How To Write A Good Game Story

Stories are an essential part of games. Surely there are games that don’t seem to have a story – but if you look closer, you see that they actually have a lot going for them.

Look at chess – chess doesn’t seem to have story. But if you look at it closely, it has characters, a world, progression, and a plot. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end. Even little pawns have an adventure and a transformation ahead. It’s all-out war, with conflict, death and victory. There are kings, queens, even horses. I say chess has a story, dammit.

Another example is Angry Birds. The story of Angry Birds is very short. Is it a story at all? Yes. The birds are on a mission. They hate the guts of these pigs. The Angry Birds story is one of thievery, sacrifice, parenthood, and ultimately revenge.

Stories are essential. In games there are heroes and villains. There is conflict, there is an imaginary world. We need to provide players with stories to give them context as to what they are doing.

With that in mind, here is my process for writing stories.

How to write good stories for games

Step 1: Create the world

The story starts with the world. Geography is important, and it gives you a whole range of ideas to work with.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Which continents does this world have?
  • Which cities are there?
  • Who lives here?
  • Are there interesting landmarks?
  • What could spawn conflict in this world?
  • How did the nations come to their current form?
  • Are there contested borders?
  • Do people have enough resources? (food, water, wood etc)
  • What technologies exist? (magic? teleportation?)
  • Are there specific cultures?
  • Is there free trade? Freedom of religion?
  • What kinds of governments are there?
  • Are people thriving or struggling in this place?

When you have the world set up, you can use it as a guideline for your characters’ backstories. The world will also be your point of reference for any future games you might be making in the same “universe”. Think hard about this step, and the rest will be much easier.

(I generated the world of Momonga in Minecraft. I’m lazy.)

Step 2: Create the characters

The characters are the most important asset. A good character is someone the player can relate to. This means that he or she is “human” (even when they’re not). What makes someone “human”? They have flaws, a history, and somewhere deep down they have good intentions, no matter how messed up they are.

Characters are constructed. They have emotions, assumptions about the world, goals, likes and dislikes, enemies and friends. But most importantly, they have a history. This is where you start the construction.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • In what environment did they grow up? (Link this to the world design!)
  • What were they like at age 5? At age 15? 30? 50?
  • Do they have particular skills? (Use this for your game mechanics!)
  • Were there life-changing events in their past?
  • What is their personality like? How would they react in specific situations?
  • What do they look like?

Note that we start in the past. The events and environments shape a character, and this in turn determines their personality. Then, and only then, do we define the looks.

(Note that I am guilty of defining the looks first. This is the easiest mistake to make.)

(Also note that if you are a man, it is very easy to forget to add women in your game. I am guilty of that too and I am ashamed of it. So please add women. And let them talk to each other.)

(if nothing else, your game characters make for some great business cards)

Step 3: Write the Grand Storyline

The grand storyline is the overarching conflict. You probably don’t want to reveal this in your game all at once, but with little bits. In the case of Momonga, we are stepping into all-out war, with the momongas at the center of it. But when you play the game, you only see a tiny little bit of that grand story. You see Momo’s village under attack, and you see that Panda rescues him. The true scope of the adventure is still hidden, and that gives us plenty of opportunity to raise the stakes and introduce new characters and obstacles.

The Grand Storyline should tie in with the World design. A great way is to ask these questions:

  • Which nations / rulers are in conflict?
  • What is the history of these nations?
  • What is the role of the hero in the grand scheme of things?
  • Is there an event (in the past or future) that shakes up the world?
  • Which unknowns are revealed along the way?
  • How are different characters plotting and clashing?

A beautiful story to take as an example is Game Of Thrones. The books and series alternate between lively “close-ups” of the main characters. You see them breathing and bleeding, and you get to know them. But every now and then, there are events that shape the course of history. These events should be mapped out in your Grand Storyline.

Step 4: Write the Game Story

When you have your world, your characters, and your Grand Story, it is time to take a tiny little piece of all that fluff. It is like framing a photo so that only a little bit is visible. You zoom in, and leave things out. Only tell the things that are important.

A good checklist for writing the dialogue and in-game story:

  • Is this moving the story forward?
  • Is this revealing something of a character?
  • Can a third-grader understand it?

