And The Nominees For Best Video Game Writing Are...

According to the Writers Guild of America, five games from 2009 are worthy of nominations for the organisation's Videogame Writing Award honours. Some have already walked away with multiple game of the year nods, others have certainly not.

It's a mixed crowd that includes games like Uncharted 2 and Wet, as well as Modern Warfare 2, a title we criticised for its writing in our review of the game. But nominate Infinity Ward's billion dollar blockbuster the WGA did, a year in which the organisation saw a "record number of Videogame Writing Award submissions", more than double the previous year's submissions.

Here are the nominations.

  • Assassin's Creed II, Story by Corey May, Script Writers Corey May, Joshua Rubin, Jeffrey Yohalem; Ubisoft Entertainment
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Written by Jesse Stern, Additional Writing Steve Fukuda, Story by Todd Alderman, Steve Fukuda, Mackey McCandlish, Zied Rieke, Jesse Stern, Jason West, Battlechatter Dialogue, Sean Slayback; Activision
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Written by Amy Hennig; Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Wet, Written by Duppy Demetrius; Bethesda Softworks
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Script Writer Marc Guggenheim; Activision

The winner will be announced at the Writers Guild Awards on Saturday, February 20, 2010 at ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.


    To be honest I didn't think the storyline in MW2 was that good. There really wasn't anything new, all the plot devices and story arcs that were used really well in MW were severely overused in MW2.

    I hope Assassin's Creed 2 wins.

      Exactly it was just recycled from COD4 just different enemy. Tried to hard to shock - but it was just like, "Oh noooooo, k cool".
      Towards the beginning it was good, but not so much half way in.

      Uncharted 2 was pretty good - but i laughed at the "zombies" part of it and thought that got a little pathetic and was kinda let-down with the realism it sort of had. If it wasn't for that, Uncharted 2 could probably take the award in my books.

      I would give it to Assassin's Creed 2 aswell. Ezio was just so damn right interesting. I wanted to know more and had to play to find out, it was great. I haven't played the other two, but wouldn't they are better than AC2.

      MW2? are you frigging serious? That had the story of a typical 1980's action film, and the whole game went for nearly as long. I'm not joking i literally knew that Shepard would be a traitor from the first sentance he spoke, this games single player was the most over rated, predictable and boring game of the decade.

      I am ASTOUNDED that Dragon age, with its 7 novels of dialogue didn't get into the game. Yes your character lacked a voice but the voice acting and dialogue of other characters was very real world, and lets not forget the incredible lore behind the game.

        Seconded on all accounts. I own MW2 and I do enjoy the multiplayer, so I'm not some COD hater but the storyline was horrible to the point of being laughable. And why no love for RPGs? I mean they practically always have a better storyline than other genres, its what they're known for. Is the fact that they focus on story some sort of unfair advantage that dis-allow them from nomination? Or is this just some form of bias similar to the one the academy supposedly has against any sci-fi or fantasy films.

    The writing in Modern warfare 2 was both very good and very bad all at once. It had far to much predictable plot twists. It was like an M Night Shamalyan (or whatever) movie. However certain aspects of the story were quite good.

    Hmmm, I've got to say, I enjoyed Uncharted 2's writing a bit more than MW2.
    Assassin's Creed 2 just bored me and should be disqualified for dropping that low brow "Itsa me, Mario!" line.
    That wasn't writing. Writing has emotion and story.

      I concur that moment was awful I actually said out loud "They didn't just do that did they?"

      However, I thought the rest of the games story was really quite good and they had a lot of in-game techniques to help you follow the story.

      What? Have you finished the game? Did you unlock all of the glyphs and watch 'the complete truth' cutscene you get from that? I could go on, but I don't want to chuck any spoilers out there.

      I have never seen a game that 'challenges' what the catholic church believes. I am surprised there hasn't been any discussion in the news about it so far. I wonder if the pope has seen it.

        i'm not so surprised ... when loading up the game it does state that the game is purely fictional and is not intended to offend and religious sect

        I thought it was kinda obvious why it hasnt been challenged. It was a ridiculous.

        The Complete Truth was, in my opinion, not worth the effort and effing retarded. SPOILER -essentially they were robots?- END SPOILER

        And as for the movement of the story, after the death of your family it took a massive nose dive, then reached a happy plateau around the middle of the game. Then came crashing down into the depths of insanity that was the Rome level.

        But I could let all that slide, if one scene had been taken out. That god awful scene where the British dude (who's name escapes me) says SPOILER "Oh Snap! It never dawned on me before, your intelligence officer, that the Spaniard grew up to be the Pope! Whoops musta slipped by, oh and who's this Minerva cat?"



