From stanzas to screens: Artistry of language in the gaming medium

Date: Friday 1st September


Creating narrative for the gaming medium is a challenging craft—the authors must capture the players’ attention with succinct, eloquent, and effective writing as we can’t always expect them to read every lore entry in the protagonist’s diary or listen to every NPC reciting the dark fate of their village. This is where we can take some lessons from poetry and short story, whose medium pushes the boundaries of the language. Vivid descriptions, sentences upbrimming with colour, precisely chosen verbs, and intricate subtleties can enable the flight of the reader’s imagination in just a few words. Denis will draw on his experience with creative writing and share the wonderful language discoveries he’s made while journeying through the world of poetry and short story. We will look at examples of evocative writing and its effective implementations in the gaming medium, analyse the methods that elevate their language, and discuss how we can leverage the power of our writing.

About the speaker

Denis has been working professionally in the gaming industry since 2011 and has worn the hat of a news publisher, narrative writer, translator, editor, playtester, designer, and, most recently, Unreal Engine producer. Denis has worked on projects published by Blizzard, Valve and Ubisoft, and is currently closely working with Epic Games.

Denis has been involved in the gaming community in New Zealand, volunteering at tabletop conventions for 6 years in a row, serving as a judge at PAVS ’21-’23, and a speaker at NZGDC ’21-‘22. He obtained a PGDE in Linguistics and accreditation in Game Design and Creative Writing. He  published my first game last year – the narrative-driven fantasy adventure, Alchemist’s Apprentice, which went on to win multiple awards at the BGG Solo PnP’22 competition and is getting published this year. His passion for good game design and spellbinding storytelling inspired me to compose this talk and share my learnings with the community.