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BECOME A GAME WRITER
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
11 MAR 2024 - 24 APR 2024
MONDAYS & WEDNESDAYS, 5:30 PM PST / 8:30 PM EST
From character development to immersive world-building, empower yourself to create compelling narratives that leave players craving for more.
Join Adrian Ropp, Avalanche’s Lead Writer, to unleash your game storytelling potential
PLAY NOW
THIS COURSE IS FOR YOU,
IF YOU WANT TO
GW1 (2)
Channel Your Writing Passion into Gaming
Discover the basics of writing for games and master genre-specific skills to find your place in the game industry. Build a solid transition to the world of gaming.
GW2 (1)
To Advance Your Career in Game Writing
There's a person with a successful 29-year career in the entertainment field? Learn from Adrian Ropp to expand your knowledge of the game industry and get ready for networking with like-minded professionals.
GW3 (1)
To Collaborate in Game Studio Teams
Be prepared to take a helicopter view of the gaming industry. This course will help you deal with cross-team collaboration, advanced narrative design, new technologies, and current market trends.
You will gain and
improve skills to:
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CREATE NON-LINEAR STORYLINES
+40%
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WRITE STORYLINE DIALOGUES
+65%
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CREATE GAME CHARACTERS
+85%
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BUILD VIDEO STORYBOARD
+35%
What are you waiting for?
Start your game now
PLAY NOW
SYLLABUS
00
THU (3/7)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Meet Your Instructor & Course Overview
  • Instructor Introduction
  • Course Objectives & Flow
  • Q & A
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01
MON (3/11)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Video Game Writing in Game Design and Development
Learn about the role of storytelling, game writers’ skills, and common tools.
  • The role of a game writer
  • Storytelling in video games
  • Key skills for success
  • Game writer tool kit 

Assignment #1: Game Story
Pick a game you are currently playing and explain why you find the story effective.
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02
WED (3/13)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Game Development Life Cycle
Good ideas can stem from anywhere and be built upon. Learn how narrative elements intersect with game development and how to be analytical with your storytelling.
  • The game development process
  • A game writer’s role in the development process
  • Case Study: Hogwarts Legacy development life cycle
  • Workshop 1: Game Story Analysis
    Students pick a game they're currently playing and discuss it with peers, focusing specifically on the game's story and areas for improvement
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03
MON (3/25)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Narrative Design Theory
How do you actually start a story? With a plot? With an idea? Learn to make your narrative sing by balancing it with game design.
  • Creating the story structure
  • An iterative approach to plotting and pacing
  • Player choice vs. traditional storytelling
  • Storytelling tips and tricks for video games
  • Case study: God of War Ragnarok and Uncharted

Assignment #2: Player Choice and Branching Story (optional)
Choose a popular film and imagine how it could be different if player choice and a branching story were used.
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04
WED (3/27)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Creating Characters
Your character is more than your plot. They have a life & personality of their own. Let’s learn how to bring them to life and stay consistent with their thoughts, actions, and motivations.
  • Creating relatable characters (backstory & history)
  • Finding a character’s flaws and goals
  • Developing character arcs and non-player characters
  • Case Study: Sebastian Sallow, Hogwarts Legacy for character creation from concept to final game version
  • Workshop 2: Character Creation Speed-run 
    Students create a character complete with basic information, a brief backstory, and one unique trait.

Assignment #3: Hero Character
Create a hero character using the template outlined in this session.
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05
MON (4/1)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Dialogue Classes and Formatting + Guest Speaker
Here’s a tip: You should be able to guess which character is speaking simply by reading a random line. Here’s the lesson: In today’s class we’ll learn ways to approach dialogue. And we’ll learn how to connect the visuals with the words.
  • The rule of show don’t tell
  • How to give a unique voice to each character
  • The danger of too much specificity in player choice
  • Supporting level design
  • Workshop 3: Writing Dialogues
    A hero tries to get information from an uncooperative character with a secret. Break out into groups, write a dialogue exchange, and present it. 

Assignment #4: Writing Scenes with Dialogue
Write a scene in two ways - one with spoken dialogue and one in text.
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06
WED (4/3)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Genre-Specific Writing
Learn about the tropes that exist in different genres. This way your dialogue will never break tension but collaborate with it.
  • How genre influences storylines
  • The unique requirements of each genre
  • Character archetypes in different genres
  • Workshop 4: Genre-Specific Writing 
    Students will be divided into groups and given a genre. Write a description of a character/short story that aligns with your task.

