What would you expect to be paid to write a video game script? $100,000? Maybe you'd get that a few years ago, but the rate is now more between $10,000 to $20,000, writes The New York Observer.
It's one of the more interesting did-you-knows cropping up in a collection of anecdotes about solid writers who are leaving more establishment gigs - news, novels - to try their hand at a chaotic field that's still establishing a who's who and professional structure. Games writing is largely a freelance, gig-by-gig career, like you'd expect for Hollywood, the difference is it pays a ton less.
The expectations are also a lot lower, to put it charitably. "I always say that the games industry makes Hollywood look like avant-garde poetry publishers," writer Tom Bissell said. "In the lit biz, I'm, to quote Ron Burgundy, I'm kind of a big deal. But in video games, no one cares."
N'Gai Croal, the former Newsweek games writer who founded the games consulting firm Hit Detection, figures prominently in the piece as well. "If you want a Frank Darabont, for instance, you need to pay Frank Darabont's quote or you don't get him," he says, comparing Hollywood and games. "But the flip side is, if you can't afford it, than maybe he's not the best one suited and maybe you want someone who knows games better, maybe isn't as big a name, but can deliver you 60 percent to 70 percent of what Darabont brings to the table in terms of dialogue and structure."
Other fun facts: N'Gai drinks strawberry mojitos, apparently. That's not exactly hard-luck shot-and-a-beer poison, so we'll assume his new gig can pay the rent. But strawberry, N'Gai? Tsk.
Scrawl of Duty: Novelists and Journos Defect to Video Game Industry [The New York Observer]