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WGA honors videogame writing

Guild creates award for gaming community

The WGA has created an award for videogame writing, with the inaugural trophy to be presented at the Writers Guild Awards on Feb. 9.

Guild said the new nod’s been spearheaded by its New Media Caucus “to encourage storytelling excellence in videogames, to improve the status of writers and to begin to encourage uniform standards.”

Guild, which made the announcement Friday, won’t require that the writing be performed under a WGA contract. But to be eligible, the credited writers must be, or apply to become, members of the New Media Caucus.

The WGA’s covered several videogames, such as “Time Shift,” “Star Trek: Legacy,” “Tomb Raider” and “Batman,” but hasn’t previously disclosed some of the deals due to confidentiality clauses.

WGA West president Patric Verrone admitted that the unveiling of the new award is part of an effort to expand guild jurisdiction.

“Videogames are written, and many are written very well,” he said. “By recognizing the skill and craft of videogame writing, the Writers Guild intends to raise the profile of these writers so that they can get WGA contracts and benefits for this work. We aim, we shoot, we score.”

Qualifications require that the games must have been released between Dec. 1, 2006, and Nov. 30. Submission deadline is Nov. 21, with separate credit for writing (such as written by, story by, writer, story designer).

Guild also noted that there’s no limit on the number of credited writers on a particular game but pointed out that credits not specifically tied to videogame writing would not be accepted (lead designer, designed by, produced by). It also said writers of source material are not eligible.

Submissions must be made in the name of the credited writers and not the game itself. Scripts may also be submitted by the developer-publisher of the game or by agents, managers and publicists.

The WGA said judging will be carried out by panels comprised of New Media Caucus and/or WGA members active in the field of videogame writing.

The WGA took a similar tack over the past three years in creating an award for documentary writing. The credited writers of eligible docs are required to join the WGA West Nonfiction Writers Caucus or WGA East Nonfiction Writers Committee in order to be considered, but the scripts do not have to be written under WGA jurisdiction.

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