It’s a simple checklist, but every line needs to follow these rules. And that can be tough to accomplish.

That third one may be a bit controversial. After all, not all games have to be kindergarten material. But please, pretty please, keep things simple. One line on screen at a time. No fancy words. No extravagant grammar. Simple punctuation. A guy from Popcap gave a great speach at GDC 2012, about the dialogue in Plants vs Zombies. He called it the “sophisticated caveman”. Write as though someone from the ice age would say it – except without the grunting and skullbashing.

This is not because your players are stupid. It is because they are impatient. And when you write lines that they can understand at a glance, they will pick up on the story even though they skip through the dialogue. They might even forgive you for throwing words at them.

Step 5: Make the Storyboard

Yay, we get to draw now! The next step is to make the storyboard and show your teammates how it should all look on screen. There is not much to be said here, but storyboarding is an art in itself and it takes some skill to communicate cutscenes clearly.

Here is the storyboard for the introduction cutscene:

(read from left to right, and note that this is not finalized yet)

Step 6: Implement the story in the game

Great, you have a story! You have worked for weeks on end to get that done. But now it turns out, you are making a chess game! Ohnoes! Chess doesn’t have a story, right?

When implementing the storyline in your game, you are in charge. The trick is to mix and match the game mechanics with the narrative. And this can be tricky – especially when you are making a chess game (or in our case, a pinball game).

You have a lot of tools at your disposal. Here are a few:

  • Cutscenes – simply pause the gameplay and show some dialogue or pre-scripted action.
  • Environment – Your levels tell a lot about the world and its history.
  • Enemies – The bad guys tell a story by just being there.
  • Allies – Your teammates can make scripted decisions that progress the story.
  • Loading screens – give them something to read or look at while waiting.
  • Artbooks, blogs, special content – it doesn’t have to be all in the game.

We mostly use cutscenes and the environment to tell the story.

This is what that looks like in Momonga Pinball Adventures:

(still work in progress, but it’s getting close)

Step 7: Iterate!

This is the step that allows me to be lazy. Because when you iterate, you can delay the hard work of writing a bit. But only a bit, mind you.

I don’t have time to write a 500 page world bible. So I don’t. I wing it. And that is how it should be when you’re making a game.

I like to start from the top: Make the world, characters, grand storyline. After “sketching” that out, I take the plunge all the way down to the dialogue. I want to see if the story fits with the game mechanics. And play around with it. But then it is time to take a step back and see if it all still works in the grand scheme of things.

When you do this, you will have to re-think certain characters, or even change big chunks of the world. This is no big deal, except if you reach a dead end street. And being cornered is the one thing to avoid. So you always need to think two steps ahead and have a plan ready for when things don’t turn out well.

With a bit of luck, you will have a good world with great characters. And with enough hard work, it will all fit together. And when it does, you might be having your hands on the next Lara Croft 😉

Your Turn

How about you? Do you have any tips to share? Leave them in the comments so we can all write better stories! And get filthy rich!


PS: I will be at Gamescom next week, and the week after I am at Got Game Conference (giving a talk on Momonga on Tuesday) and Unity. So my posting schedule will be a bit different than usual.

  • Wallysson
    Posted at 18:17h, 19 August

    Well, i was searching for other things at web, and i dont know how i got at this website… The thing is…

    Actually i`m developing a game with unity, and i was having trouble with the story line… I was making the character background on the game, but everytime i was getting lost, forgetting about details, making some mistakes about each character other specifc things…

    Using this pattern, creating the world first, geographic, them create the character history is better! Thank you by posting this article, it’s helping me a lot to write my history…

  • Wallysson
    Posted at 01:51h, 20 August

    Also, i would like to know if i can translate and post this article at my blog with all credits and links pointing at original source… Awesome information, need to share it with my friends, i’m from Brazil… Thank you!

    • Derk
      Posted at 10:58h, 20 August

      Hi Wallysson,

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad that the article helped you out!
      If you want to translate and post, that is okay, please get in touch with me at derk [at] and we can discuss the details. Perhaps we can arrange it as a guest post on your site.


      • Vishal
        Posted at 07:51h, 28 August

        Hello Derk.. I am having Great story.. Wih Characters look and all things included.. but the thing is.. I am still looking for features of story line up… How Can I add it??

