Royal Bastards(113)

By: Andrew Shvarts

Still, I took the job and discovered that I actually totally loved the younger, more cheerful tone! Writing for our game at the time, Surviving High School, forced me to forget every trope and cliché I knew, and to relearn from the ground up how to tell a good story. And after a few years working in game writing, I decided to return to novel writing, now fully enamored with the YA space.

What inspired you to write Royal Bastards, and was it connected to your experience coming up with stories for games at Pixelberry?

At Pixelberry, we have a writer’s room environment where you quickly learn that the best way to succeed is to find a way to synthesize everyone’s best ideas. I’ve brought that into my personal writing, where I always try to smush ideas together until I find something that really sticks. Royal Bastards actually began as two completely different ideas. First, I had this vague notion that I wanted to do a story about a group of totally disparate teens who get framed for a crime and have to flee together to clear their names. I also had this urge to write a YA version of Game of Thrones, something that took the intrigue and the action and the backstabbing of that world but reframed it in a YA way. I was sort of circling these two ideas separately before suddenly realizing, wait…this is the same story!

What kind of advice would you give someone who is interested in story-based game writing?

The biggest advice I’d give is to write a lot, and write broadly. Game writing is often a situational, fast-evolving field, and the more you can do, the better your odds of landing a job. In particular, learning how to write the types of stories not traditionally represented in games (romance, comedy) can give you a huge leg up in the emerging (and expansive) field of mobile storytelling.

Also, writing for one medium has made me stronger for the other. I’ve learned so much writing for both Royal Bastards and Choices. In fact, can you figure out which were the stories I wrote in Choices: Stories You Play?