With the lack of respect given to writers in the industry it's only a matter of time before collective frustration causes The Shining
. Richard Dansky, writer of numerous games, most recently Splinter Cell: Double Agent
and Rainbow Six: Black Arrow,
held a roundtable on tips, techniques and concerns for writers in the industry.
After convincing a developer to actually hire a writer, which is apparently an issue all on its own, much of the conversation revolved around cutscenes. Some saw it as a reward and others thought it took players out of the game. Currently most story progression in games is handled by cutscenes so debate over the proper way to handle a cutscene is key. Dansky points out that one thing he thinks is important in a cutscene is to not show anything that the player can't actually do with the avatar in the game.
One of the most interesting concepts brought up in the discussion wasn't necessarily even a "writer issue." After some conversation about unskipable repeating cutscenes when a player consistently dies, Brett Tosti of Factor 5 said, "What if we saw a brief game cutscene that told us how they failed their mission, that might be helpful." Hmmmmmm, that might be helpful in a game like Gears or War
or tactical games where you can't really get a sense of the big picture with all the fighting going on.