        • shyam
          Posted at 13:24h, 06 August

          Use u r creativity don’t mind of grammatical mistakes &spelling mistake
          All the bst

      • Md anees
        Posted at 03:52h, 19 January

        Hey derk I don’t know how to present a story in kinds of paperwork please help me

  • Jalal Sela
    Posted at 15:02h, 07 January

    This is really good… thanks 🙂

  • godspower
    Posted at 16:05h, 19 January

    I want to creatE a game titled ENTRAPED.does this means my game will have all that you have said or just some major stuffs.

    • Derk
      Posted at 17:35h, 19 January

      Some games don’t even need that much of a story… but I recommend to think a bit about the world and the main characters in the game. And if you’re building something like Tetris, you may not need anything at all except for a theme.

      Good luck! 🙂

      • Alejandro Villarreal
        Posted at 10:18h, 04 January

        hello Derk thanks for taking your time in helping out others who also shared the same passion for videogames. your outlines have really helped me a lot also wanted to ask you if you need to be necessarily a game producer or can you just be a story writer for a game. also what career do i have to take in order to become a videogame writer.

  • Icetrap
    Posted at 23:31h, 12 April

    amazing! thanks for the tips.. gonna try really hard and spend my time on details, plot and the whole stor… wish me good luck..

  • Derk De Geus
    Posted at 22:03h, 15 April

    Thanks Icetrap! Good luck with your project 🙂

      Posted at 13:53h, 22 June

      Thank you so much. I’m writing a comedy rpg, and its very story heavy.

    Posted at 21:54h, 03 July

    Hey Thanks alot! this helped me in so many points on my rpg game progression! and i learned something! thanks once again! great writtin!

  • Awes01
    Posted at 04:23h, 05 August

    Oh thank you so much I am outlining a game on animal survival but I didn’t know exactly how to go about it. But now I know exactly where to start thanks to you. I’m not really sure about the storyline but I guess animals are unpredictable so why not make the game too? Thank you again this is so helpful I hope more people are able to stumble upon your advice!

    • Derk De Geus
      Posted at 09:32h, 10 September

      Thanks Awes01, great to hear that the post was useful. Good luck with your game!

  • Bryan
    Posted at 04:32h, 25 August

    Thanks alot for the advice, im just starting my first game but wanted to get a better understanding on what I should be doing. This helped alot 🙂

  • etaash
    Posted at 10:05h, 28 August

    Thanks for this advice, I really needed this, as the current game i am making needs an epic storyline.

  • waqar
    Posted at 22:18h, 09 September

    hello Derk De Geus, i am waqar from pakistan.i want to apply for Bachelor in game design next year in kyUAS Finland.please tell me some Idea….how i can pass the entrance exam…
    Last time i had participate in the test..but refused because my entry test was not so good.
    the question was that.
    examiner give us some pictures (apple/spoon/mug/ball/racket)etc and ask create a game by using these things…and also draw the characters and environment of the game)means create a whole game.

    • Derk De Geus
      Posted at 12:01h, 10 September

      Hi Waqar,

      Here are some tips to get you started:

      – Create your design with your players in mind. What will they do? How will they react to the things you’re presenting to them? How will you give them feedback?
      – Creativity is combining things to form new things. Mixing up objects or concepts can be very useful to come up with innovative ideas. Your examiner seems to know this, because the assignment is tailored for this. You can work you “idea muscle” by coming up with new combinations / ideas every day.
      – A related notion is that you should also look at the real world, and your own experience, to come up with unique ideas. Don’t just look at other people’s games, but think about what you’re seeing in the news / on TV / in your real life. How could you turn this into a game?

      Hope this helps! Good luck 🙂


  • Sebastian Perry
    Posted at 21:06h, 20 September

    Thank you so much for this advice! Truth is, I’ve been spending YEARS developing this one little plot… I’m at a point where I really want to actually make it, but the plot has a lot of holes in it. I’m going to try out this method and see where it goes. I’m a programmer, which means I’m a terrible artist XP, but thanks!

