So the Writer’s Guild recently published their 2014 list of nominees for best video game writing.  The nominees are:

  • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • God of War: Ascension
  • The Last of Us
  • Lost Planet 3

I was slightly surprised by the games chosen.  I understand the selection of Batman and The Last of Us, but how is it that God of War was selected over Bioshock Infinite or GTA V?

After researching it, I discovered the answer: the only games that could be nominated were those written by members of the WGA.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this, given last year’s nominees:

  • Tomb Raider
  • Thomas Was Alone
  • Lego City Undercover

I don’t think anything necessarily can or should be done about this. It’s the WGA’s award, and it makes sense that they would only include their members. That said, it eats into the credibility of “best” classification when games with such amazing storylines are excluded.  On top of eliminating big bugdet games without WGA writers, this constraint effectively removes all indy titles that were written and designed by the same people from the lists.   Further, it ignores games like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons that do their storytelling through game mechanics.

If membership is going to be their litmus test for eligibility, they might want to consider taking the emphasis off of the games and put it on to the writers.  For example, rather giving the award to the game and listing the writers on that game, why not nominate the writers and list the games they contributed to?  Of course, this would reduce the number of awards, but it would go a long way toward preserving the credibility of the awards. Also, it would make it possible for the contributions of a given writer to be recognized if that writer has contributed to multiple games.

I just put this out there as something to think about, and I’m sure there are writers who would disagree.  If you are a writer, what do you think about the WGA’s current process for video game nominations?