were submitted. Work that was not produced under WGA jurisdiction was also eligible for submission.

The 2011 Writers Guild Awards will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011, simultaneously at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel-Grand Ballroom in Los Angeles and the AXA Equitable Center in New York City.

  1. Were these the only five sets of writers to submit themselves to the WGA? It’s the only explanation I can find for the Force Unleashed making the cut.

  2. Hahahahaha. No “Starcraft II?” No “Mass Effect 2?” No “RED DEAD?!?” (probably the most egregious). For all it’s convoluted noisiness, I’d even say “Call of Duty: Black Ops” should be on here higher than half that stuff (except “God of War III” or MAYBE “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood”).

    But the joke is “Singularity.” For non-gamers, the game itself has certain game-play aspects to recommend it but to hail the story and the writing is akin to suddenly seeing, say, “Vampires Suck” right at the front of the Best Picture race. Or “Sex and the City 2.” Or “The Bounty Hunter.” Remember how you felt when “The Tourist” got double-nommed at the Globes? Anybody who has played “Singularity” would have the same kind of reaction to this if they had even heard of the WGA.

    1. As a WRITING award, our judges can’t be expected to fairly or accurately judge games the writers or producers of which refuse to submit a list of writers and script for. Although “Red Dead Redemption” would have undoubtedly won my vote for the award this year (or Mass Effect 2, for that matter), the Publishers involved would not engage with the Caucus, and refused to submit a script. It’s impossible for a union of writers not involved in these corporations’ internal production processes to somehow guess who wrote what game and magically bestow the awards on the proper creatives. If your favorite game isn’t here, don’t blame the WGA, blame the Publishers which hate and fear Labor Unions and are preventing their writers from stepping forward to claim their just desserts.

      As for games you don’t like that got nominated despite your personal feelings, well, EVERYONE voting on these nomination is a professional videogame writer, and we know from good and bad writing. We choose our nominations from the best of what was submitted, and we’re looking for the best WRITING, not the longest game or the most awesome graphics or coolest gameplay… character, story, dialog, theme… these are some of the things we’re rewarding. We’re WRITERS and this is an award for the Best Videogame Writing, not Most Wicked Awesomest Game of the Year.

      Some people say “Oh, just play the game” but there are hundreds of games that come out every year, and asking us to purchase all of them at full retail and then wade through them with a machete hoping to turn up a few with well written storylines is a pretty big ask. Fallout: New Vegas, for example, has several different paths through the game with completely different endings conditioned up on choices the player makes. It’s unreasonable to demand that our judges set aside a few hundred hours solely to repeatedly playing a game like F:NV when there are over 30 other submitted games to choose amongst… not when it’s possible for the same judge to read a script in a few hours. And even if we DID all of that work, we’d still be back to not knowing EXACTLY who wrote the game and to whom we should give the award.

      We worked on our rules for over a year before establishing this award. This is the fourth year we’ve given it out, and each year we’ve made small adjustments to be more inclusive while also trying to force game comapnies to properly credit and identify their writers. I think we’re doing a pretty good job, and I’m proud of all of the game writers nominated this year.

      -Micah Wright, chair, WGA Videogame Writers Caucus

  3. Here’s why even DEADLINE will cover the forced compound word “videogame” someday soon (this statiod is exactly 1 yr old, Jan 2010, in EU’s badly titled “bm” with Jodie Humphries reporting):

    “…it was announced that hit video game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 had made over $1 billion in worldwide sales since its release in November, 2009. With this and James Cameron’s Avatar both generating over a billion dollars worldwide, it shows the enormous draw of two separate entertainment platforms that, in recent years, have been fighting over their target demographic…”

    And those just two revenue monsters to explain why we care about who is penning these misnomered “games.”

    1. There’s also the simple fact that (a) Videogames are now a bigger business than theatrical, home video, and network television combined, and (b) that major Hollywood players like Warner Bros. and Paramount have created their own videogame divisions and are becoming prime movers in the videogame marketplace. The VP of Warner Bros. Videogames is an equal peer to the VP of Warner Bros. Features, and it won’t be too long before they eclipse their grosses. I once wrote a Looney Tunes videogame which outgrossed the theatrical film it was inspired by, for example… the perception that Film is the highest point of the Entertainment Industry Pyramid is going to be turned on its head soon.

      -Micah Wright, chair, WGA Videogame Writers Caucus

  4. For some time now the writing and story telling in games has had a much higher quality than most movies and tv (yes there are exceptions in all cases) so they should definitely be honored. Great Job!

  5. Force Unleashed 2 makes the list but Mass Effect 2 doesn’t. So no one actually read the submissions, then? Or played a… game?

  6. My money is on God Of War 3. The finally of an amazing videogame trilogy should get it’s due. The GOW franchise has set new benchmarks in platforming and spawned many imitations.

  7. Same old same old WGA Videogame nominees year in and year out. IMO there hasn’t been a good one of these since Spy Hunter.

  8. you have to submit the script to be nominated, and all writers on the game have to pay 75 bucks to be “adjunct members” for consideration. If one person didn’t want to pay the fee the game can’t be considered.

  9. This award ceremony is a farce. No Red Dead Redemption or Mass Effect 2? Even Halo reach had a better story than Force Unleashed 2.

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