Writers Guild Award Noms For Brink and Bats

By Adam Smith on January 12th, 2012 at 3:16 pm.

This is how it feels when they announce the winner and the other nominees have to smile. That is the face they really want to make.

The UK Writers’ Guild Awards took place at the end of 2011 but the American guild like to time their ceremonies a little closer to the Oscars so that they can fall into Awards Season, which isn’t actually a season at all. You may remember that a man named Gillen was nominated for the UK award, along with Ed Stern whose script for Brink received a nod. The winners were the writers of Enslaved though and that doesn’t exist on PC so we neglected to mention its victory. A belated round of applause to Alex Garland and Tameem Antoniades. So, who has received a nomination from the American guild? Read on.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Story by Alexandre Amancio, Jean Guesdon, Corey May, Darby McDevitt; Multiplayer Story by Stéphane Blais, Richard Farrese, Jeffrey Yohalem; Lead Script Writer Darby McDevitt; Script Writers Richard Farrese, Nicholas Grimwood, Corey May, Jeffrey Yohalem; Greek and Turkish Ambient Dialogue Writer Vincenzo Beretta.

Batman: Arkham City, Lead Narrative Designer Paul Crocker; Story Written by Paul Dini, Paul Crocker and Sefton Hill.

Brink, Lead Writer Edward “Bongoboy” Stern.

Mortal Kombat, Story by John Vogel, Brian Chard, Dominic Cianciolo, Alexander Barrentine, Jon Greenberg.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Written by Amy Hennig.

AssBro took the prize last year and Revelations’ army of writers may prove hard to defeat by the lone pens of Stern and Hennig. We’ve mocked the dialogue in Arkham City before and there are issues with both tone and plotting, but I for one think there was plenty to enjoy in the writing despite the problems. It told a story reminiscent of a comic book arc but had some original treatment and took a few bold decisions along the way. Flawed, yes, but it was competent if messy blockbuster type scripting.

I don’t know why Mortal Kombat is there but I haven’t played it. Can anybody tell me why Mortal Kombat is there? I’m not being facetious, I genuinely didn’t know there was much writing in it at all. Maybe there isn’t – just an intro and outro of pure gold.

Perhaps Brink will win this time around but I’d put my money (I’m not putting any money on this) on Uncharted 3. Perhaps Batman. It may not even be eligible, but if only To The Moon had been noticed. Cast your net wider, guild, and maybe you’ll catch something rare and delicious.

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44 Comments »

  1. Blackcompany says:

    So…the writers for Bastion were apparently not eligible for some reason?

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Nah, not until they pay their dues and become less indie.

    • bfandreas says:

      Bastion also crossed my mind as a strong contender.

      The narrative structure was brilliant. That was quite a surprise that the Narrator was actually talking to Zia and that he narrated the past deeds of the Kid while he was actually on the last level.

      Also the characters were so likeable that even on my third Game Plus playthrough couldn’t just leave Zulf there.

      Never since the Ultima series has a game done that to me. Pity they never published a sequel to Ultima 8.

    • Blackcompany says:

      I find it hard to label as credible any “writers award” which considers games such as Mortal Combat (no, I will not spell it with a K) and Brink while leaving out games like Bastion. Hell I could even see Hunted: The Demon’s Forge as a candidate here, if only for the banter between characters. Pretty well done.
      .
      But a Video Game Writer’s award that leaves out Bastion? Moving on, thanks.

    • Phantoon says:

      Actually we had the same discussion last year- any games that don’t have writers that pay dues to this writer’s guild are not eligible.

      So really paying any attention to it other than as a curiosity is a waste of time.

    • scatterbrainless says:

      Even if Bastion’s deveopers are outside the guild with their super-indie shenanigans, what about Portal 2?

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  2. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Wait.. Mortal Kombat? If the movies are anything to go by, the story (if there is any) is probably not anything to write home about.

    • Choca says:

      The story mode for Mortal Kombat was actually pretty good for a fighting game (except the freaking unbalanced final boss).

      And judging a video game by its movie counterpart sounds like a pretty bad idea.

    • bowl of snakes says:

      From what I’ve seen, the Mortal Kombat story mode is surprisingly well done actually, been planning on finishing it up. I don’t really blame anyone for assuming it’s just filler, but it’s actually worth giving a shot.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Heh. I suppose you’re right. Thanks!

  3. Nerdcubed says:

    Greg Kasavin should win any and all writers awards this year. Bastion was the best writing in a game since the original Portal.

