Tag Archives: video games

INTERVIEW: Oliver Sudden, Scriptwriting Intern for Far Cry 4, on Scriptwriting for Videogames

Nick Sharps had the opportunity to chat with Ubisoft Scriptwriter Oliver Sudden about the new living-world game Far Cry 4.

Join them, won’t you?

Nick Sharps: Hello Oliver, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your position at Ubisoft Montreal.

Oliver Sudden: Well, I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario and I first came to Montreal to do a degree in Filmmaking at Concordia University.

I moved away and then moved back and after applying two or three times to Ubisoft Montreal, I was hired on as a scriptwriting intern and hope to become a full-time scriptwriter soon.

NS: It is my understanding that you worked on the action-adventure first-person shooter video game Far Cry 4. As a long time fan of the Far Cry franchise I have to say, this must have been an exciting opportunity. Can you tell us a little about your contribution to the game and what it’s like to work with a team of writers?
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Video Game Stop-Motion Animation with Everyday Objects

Adam Pesapane, a.k.a “PES”, is a stop-motion animation filmmaker. File this video-game themed animation under Oddly Captivating…

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BOOK REVIEW: You by Austin Grossman

REVIEW SUMMARY: Provides an interesting look behind the scenes of video game development, not such a strong story.


SYNOPSIS: After years of drifting through post-college life Russell joins Black Arts, a video game developer founded by friends of his from high school. He is unexpectedly thrust into a leadership role and forced to solve the mystery behind a bug that could ruin the new game and have more far-reaching consequences besides…

PROS: Written by someone with experience in the field; gives a sense of appreciation for things largely taken for granted in video games.
CONS: Nostalgia is expected to carry much of the book; very little conflict; uninteresting and shallow characters; confusing format and perspective shifts.
BOTTOM LINE: There is probably enough decent material here to fill a movie, definitely not enough to float a 400 page novel. There’s too much nostalgia and not enough substance.

You get a package in the mail from SF Signal. You rip it open, it’s Christmas in May! Inside is a hardbound copy of Austin Grossman’s latest novel, a fictional look inside the world of professional game makers. You’re excited to begin reading it. You haven’t read Austin’s Soon I Will Be Invincible but it sits on your overflowing shelf. You’ve seen some great review for Austin’s latest, comparing it to Ready Player One by Ernest Clines and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. You have read (and loved) The Magicians and The Magician King, books written by Austin’s brother Lev Grossman. You are anxious to begin and so you curl up on the hideous burnt orange couch in the living room and start reading…
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Here’s a video that captures the essence of TV’s LOST…told the way it meant to be told: as a classic videogame RPG.

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MIND MELD: Storytelling in Video Games

Video games are an evolution of the human tradition of storytelling. It began as tales told around a fire, progressed into images painted on walls, developed into text printed on paper, and advanced to moving pictures accompanied by sound. Video games take story telling a step farther. The audience is no longer a passive spectator, but is instead an active participant in the story being told. Often authors are tapped to write tie-in fiction for popular video game franchises, and sometimes they are even hired on to help craft compelling stories for the games themselves.

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: How do you feel about the state of storytelling in video games? What do developers do right? What could they be doing better? What games do you think tell excellent stories?

Here’s what they said…

William C. Dietz
New York Times bestselling author William C. Dietz has published more than forty novels some of which have been translated into German, French, Russian, Korean and Japanese.

If it was easy to write good games everyone would do it.

There was a time when killing aliens, monsters, and bad guys was enough. But not anymore. Now gamers want good writing too!

Yeah, yeah, I know. There are lots of games that don’t involve shooting things. And that’s good. But since I don’t play those games my expertise (such as it is) relates to shooting aliens, monsters and bad guys. And I believe good writing and good game play can coexist.

But before I get into that I should divulge that my perspective has been shaped by writing tie-in novels for franchises like Star Wars, Halo, Starcraft, Hitman, Resistance, and Mass Effect.

I’ve written games too, including Sony’s RESISTANCE: Burning Skies with Mike Bates, and the LEGION OF THE DAMNED® ios game with Conlan Rios. But I have never been a full-time employee of a gaming studio–so my knowledge is limited to what I have seen from the outside looking in.
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REVIEW: Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

REVIEW SUMMARY: The book is so intense that this reviewer lost sleep trying to get to the end.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An A.I.-controlled video game forces users to interact in the real world in strange and increasingly dangerous ways in order to advance levels in the game.

PROS: Intense writing; three-dimensional teen protagonists; fascinating video game; minor romance that develops naturally.
CONS: Reader is told friendships exist where there’s no evidence of them in the book; some readers may dislike the switch between the author’s use of past tense in the real world and present tense in the game world.
BOTTOM LINE: If you like video games and aren’t afraid of reading something labeled as “Young Adult”, definitely pick this book up.

Ursula Poznanski’s Erebos is readable, intense and clever. (Judith Pattinson deserves a lot of credit for her translation, too.) It revolves around a game called “Erebos” that is controlled by an artificial intelligence. There are three rules for playing Erebos:

  1. You only get one chance.
  2. You must play alone.
  3. The content of the game is secret.

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VIDEO QUIZ! Name These 20 Video Game Planets

Let’s see if you can identify all twenty video game titles in this animation quiz!

Mass Effect 3: Take Earth Back Trailer

Saw this on Tv. My first impression: Wow.

Second impression: creepy-looking child at 40 second mark.

Overall impression: Video games look so much better no then when I was a kid.
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