  • Koro
    Posted at 10:50h, 02 October


    I am a young director, with above average interest in art, fantasy and science. I loved the GOT example, it seems to be very accurate. you have summed up what I have been searching for a long time, Effective story telling within the modern arts (and in particular the game genre) however, I was wondering how does one approach the game industry with this “Bible”? Are there certain rules for submitting your “bible”?

    Thanks again,


    • Derk De Geus
      Posted at 19:57h, 13 October

      Hi Koro, well to be honest, the “bible” approach is probably not going to be enough. What you require is funding, and most game funders are overwhelmed with great concepts. If you want to sell a concept to them, you will need to blow them away – and a hundred pages of storyline are not going to do that.

      I recommend to create a prototype if possible, or at least a visual storyboard (preferably animated) of the game you envision. After all, the backstory is just the context for gameplay – and it probably won’t determine the fun factor as much as you would think it does.

      Before you start building, I would also recommend to ask people in the games industry for feedback. If you don’t know anyone, you might want to try an online forum. It’s scary but will usually provide you with some honest criticism and a good sense of where you are in terms of breaking into the games industry.

      Team up, ask for feedback and help – it is unlikely that the idea will get stolen and with a bit of luck you will get your first bits of momentum for the game.

      Good luck!

  • Dave.
    Posted at 17:27h, 18 October

    Hi, I am in my last year of a screen writing degree so the writing part is not a problem. What do I do next? How do you get your idea made and how do you approach the company, who do you talk to?

  • raie
    Posted at 13:32h, 27 November

    Once upon a time in the year 1800 , there is this pet collector named Al-Jazari. Al-Jazari likes to collect unique pets from all over the country. On his 50thbirthday , he got a 2-headed dragon from china, an elephant from India and a bird from Malaysia. Al – Jazari kept the 3 pets together at a wasteland near his house. The dragon, bird and elephant live happily together at the wasteland until one day when the bird laid a golden egg. Since the relationship between the bird and the dragon are rock solid, the bird will ask the dragon to take care of the egg when he is away to hunt for food. However due to the curiosity and greediness of the dragon, the dragon stole the golden egg from the bird when he is away and ran into the forest with the help of the elephant . When the bird found out that his egg is missing , he ran into the forest as fast as possible hoping to catch the dragon when suddenly they met at the forest……(can you check this storyline,it is right??)

  • ColdArrow
    Posted at 05:18h, 19 December

    Hey I’ve read this article, an omg it’s really inspirational… As two side questions do u know a good game maker program I could use to help, and secondly would it be a big thing to Kindof have two worlds type ????

  • Alex Hart
    Posted at 10:46h, 19 December

    This is very enlightening, thank you!

  • Carla
    Posted at 03:09h, 12 February

    I still havn’t finished secondary school yet but I was thinking of going into the gaming industry. But I don’t know where to start. I like, actually I love, writing stories and thinking of plots etc.. But how do you succeed as a story writer? And thank you for all the useful tips 🙂

  • Tran Bich
    Posted at 11:01h, 18 March

    It’s really useful for me. Thanks for ur post. I’ve learnt much

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  • Shailesh
    Posted at 19:52h, 17 September

    Hi, Carla. I’m also focusing on going to game industry but I don’t really make storylines and plots properly, my brain makes me think of hectic things half way through the plot. I’m more into puzzles and making worlds. BT Dubb Z. I’m in Grade 5.

  • Eve
    Posted at 17:16h, 24 September

    Thank you very much! this was really helpful
    I wanted to write a game concept just for fun but i had troubles
    and was confused and lost on what to do but I’m glad
    I found this guide and I’ll use to aid me.

  • Eric
    Posted at 11:56h, 03 October

    Hi Derk,

    Nice blog you have here. I am actually a game developer looking for a good game writer for my Mafia-themed RPG game. Can you recommend a site or a person who I can hire as a freelancer?

    • Robin Jackson
      Posted at 16:24h, 27 July

      Hi Eric,
      Did you find a writer for your game?

    • Rayan Bakhsh
      Posted at 15:13h, 13 June

      I would like to know more about game designing and development Mr.Eric. Could you teach me how they are used in certain tasks! In the meantime, I could help you with your game since I’m a gamer. I like RPG games and would love to help by commenting. Would that be ok?

  • gianluca
    Posted at 05:22h, 17 October

    i am going to try to get ideas for shooter or first person shooter game. Can you help?

