You’ve been curious about video game writing jobs and how to get them. After all, gaming has been your passion all your life and you love to write. So, if you can combine them, it would be a dream come true!
But you have more questions than answers. What video game writing jobs are out there? How do you qualify for them? And where do you look and how do you land these jobs?
Well, wonder no more!
We’ll share everything you need to know to identify the job you want and how to get it.
Ready? Let’s do this!
What is Video Game Writing?
Video game writing covers a variety of creative writing tasks in the industry, from writing scripts and packaging materials, to strategy guides and social media posts.
And these are great paying writing jobs! The expected average earnings are $74,841/year in the U.S.
Coupled with the phenomenal growth of the industry, it’s an opportune time to consider video game writing jobs.
13 Video Game Writing Gigs That’ll Make Your Dreams a Reality
So, below is an updated list of relevant video game writer jobs.
They’re listed by category for easier digestion.
Now, they’re not all cut and dry and some roles may overlap with others — you’ve been warned.
Dive in and you’ll see what I mean.
1. Video Game Scriptwriter
Like a movie screenwriter, scriptwriters manage the plot and the storyline of the game.
Equally they name and build:
- Characters and their dialogues.
- Scenes, environment, music, and sound.
- In game quests.
They also team up with other video game writers, game designers, and voice actors to bring the scenes to life.
2. Video Game Guide Writer
Video game guide writers write the player instructions and the basic backstory of the game. Skillful writers know every angle, so they can describe complex tasks quite succinctly.
Now, they may also write strategy guides that reveal cheat codes, hints, and other techniques to help players get out of jams during gameplay.
3. Video Game Narrative Designer
Narrative designers are the storytellers who determine the video game design. Amongst other things, they:
- Determine the pace of gameplay.
- Adjust the timing and use of cinematics.
- Solve issues of combining story elements with gameplay and interaction.
This is a complex role that requires high levels of collaboration with other departments.
4. Creative Story Editor
Creative story editors or lead writers are analogous to quality control or quality assurance. They:
- Ensure the gameplay is appropriate for their target audience.
- Check for consistencies in the script, story, and gameplay.
- Oversee the “big picture” by ensuring a cohesive experience across all platforms and games.
Since they also manage other video game writers, this would be a more experienced role.
Industry News & Reviews
5. Gaming News Writer
These are journalists who cover the video game industry. They focus on:
- Producing articles on gaming systems, new games and updates in technology.
- Report on game industry events like Comic-Con, E3 or GamesCom.
If you’re a gaming news junkie, this role might be for you.
6. Game Review Writer
Like the title says, these writers review video games. They may compare one game against another.
So, your research skills and knowledge base need to be on point to review them critically.
They also analyze gaming trends, so you need to have a pulse on the industry.
7. Gaming Blogger
Gaming bloggers cover many topics in gaming, such as new releases, game reviews, game guides, and the latest announcements.
While their role may overlap with other types of writers, they tend not to specialize in one area — hence the term “gaming blogger.”
However, some roles are specific:
Video game list post writers — gaming bloggers who write list post blogs involving video games.
Video game feature writers — gaming bloggers who write feature stories about popular gamers, talented designers, and trending topics in the industry.
Gaming Manuals, Secrets & Strategies
8. Product Manuals Writer
These writers produce gaming manuals that get the players started. They cover:
- Installation procedures
- Player instructions
- Helpful tips
The quality and the completeness of the writing are important, but its style and presentation are crucial to entice gamers to read and play.
9. Strategy Guides Writer
Strategy guides writers are similar to video game guide writers but they’re more focused on specific objectives and not the entire game.
Not only that, strategy guides writers cover not just one video game, but many.
Therefore, you must be knowledgeable of games and guide-topics, adaptable to trending news, and submit guides on time.
10. Video Game Book Writer
These writers produce lengthy, in-depth content about video games.
Often, game production companies publish the content themselves, so these writers are usually hired as ghostwriters.
This arrangement also protects the writer from copyright issues with the game developer, the game studio, and/or the game publisher.
Marketing & Social Media
11. Video Game Copywriter
Copywriters write sales and marketing copy to entice customers to buy the game. They are required to write a variety of copy which includes trailers, infographics, social media, etc.
They also write material for gaming events, so they play a key role in marketing and promotions.
12. Video Game Social Media Writer
These writers specifically write, edit, and publish game-related content onto social media platforms.
They communicate the latest news, upcoming events, press releases, and even gaming tips on social media.
But they need to be current on the latest happenings and trends in the video game industry.
13. Gaming Channel Script Writer
Have you ever seen a YouTube or a video channel showing a gamer navigating an obstacle during gameplay?
Well, gaming channel scriptwriters write the script for each video.
So, you should be proficient at identifying new trends and popular keywords to help the video rank in search results.
In addition, you should be familiar with scriptwriting for online media audiences.
The Required Chops to be a Video Game Writer
You should have excellent English language skills to help articulate your thoughts fully, logically, and clearly.
Higher education, like a degree in scriptwriting, is a plus for certain jobs, but is considered necessary to be competitive.
In fact, successful professionals come from diverse backgrounds, with degrees in history, political science, and theater that help enrich the game’s narrative design.
Regardless, writing should be enjoyable to make this your livelihood.
Keeping Smart with the Industry
The gaming industry is dynamic, and keeping up with news and trends is critical for your professional career and credibility.
It’s especially true if your job entails it — like news writers and game reviewers.
Even if you’re not dealing with the news directly, you’d want to know what’s going on in the industry relative to your job or company.
Just imagine dealing with a video game company or project only to find out that they’re about to have massive layoffs or budget cuts…
They say knowledge is power, but it’s much more than that — it’s a source of pride and respect — from others and for yourself. So, keep it up!
