Bitmob has conjured up the first installment to a multi-part interview with long-time BioWare writer David Gaider. This initial entry focuses on how he landed his job at BioWare, his daily responsibilities, and what sort of creative freedom he has:
LG: What is the writing process like? Separate writers work on different characters and scenarios. Do you guys kind of all come together at some point and share your work?
DG: We tend to work in the same room. Right now we have what's called "the writers pit" where everyone on the same project works nearby, so writers can bounce ideas off of each other.
A project requires a lot of writing, so we do split everything up. You have an area of responsibility.
It depends on the phase, right? The initial phrase is all about coming up with the concepts and what is our overall story. We have to break it down into whatever the quests involve and make sure that the quest design is solid. The writer is not alone in that. Several other disciplines in design are involved and help design the quests. The writer just takes an overall responsibility for it, but we don't write them ourselves.
I think some people picture it as top down, like the writer says "this is what I'm writing," and everybody else in the company runs around to implement our vision. That's not quite the way it is. The overall vision is the responsibility of the lead designer. The other disciplines, like the combat designers or level designers, add their two cents...like "we'd like to try this" or "can we do a quest that focuses on this gameplay element."
Once you've got that broken down, it's a matter of the writer putting together the dialogue for it. We try that out and see if it's fun and revise and then try it out again and then revise. You end up throwing out a lot of stuff you worked on.
Sometimes it just isn't working, and it ends up getting cut. That's always heartbreaking.