Are mainstream games written by multiple people?

Nereid

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Anyone knows how it works? Do they all, like, have just a city to write characters for, or something?
 

48Tentacles

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All you need to do is look at the credits screen if it's a game you already have or look the Wikipedia page of the specific game (this one less recommended).

Other method is looking at the introduction of the game if it's showing the people involved as credits. And as last resource, if it's a game you don't have, Youtube is your best friend by searching "NameOfTheGame Credits". Be careful with the spoiler territory tho.
 

The Stranger

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Big games usually do have multiple writers, yeah. They might not work on the same part of the game, but be assigned characters, quests, locations, and other such things to work on. They'll likely be led by a lead writer who'll at least make sure their work stays on track and fits together with what others have created, as well as provide direction for their team.
 

Nereid

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So, they do only have cities or such? How do they get the inspiration for that? "And you will be doing... the sewer in FF12" (It turned out to be cool, but I've no idea how if indeed someone was isolated doing just that and nothing else...)
 

The Stranger

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Yeah, I think that's roughly how it works. I mean, a writer doesn't just have a single location and that's that, they'll have this location, help write this quest chain, write this bit of background info, etc. I don't know how they find inspiration to write for such things. Maybe it comes to them as they work and discuss things with the other writers on the team.
 

TheoAllen

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If I recall correctly, Skyrim DLC (long before it becomes Special Edition, and now Anniversary edition). The DLC happened to be an inner "game jam". The team members were challenged to make a mod for Skyrim. One of them was the vampire lord. Another one was about building a house, and several others like werewolf perk. The idea that stood out went to become the DLC.

I believe the story and the questline could work the same way. As in, they just bounce ideas back and forth and see which one is worth adding. As long as we have the base of the world-building done, the team agrees, you could start to write a different part of the story and reference to each other.
 

ATT_Turan

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Do they all, like, have just a city to write characters for, or something?

"And you will be doing... the sewer in FF12"
The way you're mentally dividing up what needs to be written seems unusual :stickytongue: Like, as far as "a city" or "the sewer" goes, there's fairly little actual writing involved in that stuff.

The writing portion would be more:

Balthier, Fran and Vaan escape on Balthier's hoverbike, but the Goddess's Magicite Vaan had pilfered from the treasury saps the bike's skystone of power and they crash-land into the Garamsythe Waterway, the city's sewer system that was exposed during the attack from Ifrit.

Though Balthier still wants Vaan's treasure, the three decide on a temporary truce as they look for a way out of the sewers. They meet the leader of the Resistance, Amalia, separated from her companion Vossler, retreating through the sewers after the failed attack on the Consul.

And that's what needs to be written. Then there are a few little cutscenes of dialogue which would take a person, like, a few minutes to write (maybe several times, with submitting it for approval or feedback). Most of the work on the sewers would be with level and monster design, and the associated 3D modeling work, rather than writing.

Similarly with the city...how much actual writing of stuff happens there? Aside from the main plot cutscenes and dialogues, what is there to write? Wandering citizens that have a few sentences to say, which you'd knock out in under a minute each.

The actual writing for a game's story is typically the short part, which is why you usually see suggestions to get it done first, because the actual construction of the game's locales and graphics and programming is what takes a long time.
 

Nereid

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Is it... just me that spends hours on the story, then? I usually write a lot of dialogue on one page, then self-switch to a page of a single line, or so... I remember spending hours talking to people in mainstream games too, though...
 

greenrivers

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Is it... just me that spends hours on the story, then? I usually write a lot of dialogue on one page, then self-switch to a page of a single line, or so... I remember spending hours talking to people in mainstream games too, though...

You're definitely not the only one. Writing is probably the shortest part of making a game, but it still isn't something you can just bang out in an afternoon, especially if you're a solo dev or part of a small team. Depending on the kind game, there may also be a lot of dialogue trees, different outcomes, party banter, and flavour text (like books and notes), not to mention writing out the overarching narrative.

For some people this may be a very fast process. Others, not so much.
 

Nereid

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I just like writing a lot (it may be the reason why no one wants to play it...) - even if there aren't conditionals etc... also, more dialogue after some switches are triggered, of course... always liked going to previous towns to see what characters say newly...
 

The Stranger

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I just like writing a lot (it may be the reason why no one wants to play it...) - even if there aren't conditionals etc... also, more dialogue after some switches are triggered, of course... always liked going to previous towns to see what characters say newly...
A lot of people like RPGs because they enjoy stories, good or interesting characters, etc. Whether they enjoy your writing is another matter entirely. :p
 

Nereid

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A lot of people only seem to like simplistic narratives, though... not complex rationales that involve thinking... of course, if it's too simplistic and just has a story similar to what came out before then they'd criticize that, too... so, people don't know what they like, I suppose...
 

ATT_Turan

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Is it... just me that spends hours on the story, then?
As a distinct measurement of time, no, it's not just you. But it depends on how much you're getting accomplished in those hours.

With the example I used above, those sentences are pretty much all of the "story" that needed to be written for the Garamsythe Waterway. I would daresay that if it took you hours to create that plot synopsis for one of your dungeons, that would be unusual.

Within the sewers themselves, there are 5 scenes with any dialogue, which I estimate don't total 5 minutes to be read out loud. That's not a lot of writing, but if your creative process led you to take hours to craft those minutes with just the right wording, and having each character keep their unique voice...I wouldn't look down on you for it.

But I also wouldn't see why it required a team of writers. Say all of that was true, and it took you several hours to write the sewers. That's a portion of one day's work to write one of the game's dungeons. That means you should be able to knock out several in one day, and it takes a lot of days for professional games to get made.
 

Nereid

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I actually meant the underground in the city, not that waterway... where there are certainly more people than battles...

And yeah, I started this thread wondering whether there's still anyone at all who has just one person writing the story... since, it appears to me, it would be more inspired and cohesive...

I can't believe that even FF1 Sakaguchi wrote it with Terada, when it had such a simple story...
 
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Nereid

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Does anyone know if there's even some name for a position in which someone writes everything? Or does it not exist at all?
 

Andar

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it is extremely uncommon to have a single writer on large projects, only small games are done by single people - and even then the main developer/writer usually commissions or requests part of the work from other people.

however the absolute requirement for any teamwork is that everyone has to be able to organize their thoughts and write down a good summary. Only with such an organized summary it is possible for multiple people to work on a single story.

And that is another reason why we asked you again and again in your older request topics to organize your thoughts into a coherent description. It is simply impossible for anyone to help you (or for any team to work together) if one of the persons involved cannot make such a coherent description of what is needed.
 

Nereid

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Oh, I guess I can't quite do that effectively due to never having been in such a situation before, then. It's still sad, though, that unless it's an amateur game I'm likely never to find anything which doesn't compartmentalize narratives...
 

Andar

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or you can simply learn to organize yourself - that is a skill like any other, and there are books out there which teach how to do that.
It just can't be learned in a week or a month, it takes much more commitment than a few hours of reading.

If you're really interested, the following bundle is available for three more days:
 

Nereid

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I can write fiction, just not, apparently, to make myself understood in bureaucracies... which is why I'd rather be able to write the whole story myself, preferably in my own room, but corporative behemoths can't possibly ever be that flexible...

I'm still surprised that FF1 was written by two people... there was barely anything comprehensive from what I remember... and Square barely existed.
 

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