Play the Game
Imagine trying to write about a video game as your full-time gig, yet never having played the game — or any game, for that matter.
Hard to imagine, right?
That’s like being a sportswriter but having never played or experienced any sport.
As a video game writer, your creative writing will be more relevant if you can relate to the gamer’s perspective and experience.
Basically, familiarize yourself with the look and feel of the finished product, so you know what to do and how to get it right.
Communication & Teamwork Skills
Communication and teamwork will either make or break your career.
As a writer in the gaming industry, you don’t work in a vacuum. You’re surrounded by other team members whose work and direction directly impact yours, and vice versa.
You’ll need to coordinate and communicate with each other on a timely basis.
For instance, you may have written a dialogue based on a scene that the game designer set.
However, if they make any changes, you may very well have to follow suit.
You’re subject to creative direction set by others, so be receptive and collaborative.
Game development has many moving parts, so developers use apps to help organize and track each piece of a project.
Even Google Docs is a popular app among writers to help share and collaborate documents with other team members.
Whichever organizational tools you use, watch out for deadlines and keep everyone updated.
Research Is Gold
Other than what we’ve discussed before, research is an immensely valuable skill in video game writing.
Suppose you’re stuck trying to write about a warrior’s dilemma during a critical point in battle and need some guidance or inspiration.
What do you do?
You might look into some literature you’ve read before — maybe some Greek tragedies, a biography about a war hero, or even a fairy tale.
How did the protagonist handle a similar situation?
Whether you’re writing fiction or looking up some background info about a news story, sharpen your research skills!
Sticking to Specifications & Deadlines
As a game writer, typically, clients will give you specifications on what to write without much leeway for creativity.
Sometimes writers struggle to get all the details and nuances right, which results in numerous edits and rewrites — pushing the deadline back.
So, ensure you and the client are on the same page before you begin.
Ask questions and clarify anything you’re unsure about so you and your team can avoid any delay.
The Formula for Success as a Video Game Writer
So, what do you need to do to be a successful video game writer? Follow these steps to pave your way to success.
Create Your Awesome Portfolio!
Your portfolio is the first thing potential employers or clients ask for in the gaming industry.
They want to know immediately whether you can pass muster (i.e., match their job description).
So, create and update your portfolio that best demonstrates your breadth and depth of work.
Gather Intelligence on Companies & Industry
Suppose you’ve been writing games for PCs but you’ve noticed that there are fewer jobs in the field lately — what gives?
Had you kept up with industry trends, you would’ve known this much earlier as:
The largest growth engine in the industry today is for smartphone games with an annual growth rate of 45% (vs.19% for PC games).
You need to pivot, but it might be too late. Your capable competitors are way ahead of you.
Don’t let this happen to you. Gather intelligence so you’re never behind an 8 ball!
Guest Post on Video Game Sites
If you’re new to video game writing, guest post on video game sites to gain experience.
It’s a great way to build your portfolio to market yourself to potential employers and clients.
Add Your Ideal Job Title
On your portfolio and social media profiles, give yourself your target job title even if you haven’t held that title yet. It will help prospective employers find you when searching for candidates.
For example, LinkedIn has a section called “Headline” in your profile:
Don’t let this prime real estate go to waste. Type in your target job title, and add anything that will allow you to stand out.
So, searchers for video game writers will see something like this:
Notice the variation in the headlines.
Anne has the most elaborate headline on this page, marketing herself as an award-winning game writer and a narrative designer.
If you’re looking for a capable writer or a narrative designer, you’ll be tempted to click on her profile first, right?
So, craft your headline with a purpose and a strategy. Take advantage and self-advertise!
Pitch, Pitch, Pitch!
Have a 30-second elevator pitch that you can deliver perfectly upon demand. Be confident and polished in your delivery to impress them and seal the deal.
You don’t get a second shot with a first impression, so be prepared!
Unlike an employee who gets paid regularly, a freelance writer or business owner must manage contracts, invoices, and collections to get paid from their clients.
So, be aware of poor cash flow that could threaten your business. Track your receivables and expenses and consider accounting software like Quickbooks to simplify your life.
Lastly, taxes could get complicated, so consult a tax professional to comply with filing requirements.
Your Own Marketing Campaign
How do you stand out from the rest of the pack?
By marketing yourself on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, job board profiles) and your own website.
Promote your skills and experience and state your unique selling proposition to distinguish yourself from your competition.
For example, an experienced video game writer may deliver a unique value proposition like so:
Add testimonials from past clients, supervisors, and former colleagues as positive reviews generate trust and credibility.
A Network of Trust
Other game writers may be your competitors in one instance, but could be your allies the next.
So, build relationships, network and refer opportunities to others as they will likely do the same.
Plus, your contacts can be a great source of information about a prospective client or a company, so pick their brains before getting involved.
Monitor the Job Boards
Also, visit the websites of gaming companies and set up job alerts.
Additionally, employers and recruiters regularly source candidates on LinkedIn, so update and optimize your profile.
Meanwhile, keep networking in the games industry for any leads.
Rejected? Keep Moving!
It stings when you get rejected from a prospective employer or a project, but it’s just part of the territory.
Don’t take it personally.
Just move onto the next one as you don’t want to miss out on opportunities elsewhere.
Assess to see what worked and what didn’t. Invest more time and energy into hot leads, and withdraw from the ineffective ones. Then repeat from the top, and stay consistent.
Go Get the Video Game Writing Jobs That Rock Your World!
Remember when you could play your favorite video game all day long? You and your friends would share cheat codes so you could blast away that stubborn villain!
Those days are gone, but you’re still a gamer at heart. You wish to land a video game writing job that combines your passion for gaming with your enthusiasm for writing.
Well, look no further! If you follow the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to realize your dream of writing in the video game industry.
So dig in, persevere, and go get the success you deserve!