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How Much Do Video Game Writers Make?

How Much Do Video Game Writers Make?

Video game writers craft the narrative storylines for various video games. These writers use their skills of world-building and character development to craft memorable stories told through gameplay. While this field is known for being competitive, the pay is worth the effort to break-in with average salaries ranging from $50,000 to $60,000 and increasing with experience. This increase can scale up to $150,000 for some talented game writers with the right experience and connections.

Game Writer Salary

Game writers make an average of $67,500 annually. Pay depends on location and experience, with game writers having the potential to make a six-figure income.

How Are Game Writers Paid?

Many game writers are paid on a contractual basis, with their pay adhering to the agreements in the contract. This is generally either hourly or per project. 

In-house positions for game writers are few and far between. It is more realistic to approach beginning a career as a game writer by taking on freelance or contract positions as this is how even some of the largest studios operate. Some game writers may never take an in-house, full-time role, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a successful career.

Who Hires Game Writers?

Indie studios and AAA gaming companies hire game writers.

Because gaming is still a young medium, company cultures are still developing. While you may find stereotypes of working environments to be more true for working in film and publishing, you’ll find gaming studios vary wildly from one to the next. As a game writer, you’ll likely be writing for either a smaller indie studio or for a AAA gaming company like Activision, EA, or Blizzard Entertainment. 

Here’s a closer look at some of the places you may work, whether you decide to freelance or land an in-house role:

Indie Studios

PROS: 

  • No corporate mentality (darn you, corporate drones) and more creative freedom
  • Writers at a successful indie studio may be rewarded with large bonuses

CONS:

  • No HR department to moderate favoritism and problems with the team, especially when management has gone sour
  • Finances may be tight which could result in a game never making it to market

AAA Games

PROS: 

  • Larger budgets for games and higher thresholds for game writer pay
  • Job security due to the financial security of the company (in comparison to indie studios)

CONS:

  • You may become pigeonholed into your specialization
  • Less reception to new ideas and innovation by game writers

Take the next step. Learn how to become a game writer or delve into the specifics of what a game writer does if you’re still at the beginning stages of exploring this career path.

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