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How To Write Interesting Dialogues For Games. Presented by Saljack Enterprises. Gaming. Media. Entertainment.

The artists bringing ideas to life and programmers coding the game have no trouble getting respect, but the storytelling is one that’s not seen as challenging. Of course, there are games whose storyline and dialogue are so cringe-worthy that you find yourself skipping it all. Usually, the games that are developed with the help of skilled writers stay in our mind for a longer period. For instance, games like The Last of Us, Bioshock, and Telltale’s The Walking Dead are a few of the many popular titles with conversations that helped entertain players into their unique worlds.

Learning how to write dialogue that helps to make the story and characters more interesting for the player instead of annoying them is a key in building memorable games. If you’re an aspiring game writer, consider the following tips to write captivating dialogues for the game.

Give The Regular NPCs Character:  Non-player characters (NPC’s) play a significant part in making the game’s story meaningful, but the ones having a little character of their own will appear in a boring world that players have trouble getting sucked into. This is especially true when quest-givers lack any character that the player will find and the quest will become boring before they’ve even started it. Do you have an NPC that wants the player to collect 10 oranges from an enemy-filled orchard? Give the character a cowardly persona, so that you know why he or she won’t give it. Or make the character sound cautious and tricky to imply that he or she is asking you to steal the oranges without you knowing. Small changes in dialogues of a character can go a long way and can even make an average quest sound exciting.

Try Keeping It Short And Sweet: When it comes to game dialogue, you’re very prone to lose the player if the character’s all lines are long. It is very necessary to feel like the character to create interesting quests and dialogues. However, this can all be done by eliminating “needless words” and chopping down the useless words while still retaining the necessary information. Even if every line is interesting, players still want to jump back into the action as soon as possible and hence they can skip it if it goes on too long. So prefer using vivid verbs, avoid using the passive voice and the cliche. Be specific, precise and elegant. Omit all the needless words.

Make The Lore and Backstories Optional: Lore is one of the excellent tools for making your game’s world feel alive and real. Having the accurate knowledge about incidents that took place in the past and the history of kingdoms and races and kingdoms, but only when the player actually wants to care. Many players could care less about everything outside of the main story. That is why it’s essential to keep lore out of dialogue as much as you can. Even then, there’s a purpose why most games have collectible info logs and codex that players can open up and read if they choose so. Players don’t want every character to speak about history lessons.

Are you an aspiring writer? Have you ever written dialogues for a game? Let us know your experience in the comments section or tweet us @essjay_ent!

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15 thoughts on “How To Write Interesting Dialogues For Games

  1. Rain Santos-Ocampo says:

    I always like unique NPC’s. I believe they give spunk to a game. It makes me more zoned in and interested in the game because of it’s many layers.

    Like

  2. Lily says:

    Creating interesting characters is difficult and I agree that Telltale Games has certainly found the key to it, both with The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. The bit about omitting “needless” words is very helpful to keep in mind when writing any script but is often overlooked in the writing process

    Like

  3. Phyllis says:

    I agree! Storytelling is very much underappreciated. After all, the storyline is as important as the graphics and the gameplay.

    Like

  4. Onyok says:

    I’m not just for the awesome graphics but interesting and entertaining storylines also make me remember games and play it over and over again! Yeah I agree, dialogues should be short and sweet because there more important tasks at hand than chit-chatting!

    Like

  5. Awra says:

    I hate NPC’s that talk too much non-sense. I just wanna get on with the side quest! There are too many games who are guilty of this.

    Like

  6. MIco Robin says:

    This is just for SIMS only. However , if a game is based on a book or an anime or manga then dialogue should not be an issue.

    Like

  7. Miaka Yuuki says:

    This is a great find Thanks!!! I for one is a rookie writer and I could definitely use this.

    Like

  8. Heidi says:

    If you don`t keep it short and sharp, most players will be bored . Unless you are giving instructions, most players won`t read dialogues, that`s my experience.

    Like

  9. Rain Santos-Ocampo says:

    I like it when the character unfolds because of the story line but find it so boring when too much text is going on. I just skip all and not get to know the character anymore. There should be a way to development the character without saying too much.

    Like

  10. Vader says:

    Yes interesting dialogues give enjoyment and fun to players. without cool dialogues, it probably seem boring.

    Like

  11. Rebi says:

    I agree with make it short and sweet. It has to have given all of what the character has to say and not too much storytelling.

    Like

  12. Mau says:

    I’m an aspiring writer but I’ve never written dialogues for games. The good thing about writing for games is there is an accompanying graphics and/or animation unlike when writing books where it is up to the reader to visualize how everything looks like. Both the graphics/animations + the dialogues make an interesting character.

    Like

  13. cornie says:

    if you have a certain story of your game, the dialogues should fit the genre. Just keep it short and simple since the players might be annoyed to have very long dialogues.

    Like

  14. grant says:

    i don’t like games that have a lot of dialogues before or after the game. it’s quiet annoying since it keeps you waiting for the game to load. for me the dialogues are not important, as long as the flow of the story in the game is good.

    Like

  15. Parker says:

    A game without dialogue is like a movie with music. It’s just not as exciting and sometimes flat out lifeless.

    Like

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