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US game scriptwriters get $10-20k

Report says it's down from $100k.

US videogame scriptwriters are paid between $10,000 and $20,000 to do the dialogue in a game these days.

That's according to a New York Observer article on the subject, which mentions the figures although does not attribute them.

Apparently a few years ago the story was very different, and scriptwriters could expect to receive closer to $100,000 for the same work.

Games journalist turned consultant N'Gai Croal told the NY Observer, "Game writing pays less than Hollywood writing. A lot less."

"If you want a Frank Darabont, for instance, you need to pay Frank Darabont's quote or you don't get him. But the flip side is, if you can't afford it, than maybe he's not the best one suited and maybe you want someone who knows games better, maybe isn't as big a name, but can deliver you 60 percent to 70 percent of what Darabont brings to the table in terms of dialogue and structure."

However, the consensus of those polled for the article is that the quality of writing in games is still very low, and that a lot of companies prefer freelancers because it suits their process better and often fail to hire the right person.

Journalist and fiction writer Tom Bissell said that "the games industry makes Hollywood look like avant-garde poetry publishers". Zing.

Some developers have tried to turn that around, of course – most notably Ninja Theory with Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, for which The Beach writer Alex Garland took on scriptwriting duties.

We spoke to Ninja Theory's Tameem Antoniades and actor Andy Serkis about that prior to the game's release. Check out our discussion in the EGTV Show below.

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About the Author
Tom Bramwell avatar

Tom Bramwell


Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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