Welcome the news – financial apocalypse edition
It was a week that saw two pretty big names in the wider game industry uncomfortably navigate the troubled waters of financial difficulty. THQ, publishers of the Saints Row, Metro 2033 and Space Marine franchises, were served a NASDAQ delisting notice because their share price has been hovering dangerous below the dollar mark for a little while. It looked like all was not well with the California-based publisher when pretty much the next day the story broke that they are axing 240 jobs as part of a massive restructure. Then games journalism had a colossal innuendo party about GAME, specifically whether or not they would sell any games. First there were murmurings the game retailer was struggling to secure credit to stock new releases, then it turned out that was all bullshit, and there would be games on the shelves come Friday. EA dipped their toe into the waters when the insinuated that the financial health of a “major European retailer” could affect EA’s sales and debts. At the moment it’s pretty hard to separate the facts from the conjecture around both stories, but as they pan out (I very much doubt they’re over yet) it’ll become clearer that the gaming industry isn’t as “recession-proof” as was once thought.
The BioWare lead writer gives advice to aspiring writers
This is a story I quite like, actually. BioWare held a massive fanfiction competition on their blog recently, and David Gaider, lead writer of the Dragon Age series, was one of the judges. After picking the winning story, Gaider took to the blog to offer some tips to young literary hopefuls. BioWare are the unsung pioneers of game storytelling, so these handy pointers come from game writing royalty, and are well worth a read even if you want to get into writing in general. His advice is heartfelt and elegantly written, and even when he’s being brutally honest about how he thinks you should approach telling a story, he does so compassionately. There’s a real sense that he wants the people who entered stories into the competition to grow as writers and develop into better practitioners of their craft. So, even though the tips are just one man’s perspective about what makes a good writer, it’s nice that Gaider has taken the time to impart his wisdom to the fans, and they’re food-for-thought for the aspiring wordsmith.