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Rhianna Pratchett on writing: "we do practice brevity a lot"

We talked with the writer in Bilbao about how game narrative is changing with new genres and roles.

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At Fun & Serious Game Festival 2018 in Bilbao we had the pleasure of sitting down and having tea with veteran games (and many other media for 20+ years) writer Rhianna Pratchett, as we wanted to take a look at how narrative is changing both in-game and in the industry.

"I was never introduced to someone like me," Pratchett recalls from when she was a games journalist in the Gamereactor interview below, as now game writers are better known and way more present. As an example of this, the writer mentions how narrative now gets its own awards, and how there are many more roles in the industry related to writing, both main and secondary.

"I really like both," Pratchett adds later on when asked about writing comedy or drama, even though she shows slight preference towards the former. In fact, she had "the most fun" when working on Overlord, and enjoyed the experience as "writers are control freaks" and she got to decide on every aspect.

Pratchett is also very proud of what they achieved with the latest Tomb Raider entries by Crystal Dynamics, as it was "quite a small team on TR and Rise", although "I would've really liked to have more humour in the game", with more "funny one-liners" for Lara Croft.

After talking about Mirror's Edge and how to start writing when you're facing the blank page, we ask Pratchett if she writes differently as of late given the shorter attention span of the younger generations. While it's not that much about timing and attention, "we do practice brevity a lot", she admits. "Scenes are quite short in comparison to what might be in a movie script or TV script, there's often repetition of information particularly, anything that the player needs to know to progress, and that is certainly a consideration when you're writing a scene - you know that you're going to have to contain a certain amount of information that is telling the player what they've done, what they need to do next, that is not necessarily natural to the scene". In the end, writers have to "balance out the information that is needed."

In the full interview below Pratchett talks about her current book-to-screen adaptations and a narrative adventure game called Lost Words: Beyond the Page. Beyond that for the future she's interested in new IPs and characters the most, and looking back she could "exercise my comedy glance" with the WB's Suicide Squad game that got canned but "was very fun to do".

What's your favourite work of hers?

Rhianna Pratchett on writing: "we do practice brevity a lot"


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