    • Ysellian says:

      Greg Kasavin helped make Bastion?! 0_0 Impressive! Love that game

  4. Grey Ganado says:

    As far as I know you can only get nominated if you are a member of the Writers’ Guild.

  5. sonofsanta says:

    But Assassin’s Creed is a jumbled mess of exposition and characters and timelines and even though I’ve played since the start, I’m still not sure what’s going on so… congratulations, I guess?

    I’d have thought the IF field would have most of the best examples anyway. But we shouldn’t be surprised at American/big-time awards focusing on the mainstream, I suppose.

    • bfandreas says:

      Assassin’s Creed gave me opportunity to kill Savonarola even if it was just a mercy-kill. Still somewhat satisfying.

      That in my opinion alone absolved the whole story from the presence of Desmond. A story in a story? Wow! Very novel. Boccaccio did that, too. So the Renaissance setting was propably ironic.

      The whole series had been blessed by being set in very interesting epochs. Stomping around Outremer during the Third Crusade. Seeing Acco, Masyaf(I had preferred Alamut, but hey), Jerusalem, Damas,…
      Jumping through Il Duomo while the dome itsself was only a few decades old. Even if it was too small.Hanging around in Rome when it stole the limelight of Florence. Hanging around in Byzantium just decades after the Theodosian Walls gave in…

  6. Drake Sigar says:

    Really? Just… REALLY? The writing in all of those games is only passable by video game standards.

  7. thegooseking says:

    I maintain that the Arkham City Joker arc is the best-told Joker story in any medium, and that should be applauded. But the writing in the rest of the game doesn’t live up to it, and at times it falls far, far short.

    • bfandreas says:

      I second that notion. The Joker was the star in both games.

      Mark Hamill is THE iconic joker. He was great in the series and unleashed in the games.

    • gwathdring says:

      I agree. I feel that a lot of the dialog was weak and the plotting had two parallel arcs one being pretty good and one being a bit rough, but the tone throughout was impeccable. Arkham City was good games writing, with bad bits and (usually when Hamill was on-screen) a few fantastic bits.

    • Vandelay says:

      Dispite my initial wince when I saw Batman in the list, I can definitely agree that the Joker was brilliant. I’m sure similar ground must have been covered in the comics, although I’ve not read any, but it was stol well handled. I particular enjoyed the rather fantastic little hidden nugget in the credits. Very apt choice.

      Everything else was fairly terrible though. Awesome game in pretty much every other regard, but definitely fell short in the story/dialogue department.

    • db1331 says:

      I agree. Being called a bitch every 2 minutes while playing as Catwoman got old fast. All the henchmen saying stuff like “I’m STARVING, but the Penguin ate all the hot pockets…” was pretty bad too.

  8. CMaster says:

    We went through why the odd choice of nominees last year – basically, they have to have credited writers in the game credits, at least some of the credited writers (maybe all) have to join the video game writers element of the guild and the developer has to send the judging panel a script – they flat out refuse to actually play the games and see the writing in context.

    • RakeShark says:

      Shhhh… every mediocre writer on a payroll knows that everything sounds better in your head, and not spoken out loud.

    • bfandreas says:

      Given the tendency of current games to name more people of the legal department of the publisher than people who actually contribute to the game I think we will have a Solicitor’s Award for Best Legal Representative in a computer game.

      Sorry, Ubisoft Legal Department of Assassin’s Creed fame, that price will go to Harvey Dent. You are still awesome and we couldn’t live without you. Your day on the red carpet will come.

    • JamesPatton says:

      Hm, so in other words, they ensured they would have a selection bias which favoured people who 1) have the money to pay the guild fees, and 2) have the time to hand them a script, bearing in mind that formatting a linear script for a nonlinear medium could easily become a nightmare, and that many game devs may not write a script before starting development, instead opting to write straight into their editor?

      *sigh*

    • Keith Nemitz says:

      Joining the WGA game writer’s caucus currently costs $100. So entering your game for their awards is about the same as entering the IGF. Yes, the game credits have to give a writing credit to one or more people.

      Regardless of the WGA, games should always give credit where credit is due. Writers and other pros often depend upon past credits to find work.

  9. johnpeat says:

    This is firmly in the territory of meaningless shit like the “Sony Awards” – it’s all mutual-paid backscratching and “Award for Outstanding Achivement in the Field of Excellence” bullshit…

    “Join our club – give us some money and we’ll dole-out a prize to you in a while”

    “You’ve won this – all you have to do to collect it buy the media pack to publicise it on your site”

    etc. etc.

    To award ANYTHING to Brink is laughable – to give a multiplayer game a writing award is almost perverse…

    • Gnoupi says:

      The story in Brink isn’t that bad, and seem more like single player material. don’t just reject it for being mainly multiplayer.