  • Al Amin
    Posted at 01:24h, 17 November

    Hai…I never know this website helps me a lot…thank you

  • Kunal
    Posted at 12:34h, 11 January

    Brilliant article ! Thanks a ton !
    I just have one question…. Are there any variations of these steps suited for Serious Educational Games, or should I follow the same design methodology as presented here ?

    • Derk De Geus
      Posted at 14:12h, 14 January

      Hi Kunal,

      For serious games, there are other considerations as well – for example, you will probably want to model the game after certain real world elements. I would start with the boundaries of the game. Figure out what it is you want players to learn, and which elements of the game are “non negotiable” in terms of realism or educational value. These elements are your boundaries and you should not change them (for example, if you create a game about energy, you will need a somewhat realistic representation of current and future energy sources and how they are used). The rest of the world and story is yours to create, and the steps to get there are roughly the same.

      Good luck and have fun 🙂

  • Torsten
    Posted at 18:29h, 13 February

    Hi, thx for this articel. I enjoyed it 🙂 and it helped me to structer my thoughts for maybe creating my own pc-game.

    I also bought your game cause of this articel 😉 It’s a really funny idea and I love the pictures.

    What I don’t like is the music. It’s a sad and fuming story and the sound is like a cheap happy gameboy melody. For me that is annoying. So I turned it off and like the game 😉

  • josh
    Posted at 09:29h, 26 February

    i am not much of a story writer could you send me a story and i could make game with it pls reply at my email Id

  • ala
    Posted at 18:59h, 03 May

    just the intro is really very explanatory, yay!! I know now

  • Tinu
    Posted at 12:51h, 04 May

    Hello Derk, how are you? i just came across this article and it helped me a lot. please can u send me your email, i have some things ill like to discuss with you at length and also some ideas i will like to share with you. i was hoping i could seek your advice on a new game i just started working on. hope to hear from you soon.

  • Imshah Madiha
    Posted at 23:57h, 28 May

    a very good informative article indeed. its helping me alot in my game design 🙂 thank you

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  • vivek
    Posted at 10:55h, 22 July

    hello derk,i m having a good story so i just want to tell my game story to any gaming company so that to create a good game…. how can it will be possible????

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  • Staffan Nordström
    Posted at 02:38h, 20 August

    Hello, like others that ended up here with a different topic in mind I feel as if though my entire career choice was questioned when I read this. I don’t mean that as a bad thing, you’ve really given me the nudge I needed to steer me off the evil 3D modeling path back to prioritizing what I secretly love — writing. this time with a pointier stick! I realize this post was made two years back, if only I had read it sooner, then again I guess it’s never bad to know what your writing will come out like in the end, perhaps even making it easier for artists to wing it themselves? Oh, I’m rambling again, I’ve got a question though if you’re still here. I’m still learning and never worked in the industry, finding things out as I go… ANYWAY to get to the point, what I was looking at as “end game” was becoming an environmental artist telling stories with atmospheres. I also hear this is the department where the jobs are at but that’s somewhat beside the point. what work could one expect, I mean I doubt there’s many people getting to write Mass effects storyline alone, how many jobs as a creative writer is there-ish?Thanks 🙂

    • Derk De Geus
      Posted at 18:48h, 15 January

      Hi Staffan, thanks for your comment and kind words. Choosing a career path in the games industry is never easy, and I firmly believe that the most important thing is to follow your passion. If that’s all over the place, that’s fine too – you will need many different disciplines. Although you do need many different skillsets, it is almost always best to specialize in one thing the most. The only exception is if you’re a lone cowboy indie developer, then you might have to do everything yourself.

      With regards to environment art and storytelling, you are completely right that there is much overlap. If you are good at one, you will become better at the other. So try it out, see if you have a knack for it and if it’s fun – and then go all the way.

      Although there is little chance you will work on the writing for a franchise like Mass Effect, there is a lot of work as a writer. Lots of games need at least some measure of dialogue, worldbuilding and character design. It is true that a more technical profession such as 3D modeling and environment art will make you more sought-after in the industry, but don’t let that stop you from exploring the opportunities!

