It is difficult to find a medium for entertainment that has been more successful than video games. From the first arcade game Pong in 1972, which pushed the limits of what was possible with technology at the time, to today’s 3D immersive experiences and virtual reality headsets, video games have grown exponentially both in popularity and sophistication. Today, there are many careers within the industry. One such career is that of a Video Game Writer.
What do video game writers do to earn so much money?
Video Game Writers create dialogues for characters and write descriptions of settings or events so players can experience them as they progress through their quests or missions. They also help develop plots or storylines by coming up with ideas, writing summaries of these ideas and suggesting how they might be implemented into gameplay sequences or cut scenes.
To see what someone with a Video Game Writer salary can expect, we’ve created the following list:
– $25,000 – $30,000: Entry Level (1-3 years experience)
– $45,000 – $50,000: Mid level (4-6 years of experience)
– $60,000 – $80,000: High level (7+ years of experience)
These salaries might seem skewed because it’s such a new career path. These numbers were taken from Glassdoor and Payscale. Do note that it is hard to really know how much successful freelancers really make. A popular game writer could charge pretty much as much as supply & demand allows them to.
How to start making money from writing video game scripts yourself.
There are a few different ways that you can get into the Game script Writer career and start making money yourself.
– Find a job in an existing video game company. This could be entry level (maybe working QA) or senior level.
– Build up your experience by working for free or cheap
– Build your own game studio with your friends/family; or ask trusted family /friends to offer equity instead of payment (i.e. you split profits at the end of the project)
– Become a full time freelancer and get paid per project instead of an hourly rate or salary
– Be really lucky and get hired by a huge studio like Hallmark or Blizzard
There are also options to branch out with your talents. Gaming is only one of the possibilities for Video Game Writers. You can build stories, characters, plots, etc., for any medium you want. Television shows, movies, books… they’re all fair game.
However, if you want to stick it out and make money in the video game industry, then we recommend trying to get a position at an established company while you build your experience. The job market for writers is tough, but if you’re successful like Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid), Neil Druckmann (The Last of Us), Chris Avellone (Fallout 2, Planescape Torment) or Dan Abnett (Guardians of the Galaxy, Who in Whoville) then you could end up earning over $100,000!
Some of the highest paid game writers out there
.These are some of the biggest gross earners in the game industry to date:
– Hideo Kojima: Metal Gear Solid – $19 Million a year
– Dan Abnett: Guardians of the Galaxy, Who in Whoville – Estimated to make around $18 million a year
– Neil Druckmann: The Last of Us – Estimated to make around $16 million a year
– Chris Avellone: Fallout 2, Planescape Torment – Estimated to make around $10 million a year
It’s important to remember that these numbers are guesses. It is almost impossible to know how much money successful freelancers actually earn because they don’t keep track of time and only bill their clients at the end of a project.
Why do they get paid so much?
The short answer is, because they can. Video game writers are paid an incredible amount of money nowadays because the games industry is so profitable and there are so many games with great stories that deserve to be told.
Some of them might also get these extremely high salaries by negotiating in advance, but keep in mind that this probably won’t work if you are first starting out.
These individuals put their heart and soul into these projects, so it could be argued that they deserve to earn as much as possible. Some of them could probably make less money working at a Starbucks, but they love what they do so much that they are willing to take the risk of not earning anything at all.
Just how difficult is it to become a video game writer?
Since there are no set rules or guidelines, becoming a video game writer is extremely difficult and takes tons of experience. Hiring managers want to hire writers who know exactly what they’re doing so if you don’t have the right experience, then forget about it.
Keep in mind that you could also break into the industry by building up your experience through paid internships or QA testing, but don’t expect to start earning much money right away.
If you are planning on becoming a full time freelancer or starting up your own game studio, it is going to be extremely difficult unless you have a few successful titles under your belt.
For those who are new or inexperienced, they should consider becoming a full time writer in another industry and eventually work their way up from there.
If you have the passion for games and storytelling, then nothing is going to stop you from achieving your dreams!