i'd love any advice about knowing if screenplay for indie games are necessary or not.

i've seen loads of successful and unsuccessful games that dont require them,

the only issue is, im a 3d artist not a writer, and in triple A title movies there are a max of 100 pages of screen play, though in games its around 600 pages.

thank you for any help!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That completely depends on what kind of game you want to make. Without even a hint of what you are planning I'm afraid that this question is too broad and vague for anyone to provide a meaningful answer. \$\endgroup\$ – aaaaaaaaaaaa Apr 21 '12 at 22:15
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Why would you need a screenplay for a videogame? And where are you getting these numbers; 600 pages for what? \$\endgroup\$ – jhocking Apr 21 '12 at 22:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jhocking If you make cutscenes or other complex narrative sequences it would seem natural to write movie-style screenplay for those. \$\endgroup\$ – aaaaaaaaaaaa Apr 21 '12 at 22:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ i see, i'll be more specific next time. just google it, its normal with games. \$\endgroup\$ – Tarek Apr 22 '12 at 4:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I googled it exhaustively and found nothing conclusive (okay, I found just one page throwing a page count range of 300-600 out there with no citation, which is just as good as hearsay). I might suck at googling, or there is just nothing conclusive and scripts aren't actually that long. In my googling, however, some of the more epic very-much-not-remotely-indie games (like LA Noire and GTA) had thousands of pages. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 22 '12 at 11:48

No, it isn't necessary.

You're an indie developer. Do what you like. You don't need to write that much script if you don't want to, and who's going to make you? Not your customers, that's for sure. You said it yourself: You've seen loads of successful games that don't require them (so clearly you don't need a screenplay to succeed), and unsuccessful games (so clearly having a screenplay isn't critical to success).

Do you need dialog? Up to you! Not necessarily. Heard of Minecraft? Tetris? Do you think Team Fortress 2 - a game whose only dialog consists of occasional outbursts by the classes - would have a screenplay? (of course its comics would; forget those)

Do you need a script? If you have dialog it would be handy to keep it written down so you don't forget it, yes.

Does your script need to be written in screenplay format? Write it in whatever format works for you - it doesn't necessarily need to be formal screenplay format. Triple-A movies have a stigma around being written like movies, with gameplay only there to shepherd you between cut scenes which tell the actual story. Half-Life, on the other hand, has no cut scenes, with its story told purely during the gameplay. A screenplay format might not have worked for them. A lot of independent games don't do it the way triple-A games do either: this is just my opinion, but I think that's because the independent developers understand how to tell a story in a game and the triple-A studios, on the other hand, do not.

Does it need to be 100 pages? ... No, of course not. Super Meat Boy and Braid have almost no dialog at all. Magicka and Eufloria have moderate amounts of dialog. Bastion and Cave Story have a lot. Take your pick! Do what suits you and your game.

| improve this answer | |
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Do you think Team Fortress 2 would have a screenplay?" Considering the number of comics and other materials Valve posted for it, maybe you should pick a different example ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Nicol Bolas Apr 22 '12 at 6:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Half-Life, on the other hand, has no cut scenes, with its story told purely during the gameplay." If by "gameplay" you mean "locked in a room until the cutscene is over or you do what you're supposed to." Personally, I've never seen the difference. One pretends you're in control, and the other doesn't lie to you. \$\endgroup\$ – Nicol Bolas Apr 22 '12 at 6:14
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Nicol You're rather picking at insignificant points. If you read his whole answer in one sitting, the point he's trying to make is obvious, and is more than necessary for the question. (I'm not trying to argue with you, it's just my opinion that you were picking on a perfectly good answer) \$\endgroup\$ – electroflame Apr 23 '12 at 1:27

Only if your game has a strong advancing narrative. A screenplay is a way to prepare the narrative ahead of time, so that it's examinable only on it's own merits and flaws. If your game has a central narrative that you care about and want it to be well-written - yes, do a screenplay. If not, there's nothing to actually write.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.