      All the best,

    • Chris Gestalis
      Posted at 00:04h, 20 April

      Hey Staffan –
      I read your post and Derk’s reply. That’s a question that has come across my mind at times. I love videogames and the idea of helping to write a fantasy driven epic plot for a game would be a dream of mine. I myself am a fiction writer and I came across this article for the simple reason of writing!
      I am writing a fantasy story, and am working to draw Virtual Reality into it as a means of conveying my main character from real life through a game, to the real-er world that appeared to be the game at first. I came here looking for ideas on how to write a videogame into a novel interface. This is a great outline to follow (not super lazy in my opinion), however, if Derk is here, can I pick your thoughts on writing a videogame into a novel? (And not like Halo or Warhammer.)

      • Derk
        Posted at 19:59h, 20 April

        Hi Chris, sure – not sure if I can add a lot to the topic though, as I’m not a novelist and I expect that it will come down to outlining and writing skills. Here are some pointers that come to mind, perhaps it comes in handy:

        – How to describe a videogame world? When you play a game, what are the subtle differences with real life? How would you describe something in the real world and how does that compare to the sensations of a videogame? For example, there is no smell in a videogame.
        – In The Matrix, all the scenes in the real world have the full color range, with an emphasis on blue. The scenes in the matrix have a green color. This is a subtle differentiation that tells the viewers what they are looking at. If you can do the same in words, even if it’s subtle, it will make a big difference.
        – Most games are all about action.
        – VR has very limited movement possibilities, and things like rollercoasters will give you nausea.
        – Games have a very different set of limitations than the real world. You can see that in level design vs architecture. Rounded curves and intricate details are “expensive” in games when it comes to processing power. Size is very expensive in the real world, but in games it doesn’t matter.
        – In games, the player always has a choice. Usually, almost nothing happens when the player doesn’t do anything. This often makes the protagonist very bland, because the player will “fill in” that role themselves.

        Hope this helps!

  • Fish
    Posted at 20:50h, 27 August

    I like how you show how to make a game by making a game

  • himanshu
    Posted at 12:48h, 13 September


  • Domantas
    Posted at 14:43h, 27 September

    Can someone help? I’m creating a game, and I need story with revenge or something like that. Please help me to crate something original 🙂

  • Joe Frisch
    Posted at 17:36h, 14 October

    Hi Derk, I am writing a paper on the Video Game writing process for my English 12 class because it is my dream job to get to be a Video Game Writer/Designer. I would like to interview you on the process. If you are willing to help me, please contact me back. Thank you.

  • Maheshkumar
    Posted at 07:27h, 16 October

    Thank you very much Derk sir.. I am interested in writing a game concept your article help me so much sir.My ambition is to place in a good gaming company sir how can i get that company sir. please help me that you now about that sir and contact me sir…thanks

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  • Mobolaji Oluwaniyi
    Posted at 19:47h, 09 January

    If you really want to make money visit this site

  • xj-klassic
    Posted at 01:59h, 13 January

    thanks for the info…it has been very helpful.i’ve been writing a game and ive followed your my story a sorceress is supposed to trick a god into giving her his deity.please tell me how she can do that

  • Max Pliskin
    Posted at 06:36h, 14 January

    Wow! Reading through this, this is an awesome guide that really simplifies the daunting task of writing any kind of stoey, not just for video games. Thanks for the help!

  • Rebecca
    Posted at 00:12h, 27 February

    This was really blooming helpful!
    Thank you so much!
    I already had an idea in my head but with this I realized some important details that I could include to make the story so much more interesting that I would have missed without. I appreciate this very much!

  • POPgum6236
    Posted at 20:10h, 29 February

    you really helped me out with my homework, thanks it was to create a story for a game. i have looked on all the other websites but i never understood them but this one made this homework seem so easy. thanks again.

  • Alaskancrafter
    Posted at 06:39h, 28 April

    How is this “back of the book” for my game?

    Anderson Smith sets off on a journey to find the mysterious Treasure of The Mississippi. But what he finds is a map. This map leads him around world to search for various artifacts. The map eventually takes him to Egypt, where he finds the truth behind the French and Indian war, The American Revelotionary War, The French Revolutionary War, The War of 1812 and The American Civil War.

