METM17 presentation

“My cat fights zombies in space”: the process of creating a videogame story

Anett Enzmann, Lueneburg, Germany

In this talk we will set off on the adventure of taking an idea for a story in a fictitious videogame and walk through the process of creating a complete, ready-to-translate narrative. We will take on the role of the narrative designer (the writer) working with the rest of the development team to bring the vision of the game to life using writing and storytelling techniques also found in other types of writing and media.

In order to do that we’ll start by first learning about the aspects of world building, dialogue and mechanics that are relevant for writers, translators and editors before we take a look at the technical limitations both the creators and the translators need to take into consideration and discuss what this particular type of text shares with other forms of writing and how it differs. We’ll then start creating some key points of our story to showcase how all of this comes together – and should time allow we’ll take a peek at the market in general and what it takes to work in the games industry.

With the help of our adventurous feline hero we’ll learn how source texts for game narratives are created and why they sometimes prove challenging for translators due to technical limitations and procedural aspects that go into creating this form of text. And we’ll see how it all makes sense in the end.
Anett Enzmann has been a freelance videogames translator since 2011 after exploring other aspects of the games industry (such as design and journalism) for about 10 years. Time and again she strays from translating game content, strategy guides and articles on games development to return to narrative design, music and writing. Anett needs to work on several different projects at the same time to unleash her creative spirit.