Writers Guild of America Tackles Game Award Criticism

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

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  1. 0
    eston says:

    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.

  2. 0
    Natas_Enasni says:

    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).

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