It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

Alex Garland is the author of criticality acclaimed books such as The Beach, The Tesseract and The Coma and is also responsible for writing the scripts of well-received films 28 Days Later and Sunshine. He’s also a video game addict.

This isn’t just evident that he wrote the first draft of the Halo film (based on the success Xbox video game series that’s set for release in 2012) but also that he was a helping hand in helping Ninja Theory in bringing the best out of the story for their current game in development, Enslaved.

Except Garland did much more than that as, according to Ninja Theory creative director Tameem Antoniades, Garland showed the team that there was more to how the story was told via cutscenes:

”In the first instance we brought Garland on for writing, but what he ended up delivering was way more than that...What I didn’t realise was how much story telling was non-verbal and wasn’t done via cut scenes. [It’s the] camera placement, the atmosphere, the sound cues and so many little things make up a good visual narrative, and that is what he brought.”

Antoniades goes on to say that Garland would work very closely with the designers. Garland may have not realised it, but as Antoniades, he became a Games Designer.

To me, Garland didn’t see Enslaved as just a game, he saw it as some sort of interactive novel. He wanted to bring out the best in not just what the characters said in the game, but how they expressed it. And to me that is the most important thing.

A average script can be rescued if the way it is told is great, but the same can’t be said is a studio has a good script but it’s told in a bad way.

This is a lesson Train2Game students – especially Games Designers – need to take on board. Not just what characters are going to say, but where and which way; what about the lighting, should there be any specific type of music playing, which tone should the characters be speaking, etc. These are just a few questions they need to ask themselves in order to fully bring their story to life.

The Garland story also shows that having a background from a different media can be very good advantage. Even if you’re just someone who posts fan fictional stories on the internet can help you when it comes to being a Games Designer.

With that said, as long as you have a creative and imaginative mind, you can be a good Games Designer, with or without experience. Just remember, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it (though the former can help as well).

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Want to read on how Alex Garland helped with Ninja Theory’s Enslaved? Then check out the story here: