Writers Guild of America Tackles Game Award Criticism

February 4, 2011 -

The Writers Guild of America is speaking out about criticism that video game writers have to pay money and sign up for a membership to win the Writers Guild Award for games. In an editorial on GameIndustry.biz, the chair of the Writers Guild of America's Videogame Writers Caucus, Micah Wright claims, "you do not have to be a member of our guild to win our award."

"We ask that all entrants join the Videogame Writers Caucus (VWC), but that is not the same thing as being a member of the WGA," says Wright.

The problem is, the VWC does require a $60 annual fee, which buys a membership. The money does give the submitter access to free film screenings and a subscription to the WGA's Written By Magazine, but it's still a fee.

"The WGA is a Guild primarily supported by the mandatory union dues of our film and television member-writers," adds Wright. "A writer who works on, say, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, will contribute 2% of their salary to the union, which in the case of a film like that might be in the range of $100,000."

"The idea that anyone thinks the WGA is somehow getting rich off of $60 fees from videogame writers is laughable," Wright continued.

The award does have other requirements besides the $60 fee and mandatory membership. Those that want to be considered have to submit a "script with writers' names on it" because the organization is "not clairvoyant" and "can't magically peer into some Developer's internal business structure and divine who wrote what."

Wright goes on to say that many game studios have refused to submit a script even though VCW has "gone to great lengths to make it easy for them to do."

Apparently, some of the companies that have refused to submit a script include BioWare and Take-Two. Wright claims that BioWare "refused to submit a script for either Mass Effect 2 or Dragon Age this year" and Take-Two "refused to submit a script for Red Dead Redemption." Wright says that these three games would have likely been finalists had the aforementioned companies complied.

Source: GI.biz


Comments

Re: Writers Guild of America Tackles Game Award Criticism

Every article I've seen thus far has made such a big deal out of the $60, but it has nothing to do with the amount. The fact that you have to be a member of this organization at all to be recognized as having the best writing in a video game more or less undermines the entire point of the award. It goes from "Best Writing in a Video Game" to "Best Writing by a VWC Member." Who the hell cares about that?

The fact that a game like Force Unleashed 2 could win this award over games like Mass Effect 2 or Red Dead Redemption, based solely on the fact that Bioware and Rockstar are not members of the VWC basically makes this award worthless.

I don't see why anyone would join this one specific organization just to win this one specific award....surely those who are already members have some other beneficial reason for being members. It just seems silly for this organization to try and goad these companies into joining by publicly ridiculing them for not wanting to pay the $60, as if that in itself is the deal-breaker.

Re: Writers Guild of America Tackles Game Award Criticism

Are you aware that you have to be a member of the Academy in order to win an Oscar?  Same with the SAG awards.  Just what the film industry has done for what? 80+ Years?  Oh and they have the right to do so.

http://www.deathvanquished.blogspot.com

Re: Writers Guild of America Tackles Game Award Criticism

im with natas, this reward i doubt has much clout behind it.

Re: Writers Guild of America Tackles Game Award Criticism

I don't see a problem at all. If Bioware or 2K doesn't submit the game script or pay the fee then they shouldn't be nominated.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Writers Guild of America Tackles Game Award Criticism

Me?  I'm just sick of organizations that do not understand gaming trying to judge gaming.

A submitted script does not truly reflect on how the writing is eventually delivered to the end user; as a tester every design doc I've ever seen is woefully outdated as soon as we recieve it, I imagine the same to be true of scripts.

Play the effing games if you want any credibility; I'm sure you can find some out-of-work writer to judge it for 60 dollars in booze money.

In addition: Games are almost never completely written by a single person.  Especially in RPGs different areas will be written by different people.  Game developers have better things to do than pander for some meaningless award (what with the previous nominees like WET it certainly doesn't mean a whole lot to me).

-Gamepolitics' sign up procedure sucks balls. Approve this *flips off admin*; I wanted to make this comment days ago.
 
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Andrew EisenSome locked threads. Some let them be. So, no, I'm not seeing a problem here. No corruption. No collusion. No ethical problem with privately discussing ethics.09/20/2014 - 12:48am
Andrew EisenAnd still, in the end, Tito made up his own mind on how to handle his site. All 150 or so members went off to handle their own sites in their own ways. Some talked about it. Some didn't. Some changed disclosure policies. Some didn't.09/20/2014 - 12:40am
Andrew EisenThere were two comments other than Kochera and Tito's. One pointed out the Escapist Code of Conduct, another comment was in support of Tito.09/20/2014 - 12:40am
Andrew EisenKochera privately expressed his disagreement on how Tito decided to do something. No, I don't consider that crossing a line nor do I consider the exchange an example of the group pressuring him.09/20/2014 - 12:36am
Kronotechnical reasons. Anyways, I need to get to sleep as well.09/20/2014 - 12:29am
KronoAnd he wasn't the only one pushing Tito to censor the thread. If Tito had bowed to peer pressure, we likely wouldn't have gotten this http://goo.gl/vKiYtR which grew out of that thread. Said thread also lasted until a new one needed to be made for09/20/2014 - 12:28am
Krono@Andrew So it's an example of Kuchera crossing the line from reporter to advocate. And an example of the group pressuring for censorship.09/20/2014 - 12:21am
E. Zachary KnightAnyway, I am off to bed. I will probably wake up to all of this being knocked off the shout box.09/20/2014 - 12:20am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, that is the type of reading too much into things that bugs me. Ben did no such thing. Greg had the last word in that part of the exchange. The rest was about how to approach the story and Quinn.09/20/2014 - 12:19am
Andrew EisenSo?09/20/2014 - 12:13am
KronoExcept that the forum thread wasn't harassment, and Kuchera continued to push for the thread's removal after Tito made it clear he didn't consider it harassment.09/20/2014 - 12:12am
Andrew EisenPersonally, I see nothing wrong with someone offering their opinion or the other person making up their own mind on how to run their site.09/20/2014 - 12:06am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, I read nothing of the sort in that email chain. I read Ben giving advice on what to do when a forum thread is used to harass someone and spread falshoods about them and others.09/20/2014 - 12:05am
KronoThat's exactly what Ben Kuchera was doing to Greg Tito.09/19/2014 - 11:58pm
Krono@EZK So you see nothing wrong with one journalist pressuring a journalist from a different organization to not only not run a story, but to censor a civil discussion already taking place?09/19/2014 - 11:56pm
E. Zachary KnightI write for a number of blogs and talk to people who write similar blogs all the time for tips and advice. I see nothing wrong with that.09/19/2014 - 11:50pm
E. Zachary KnightI read that comment now and frankly, I think that guy is reading too much into this. The press talk to each other. It happens. There is nothing that can be done to stop it from happening.09/19/2014 - 11:49pm
KronoUnfortunately it seems unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.09/19/2014 - 11:45pm
Krono@EZK No that's not the comment. As for wanting nothing do with any of it, that's perfectly understandable.09/19/2014 - 11:44pm
Sleaker@Conster - sand?09/19/2014 - 11:40pm
 

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