Assignment #5: Genre Analysis and Rewrite
Students are assigned a specific game genre. They are to analyze the storytelling techniques and tropes typically used in that genre. Then, they must choose an existing game of a different genre and "rewrite" it to fit the assigned genre.
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07
MON (4/8)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Screenwriting for Cinematics
Grasp the big picture as you blend gameplay and cutscenes to allow the player to have autonomy.
  • The role of cutscenes in video games
  • Finding an economical approach
  • Creating engaging & memorable cutscenes
  • Cutscene vs. gameplay
  • Use Cases: Iconic cutscenes: The Outbreak Begins - The Last Of Us & The Sinister Six - Insomniac's Spider-Man
  • Workshop 5: Cutscene Critique 
    Show students a cutscene from a game and have them write a short critique, analyzing how effectively it conveys a story, reveals character, and integrates gameplay.

Assignment #6: Screenplay
Write a screenplay for a one-minute cinematic in screenwriting format.
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08
WED (4/10)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Crafting Additional Storylines for Existing Games
Learning how to add value will make you an asset. The goal is to make a brand stronger and to deepen the relationship with the audience and characters. But how? Let’s find out!
  • Brand withdrawal or Brand deposit?
  • What are the rules of this universe?
  • Why does this story need to be told?
  • Working with Game Design to create a clever narrative
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09
MON (4/15)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Branching Dialogue and Player Choice
You’re creative. So you likely want to create tons of outcomes. But the budget might say otherwise. Learn to limit choices & use the craft of writing to give the illusion of autonomy to the player.
  • Branching storylines and multiple endings
  • Player choice and agency in non-linear narratives
  • Interactive storytelling and its role in non-linear narratives
  • Narrative documentation
  • Case study: Witcher
  • Workshop 6: Reality of Player Choice in Games 
    Some amazing player choice ideas are beyond the company budget. Practice overcoming this challenge by aligning the limited budget with the given narrative to devise three different player choices. 

Assignment #7: Player Autonomy
Write an outline for a branching conversation with no more than three outcomes, preserving the illusion of player autonomy.
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10
WED (4/17)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Writing Barks & Callouts for Gameplay Moments
Craft impactful barks and callouts that enhance gameplay moments and apply best practices for writing them. Ensure they're concise, natural-sounding, and support the game's tone and narrative.
  • Barks & Callouts in Dialogue
  • Writing Barks & Callouts
  • Good Barks & Callout Tips

Assignment #8: Bark Sheet
Create a full sheet of barks using the information provided.
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11
MON (4/22)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Video Game Development Team + Guest Speaker
This is a part of the job where you’ll likely bump heads. So you’ll learn to problem solve, blend ideas, and work professionally in the industry. In this class, you’ll find commonalities with game designers and other writers to produce an engaging story.
  • Collaboration in game development
  • Working with mission, world, and level designers, artists, and voice actors.
  • Collaboration tools (Slack & Microsoft Teams)
  • Team Communication 

Assignment #9: Team Quiz (Optional)
Take a bonus quiz about the different roles in the game industry.
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12
WED (4/24)
5:30 PM PST/8:30 PM EST
Career Guidance
Networking. Career possibilities. Industry trends. And getting your foot in the door! Learn what to highlight and what to avoid when interacting with your next employer.
  • Career trends of 2024
  • Career possibilities as a video game writer
  • Portfolio & interview tips
  • Keys to appearing indispensable
  • How to find opportunities 

Assignment #10: Course Project: Professional Game Presentation
Make a Professional Game Presentation using the parameters outlined.
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WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY
EMILY (1)
"I had an amazing time in this class. I feel extremely encouraged to write again and confident enough to apply for game writing positions. I don't think I could say that prior to taking the class."
Emily Casebolt
Ben (1)
"Adrian was a great person to learn from as he was not only highly experienced, but also approached the subject with care and honesty and did his best to ensure everyone had the proper amount of attention. You could tell he genuinely loves game writing and also genuinely cared about each student's success. He also made himself very available outside of class to answer questions and clarify assignments."
Ben Sparks
MOE (1)
"Adrian's course offers an overwhelming amount of tips and advice on the craft and business of game writing, with a particular focus on AAA/IP-based games. In terms of craft, he elegantly weaves in the basics, like how to write good dialogue, with advanced, medium-specific areas, such as writing gameplay-to-cinematic transitions. When it comes to the business, he'll give you the secrets to landing the biggest IPs in pop culture, and walk through the dos and don'ts of being a writer in a team that must satisfy various stakeholders. He'll bring in guest speakers from the industry to offer indispensable wisdom in specialized areas."
Moe Abbas
INSTRUCTOR
ADRIAN
ROPP
Lead Writer,
Avalanche
Creates stories for projects worth $1B+: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Play Set, Toys to Life, Cars 2, Avengers, and Hogwarts Legacy.
29+ years experience in the Gaming, Movie, Comics, and Animation industries for such companies as Disney, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Marvel, MGM, DreamWorks, Universal, Fox, Archie Comics, WB, and Avalanche.
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