Get Narrative Design & Direction Results from the Original Narrative Designer!
Narrative Designer is a role in contemporary video game development first seen in 2006 when the video game publisher THQ began hiring for the position Stephen E. Dinehart IV wrote. While the strict definition may vary from team to team, and production to production, the core of this role is to champion story, craft compelling narrative elements, and define the systems through which they will be delivered to the player. While also at times acting as a game writer and game designer.
While writers to some extent have been engaging in 'narrative design' for linear storytelling arguably since Aristotle, it is wholly new to the field of interactive entertainment. Since working with the team at THQ to create the “Narrative Designer” position in 2006, Stephen and a number of collaborators the world over have helped the field grow by leaps and bounds. From one man, many of any number of nations, as an academic discipline, an art, and as a professional career, narrative design is now cemented as a legitimate artform. Narrative Designers are a new breed of hybrid talent, the famed unicorns of old.
Below is the job description Dinehart first wrote in Madison Wisconsin, in the spring of 2006. While the strict definition changes, it's a role that now employs hundreds the world over.
Narrative Designer (THQ JD 2006)
The Narrative Designer will focus on ensuring that the key elements of the player experience associated with story and story telling devices, script and speech are dynamic, exciting and compelling. Working collaboratively with other design oriented team members, the Narrative Designer will be the primary contact with external writing resources for the duration of a production, and will be responsible in ensuring we get the most out of those external resources.
When Stephen began working as a Narrative Designer there were no books on the subject. While since some have been released, over the years he wrote his own art treatise on the subject called "Narrative Designer: Fabulator Ludus". Available worldwide on Amazon of wherever you get books!
Dinehart has worked with franchises and characters ranging from The Marvel Universe, TSR, Harry Potter, Mario, Zelda, Batman to Lord of the Rings. In production, design, and as a game writer.
Since its inception the Narrative Designer role has generated a whole new class of story driven games, and game story hungry gamers looking for more from game stories.
Those first moves now over 15 years have created ripples the world over. The Narrative Designer is more that a video game writer, but a production designer for interactive stories.