Giveaway (US/Int): Mutants, psychics, & vampires oh my! Get in the game with SciFi author Rafael Chandler
Please help me welcome Hexcommunicated author Rafael Chandler!
WRITING THE VIDEO GAME
I sold my first short story to Lullaby Hearse magazine about ten years ago, which is right around the time I began my career as a video game writer. Strangely, these twin passions of mine — interactive fiction and traditional narrative — have fed on each other and produced a strange fruit.
Writing a video game is a collaborative undertaking, regardless of how many people are on the project, or who gets credited as the game’s writer. Everyone gets a piece of the action: management, project leads, and marketing personnel.
Sometimes, the writer spends part of the project in a vacuum, developing ideas, creating locations and characters, envisioning dramatic moments and shocking revelations. However, these ideas are inevitably presented for review, and there’s no telling how other members of the team will respond to the work that’s been done.
Quite often, changes to the game’s design require alterations to the plot, cast, and even locations or time periods. As you can imagine, this constitutes a huge part of the challenge of interactive narrative. And it can drive you insane, if you let it. Which I don’t. Coffee helps.
WRITING THE NOVEL
I’ve worked on a broad range of games, but the first game I wrote was Rainbow Six: Lockdown, a story about terrorists and hostages and biological weapons. Cheery stuff! Personally, I gravitate towards games with dragons, wizards, cyborgs, or zombies in them, but I enjoyed the project immensely. Later, I worked on a few of the Ghost Recon games, a few titles in the SOCOM series, and two installments of Modern Combat — more terrorists, more war, more guns, tanks, bombs, and pseudo-military jargon.
When the time came for me to take a break from video game design, and seriously devote myself to my long-postponed goal of writing a novel, my passions collided; my love of vampires, demons, and the macabre (which began when I discovered the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe while still a child) collided with my experiences as a writer of video games.
The first idea that popped into my head was the notion of vampire terrorists, detonating bloodborne biological WMDs designed to turn the populations of major cities into lesser vampires. Over the course of a year, this concept evolved into a wildly different animal: a vampire who works for a clandestine federal agency discovers a plan to detonate a Lovecraftian WMD in his hometown. Worse, one of the psychics on his team has already seen the future, and it looks like the vampire won’t be able to prevent the attack…
Writing this novel was a hell of a lot of fun, because I’d spent ten years developing a system for documenting my narrative; I covered a wall with post-it notes, scrawled in notebooks, and hammered away at my laptop, but always with a purpose, and always on time and for the alloted duration. When you write video games for a living, and you deliver text on a deadline or you don’t get paid, you learn to power through those moments of writer’s block, and this skill served me well when writing Hexcommunicated.
At the moment, I’m writing two new video games and a new novel, and flipping back and forth between projects is dizzying, but exhilarating. At some point, I should probably get some sleep, but I guess I can do that when I’m undead.
Read an excerpt
About the author
|Rafael Chandler writes video games. While working for companies like Sony, Ubisoft, Kabam, and Gameloft, he’s written SOCOM 4, Final Eden, Gangstar Rio: City of Saints, MAG, and Rainbow Six: Lockdown. He also wrote Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia, which was published by Dark Horse Comics, and The Game Writing Handbook, which was published by Charles River Media. In his spare time, Chandler designs tabletop role-playing games, including Scorn, ViewScream, Spite, and the upcoming Mall Jongg. Hexcommunicated is his first novel.|
Rafael is giving away one e-copy of Hexcommunicated to one commenter on today’s post! To win, leave a comment answering the question below then fill out the Rafflecopter widget.
What intrigues you most about Hexcommunicated?
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