        In summary, Assassins Creed II, great game, ridiculous story...

        Btw, I have finished the game to 100%, achieved the Platinum Trophy and collected every chest on the map.

          Haha, awesome response.

          MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF SPOILERS... and nuts.

          From my understanding, I don't think they were robots. More of an elite and evolved race.

          Okay, put all history aside for a moment and look at what this award is for. Writing, I do think that it is a pretty original story and it is obvious they are building up to something. dzc12, do you think amoung that list, that there is a more deserving winner of that award?

            You know when you go on a first date, and you bring your A-game, but then bring too much so when the inevitable 2nd date comes around she expects something as awesome as last time but ends up sitting on your couch in silence while you talk at her while playing Parappa the Rapper and ask her to be quiet so you can hear the music (ie B-game). That first comment was my A-game, this now is my Parappa the Rapper date.

            To sound like a fan boy, Uncharted trumps all other games in this category. As a 'Pulp' game it did a great job of emulating all the best moments and dialogue that define the genre.

            Its pacing was top notch, whenever I was sick of the Snow, BOOM, Check it, you're in a museum heisting the shit out of artifacts etc etc.

            You were double crossed then triple crossed, then Chloe's like "Don't worry, man, I gotya back" but you never quite knew if she did. Oh the characters in this, uber fantastiche.

            Back to dialogue though, oh man, freakin' fantastic. I realise alot of their dialogue was improvised. However "Curb Your Enthusiasm", a show that is entirely improv, has won a Writers Guild award for comedy.

            Dont get me wrong, Uncharted had its flaws. But I think the flaws it did present were borrowed heavily from its inspiration. EG SPOILER Lezaravic shooting Jeff and then getting Flynn to kill you, what an idiotic and out of character move for a war criminal. But its like Nazi's tying Bond to a chair instead of just shooting him when they get the chance. It doesn't make sense but it works so well in this fictional world.

            The same couldn't be said about ACII. I felt as though its core story was fine, however its 'window dressings' were a bit pretentious and preachy ie. SPOILER So according to the glyphs, every single influential person in the history of the world was a Templar/Assassin? END SPOILER I realise ACII is a fictional world based on ours, however it never felt like it removed itself completely from our world, it instead chose to root its story in the pages of actual history. And to me, that seemed like a bad move because I never bought the stuff they were peddling.

            It boils down to two things. One, As I was playing through Uncharted there was no scene I would omit to bring the story to the screen. Everything felt tight and so well thought out that someone could easily grab the storyboards from the game and make a flick that would be commercially and critically viable.

            And two, it was a damn sight better than Crystal Skull...

      I just played that Mario part last night and actually liked it. Shows it doesn't take itself as seriously as the first game, or MW2 either.

      And picture it, you are making a game set in 14 century Italy with a historic character, Italian, named Mario. You're not going to not reference Mario. They simply beat the internet to it.

    what in the name of holy hell is wet doing there?

    I think the numbers of contributers to MW2 story says something about its quality - "Too many chefs spoil the broth"

    my god, wet and mw2 were horrible! dragon age should be there instead of those two. seriously, I could write a better script that the muppets that wrote those ones!

    I have played all of those apart from Wet. If the decision was up to me I would be going straight to Assassins Creed 2. The only thing I can really compare it to is the Davinci Code which I think isn't the best story around... but it gets you thinking which is what I like.

    Surprised to see MW2 in that list. That game's story mode wasn't all that good. I may have missed something but the story ends up ignoring who you were going after in the first place yeah? It was a little too all over the shop for my liking. But I did like that game and am still playing it.

    Totally forgot about Wolverine, that was an awesome game. A really good fighting mechanic and non stop action. I don't get how this can be judged for top video game writing though... the story is already there. I know that game was being made before the movie and they both sort of tie in together, but the Wolverine story isn't anything new and his past has already been covered via comic books.

      The Da Vinci Code gets you thinking?
      I've seen deeper kiddie pools.

      Yeh hang about, does noone else see the irony of people arguing the writing of 5 very pulpy video games? On the one hand we have some bitching that MW2 was recycled, repetitive, predictable... and not as good as ACII which is also a conspiracy theorists wet dream sequel, or the Indy/Kings Solomons Mines ripoff sequel that is Uncharted 2. Dont get me wrong, love them all, but Christ! Grunty fist-pumping shooter vs 2 chest-beating actioners? Take a rest, guys. And lets not forget the other 2- one is a comic-inspired butchering, the other is a KillBill-inspired beater. Where the hell is the writing in any of these? New Mario has as much depth.