    • Yosharian says:

      @Gnoupi There is no bloody story in Brink, are you joking?

  10. Velvetmeds says:

    I can’t speak for Batman AA (haven’t played it) but all the other games have horrible story/writing. Where’s DEHR? DA2? Bastion?

    • gwathdring says:

      I haven’t playing anything except AC from the list. So I can’t comment much either. :P

      However, being halfway through Deus Ex … I wonder what about it you find especially compelling? I think the acting is really good and I like a lot of the dialog. But the game feels a little clunky which can be distracting, and the story arc (so far at least) feels a little phoned in. I think the characters were well set by the opening, but something about the way the behave hasn’t ever felt quite … right since the beginning. Unless there’s some big twist in which everyone and their dog is secretly working against me, I’d say that it’s still pretty good games writing but not in my top ten. Yet. I can’t say much about top 5 for the year, though. Maybe it would crack that. Haven’t played enough new games with a plot this year.

  11. Shooop says:

    Assassin’s Creed being considered for an award for good story writing. May everyone involved in picking the nominees die in car accidents.

    • gwathdring says:

      :(

      If it’s anything like Assassin’s Creed 2, than I agree with your sentiment with respect to the plot. But that’s still kind of an awful thing to say.

    • Shooop says:

      All the plots in the series are stupid, stupid, stupid. I can just picture the meeting which started it all:

      “You’re really some spectacularly useless shlub pulled off the streets by some mysterious men in lab jackets who put you in a machine to look back at the memories of your ancestors (did I mention DNA has this magical ability to store memories?) because long ago they found artifacts created by aliens!”

      No one should have been allowed to leave that room alive. Like Billy Madison, everyone was permanently brain-damaged beyond hope upon hearing it.

  12. mondomau says:

    As mentioned above (but puzzlingly not in the article), we’ve been through this before. If you’re not in the club, you won’t win. Only games from the big boys with generally mediocre writing have writers in the club. This is on a par with the VGAs in terms of relevance.

  13. piecewise says:

    This is…this is frankly terrible.

    Assassin’s Creed: Revelations:The same soft science-fiction silliness that drove the first plot, populated by ever more stereotypical yet, some would say paradoxically, forgettable characters. The entire game, story, gameplay and even it’s very existence, is an exercise in seeing how long a developer can continue to wring money out of a game thats pretty much remained completely unchanged since it’s second iteration.

    Batman: Arkham City: Comic books almost never have good stories and Batman: Arkham City is no different. It’s a passable framework which allows a man in tights to punch many other, equally deranged men in the face, however its attempts to crowbar in as many cameos as possible lead the story to be very scatter brained, with characters being introduced and then completely forgotten about repeatedly. The story was very obviously in service to the idea of “let batman punch as many recognizable villains as possible” and little else. Beyond that, it was competent in what it wanted to do, but pretty much all the characters were shallow, including batman, because they were drawing on characterization we’re expected to know but often don’t.

    Brink: No part of brink was good, writing included. Oh noes, a class struggle between rebel assholes and police assholes on a big floating plot convenience. Non-existent characters, generic conflicts and a story which, while having the capacity to once again drag the tired “class war” concept forward, ends up doing nothing but dragging you along by the nose through a shitty succession of boring corridors of one type or another.

    Mortal Kombat: Seriously? No, really, is this the sort of shit we’re gonna hold up? Contrived plots centered around nothing except allowing a bunch of stereotypes/nothing characters to punch each other in the face? Yes, it had a more in depth story then most fighters (most fighters having the deep and moving story of…no story at all/a few lines of text) but just because it’s more bloated does not mean it is better.

    Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception: This is an awful lot like a di vinci code/ national treasure movie getting an Oscar. Not a bad story, but nothing worth honoring.

    Also, these games are also not worth honoring: Dragon Age 2, The Witcher 2.

    The lack of bastion or portal 2 on here is just inexcusable.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      Portal 2 doesn’t even have a story. Dragon age 2 is a masterpiece of storytelling compared to that…mud.

    • Nick says:

      What? Did you play it with the sound off?

    • piecewise says:

      DA 2 was nothing but Tolkien fanfiction with all the subtlety of being beat in the face with a billboard emblazoned with “HUMANS ARE JERKS”. Beyond this, it’s characters were shallow archetypes, it’s story was bizarrely mundane for a fantasy, and it contributes little to nothing to the series beyond another healthy profit for the developers.

  14. TwwIX says:

    BRINK? Really?

    HA HA HA!

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