    How’s that, also (spoiler) the secret is about aleins and the Mississippi and Nyle rivers and a flying saucer crash, which I haven’t fully developed the idea for yet.

  • The Ultimate Guide To Writing Video Games | The Screenwriting Spark
    Posted at 00:02h, 10 May

    […] How To Write A Good Game Story | Paladin Studios […]

  • Derp Squad
    Posted at 00:30h, 24 May

    I have a question. How do you get an idea? I’m stuck on retrieving the idea for my game.

  • Nobody
    Posted at 07:27h, 02 June

    Hey would you be able to help me with something I am trying to make a game but my friends and I are in an argument. Should the title be before or after the climax in the first cut scene and thx this article really help change my thinking about the story.

    Posted at 02:45h, 12 June

    This is really comprehensive, thank you! I do not at have a background in gaming (even most basic technology gives me hives!). I am a teacher and have been asked to create a story line for some educational software and didn’t know where to begin. Each time I read one of your points I would begin thinking that it did not apply to our product, but eventually there would be a bullet that spoke specifically to what we are trying to achieve under each of your steps. This will be a very helpful tool. Thank you!

  • kaushal bhavsar
    Posted at 18:52h, 26 November

    Thank you for sharing this information….it really helped a lot!!!

  • Soe Thiha Naing
    Posted at 18:20h, 11 December

    Good Post ! You Save my day

  • Thomas Mann
    Posted at 00:13h, 12 February

    Creating stories in games is very related to creating stories as an author, so reading about how to write books is really helpful. Personally I think, you should start with the characters rather than the world. Yes, normally the world defines how people evolve, but a good story is about very general things, for example revenge, love, freedom, etc. These things exist independently of the setting you put it in. You can write a sci-fi story about revenge, as you can do in a fantasy or a realistic setting, so you can do that as well in your game.
    Also, I don’t see why dialogues should be easy to understand. If your game captivates the player, he will have an easier time to understand what’s going on, even if you use elaborate words and sentences. Also, dialogue is not the only way of storytelling. In fact, it should not be the only way. You can leave behind plenty of other clues so the player can follow the story even if he does not understand a dialogue.

  • Geneva Chapman
    Posted at 17:46h, 13 February

    Great article. Still relevant in 2017. I’m learning game design because I’m a retired teacher and a former newspaper reporter. As a writer and would love to create games that help children learn how to be critical thinkers and designers of their own curricula. Having a water crisis in my current hone town, Toledo, Ohio, and seeing the effects of the ongoing water crisis in Flint,Michigan, and North Dakota where First Nations people are demanding an end to the pollution of their water supply. So I’m creating a game that deals with water issues and how our natural resources will be affected by the melting of the ice caps. Thanks for your inspiration . I recently secured a contract to write a comic book about a super hero that teaches children how to accrue wealth and to rise to a higher caste in India.

  • Nate Jobe
    Posted at 20:06h, 26 April

    Hi! I’m ridiculously late, but this article is very helpful! I’ll add a tip about writing your main character. I highly recommend making your character gradually change throughout the story. One way I like to do this is by making the character make a choice at the beginning or near it, and then at the end make it make the opposite choice.

  • Kyler Hunter
    Posted at 23:12h, 13 July

    I like how you go about developing a character, by creating the history before implementing their new story into the game. I only think there was one thing that I believe game makers miss when creating a character to play as… A vessel. Obviously a character need to be related in their looks, back round, and story ark, but the most essential piece when creating a character in this medium is to define them as a vessel for the player. A character should never be fully written from the get go, instead, through gameplay, the character must act as a vessel for the player. In this way, a player becomes attached to not only the story, but the character as a whole. Take for example Halo, and the Master Chief. The Spartan is never given a full story within the gameplay, instead, only minor details are given to the player to understand who they are playing as. This is why Halo will go down in history, because it’s main character is the player, and not the actual Master Chief. I just wanted to point this out to anyone who wants to create a main character for a videogame. I think games that ending up thriving with huge communities are ones that get this aspect right, such as Overwatch, or The Legend of Zelda.