    You have got to be kidding me right, MW2 as best video game writing? If you mean, most confusing, non logical story then it wins hands down.

    MW2's story was very light, they just put in twists and turns for the sake of it I felt.

    Dragon Age had a much better story, but it is the Writers Guild of "America" so I can't really be expecting too much intelligence.

    Uncharted 2 and Assassins Creed 2 are the top picks. MW2 is a stupid choice, /groan.

    I thought for sure Dragon Age would get a nomination. I'll be rooting for ACII though

    These awards based on a submission process. Only those games that are submitted (presumably self-submitted by the developer or publisher) are eligible for nomination.

    Also, I think (not 100% sure though) that writers have to members of the Guild to be eligible for an award. And not everyone writing on a game is going to have Guild membership.

    Either of these reasons may explain the lack of *insert your preferred game here*.

      Fair enough, it's a guild and they are awarding excellence from their membership. But does the guild actually play these games before accepting the nomination?

      Dragon Age would still be my pick... but it's the US. Letting a bunch of Canadians win is never going to happen.

    Dear god what an woeful selection.

    Modern Warfare 2 is one of the most poorly plotted games in years; it's actually laughably stupid sometimes. The only writing that was even half decent was a couple of the Achievement names. I don't think that Wet is meant to be any good and I similarly don't think X-men was terribly well written (let alone original in the slightest).

    Funny that this came up now, dzc12 and myself had a rather in depth discussion about this earlier in the week. The conclusion that we both drew is that despite games getting bigger and bigger budgets and employing A list celebrities to do voice overs, coupled with hiring screen writers to write the scripts it still seems that games are just not on the level of films in the sense of telling great stories. Think of it this way, if any of these game's scripts were cut down and transposed to a film, there is no way we would be considering them for best screenplay.

    A big problem I reckon is that if you hire a script writer who has predominantly worked on linear storytelling it's hard for them to understand the literally limitless storytelling possibilities that can be utilised within the medium (Bioshock is a great example of this and one of my stand out story lines in a game; despite the disappointing final few hours). What we end up is a bunch of cut scenes that seem to exist beside or even in spite of the game play.

    So with all that said, I would have to go for Uncharted 2 for best writing of the year. Whilst it doesn't do anything particularly new or exciting, it does tell a competent (and perhaps more importantly) fun tale, that enhances the game play, and also transitions seamlessly. Plus Drake is a likable main character that doesn't look like he's been abusing horse roids.

    Rant fin!

    so basically you don't need a great story to get nominated. you just need exposure. MW2's story was about what??? can't remember, it was just forgetable generic stuff. must have been well written forgetable stuff.

    these awards, just like most have no credibility.

    AC2 had an awesome story but the ending was very anticlimactic IMO

    That freaky part in AC2 with the 4th wall breaking freak-out-a-thonage struck me as something that just changed storytelling games forever. Also an awesome marketing gimmick as you're guilt-tripped into buying AC3.

    AC2 for win.

    MW2 winning best writing is like saying Transformers 2 had a good story too.

    What happened to Shadow Complex? I thought the writing on that was pretty good.

    So how many submissions is "more than double last year"? If there were only 2 last year then there could be as little as only the 5 nominations. many ppl actually watchd the scenes in mw2 in between lvls, nd didnt skip at the first oppurtunity.....not many im guessin or u fags wuld understand wtf was goin on in it....twas quite gud nd made a lot of sense, that is if you had a brain that actually functioned......retardssssss.....i think the game thats made ova $1 billion deserves and just ask yourselves would u really have the same opinion on the game if it wasnt "MW2" stop hating coz it made soo much money

      Lol, I find it funny that you accuse (with no basis) that the people that didn't like the story are "hating" because the game made so much money.

      I also find it amusing that you accuse everyone else of being brain dead, when clearly you motor and/or cognitive skills are lacking enough to type that drivel. My perfectly functional brain hurt from reading that.

      1 - Learn to type, spell and punctuate properly.
      2 - Learn to form actual sentences.
      3 - Work on your logical conclusions.
      4 - Post something even remotely constructive.

      More in response to your actual "argument". It is completely unfounded that people are hating on MW2 because it made so much money. I have played about 70hrs of the game including single player and spec-ops modes, I have never enjoyed the single player story at all. There's lots of cool explosions, but nothing that actually makes me care about the characters. This is what makes a great story for me.

      Unfortunately, I have not played any of the other games (as I am a strictly PC gamer). However, I do hope that Modern Warfare 2 is completely overlooked when it comes to winning Writer's Guild awards.

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