  • Game Design – Creating a Narrative. – An Edifying Journey
    Posted at 15:40h, 20 July

    […] How to write a good game story. (2012, August 6). Retrieved July 20, 2017, from […]

  • Alex Suarez
    Posted at 18:09h, 25 September

    It’s really rare (at least for me) when you find exactly what you’re looking for on the web, and I mean EXACTLY. I’m getting into the whole videogame creating “thing”, having written the story now, I was left wandering, looking for a way to make a path or a step-by-step, just like you have presented and explained marvelously in this post. I commend you for your work and thank you, friend! Now, I’ll get back to work 😛

    PD.: As someone mentioned in the comments, I would also love to translate this to my site (spanish/South America) and it would be even greater for you to make a guest post, maybe answer a few question! If you´re willing, it’d be great.

    Looking forward for new posts!

  • Denise Majeski
    Posted at 02:58h, 22 November

    I loved this framework! I teach English at a career technical school. (CTEC, Salem, OR) The program I support is called Video Gaming and Design Animation, which is a mouthful. We are still “creating” our program, so I spend loads of time Googling for interesting ways to integrate literacy into the gaming industry. I was planning on starting with the character. Could you tell me the advantages of starting with the environment first?

    Thank you so much for this article. I can already see my 6 weeks unfolding!!

    • Derk
      Posted at 14:26h, 19 December

      Hi Denise,

      Both ways can work – it depends on the game and the type of story you’re after. I like to do the worldbuilding first because it creates a lot of context for everything that happens. It’s then easier to craft the characters. If your game is set in the real world, then it makes a lot more sense to just start with character creation!

      Good luck 🙂

      • Rayan Bakhsh
        Posted at 15:18h, 13 June

        Thanks, Mr Derk for this info but could you tell us what to expect when working solo rather than working with a group on an open world game as an objective?

  • Amine MESKINI
    Posted at 22:57h, 25 December

    Good Job DERK that seems very intersting Im writing you a comment even I just read the headlines. I am from morocco I just start game making,

    keep it up my friend.

  • Tony Mat
    Posted at 06:18h, 24 January

    Great article! I have always thought of creating a video game of my own. I have really great new ideas for games and crazy stories for them, I will implement these tips for better writting once I start putting them on paper. Who knows maybe one day Ill get to create something. Thanks.

  • Jonathan Blake Richardson-Welch
    Posted at 16:50h, 09 April

    this was an interesting article but i am try to make a skill tree how do i do that

  • Why You Should Go Through a Gaming Review Site Before Playing a Game - Tech Spooks
    Posted at 11:30h, 20 June

    […] also on a single game. Before you make purchase of any game, it is better to know about it like its storyline, characters, genre etc. knowing these elements will enable you to take a wise decision about your […]

  • Kyle Jones
    Posted at 20:21h, 20 June

    I’ve had an idea for years but never knew what to do with it until now. Thank you for this. It helps tremendously. I have zero experience with any of this and you made it simple and easy to understand.

  • venth
    Posted at 12:16h, 11 February

    Thanks you so much!
    I am going to be filthy rich now

  • Rayan Bakhsh
    Posted at 15:14h, 13 June

    I would like to know more about game designing and development Mr.Eric. Could you teach me how they are used in certain tasks! In the meantime, I could help you with your game since I’m a gamer. I like RPG games and would love to help by commenting. Would that be ok?

  • Josh Williams
    Posted at 18:18h, 13 June

    Thanks, this is a great article! I noticed the storyboard image seems to be broken.

    You say “Here is the storyboard for the introduction cutscene:”

    But then there is nothing. Did it get deleted accidentally?

  • Ash Rawstron
    Posted at 03:17h, 05 August

    Thanks for writing this article.

    This has been a great inspiration for writing.

    I’m writing a story set on various space-stations. Can expand on these ideas for something in that environment ?

    I’ve got some ideas, but I’m having a hard time putting them together…


  • Redyopio
    Posted at 03:38h, 22 September

    Hi Derk I’m doing a project right now and found this very useful Thank you

  • RamRodd Productions
    Posted at 17:43h, 20 November

    Your info was inspiring for a writer who wants to break into the gaming industry. You gave clear steps here that are helpful. I’ll work on a story board, develop, and present my idea in a game-like format to a company. As you said, you have to sell the idea, and make it believable through a tangible presentation outside of just words on paper.
    Thanx! You rock!

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