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Friday, August 13, 2010

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The Story Of Half-Life
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Game on Mac has published an interview with Mark Laidlaw, lead writer for Valve Software's Half-Life first person shooter series. The writer discussed how he became involved with the original game, the success of the franchise, and the unique nature of Gordon Freeman.

So what does it mean, exactly, to be the lead writer on Half-Life? “Developing backgrounds and characters” is Laidlaw’s sterile interpretation of his duties. But as he told loonygames, his duties really depend on where a game is in development: “Early in the design stage, we brainstorm a lot and I take most of the responsibility for writing stuff down; later I own a lot of the spec, which means updating it on a regular basis. Others at Valve are also very good at coming up with story elements, and organizing things in a highly dramatic way, so everything proceeds in a collaborative manner. But there are times when I’m writing a lot of dialog, or scripting out scenes, or rolling in feedback on stuff I’ve written.”

Fiction writers aren’t going to see too many parallels between book writing and collaborative game writing, however. Laidlaw says that writing with a game development team doesn’t offer the same “comfortable zone” that comes with writing a book.

See, with a book, the complete responsibility (“and blame” Laidlaw points out) is his alone: “Writing a story, I… understand the rules, and the final result is easy to envision.” Working on a game, meanwhile, “you rarely have that sense of comfort, because you are continually moving across unfamiliar ground into strange and unexplored territory.” Sounds harrowing, right? It is, but Laidlaw also says it’s “very exciting.”
Check out the full article at the link below.

Game on Mac: Half-Life Interview
Valve Software
Half-Life 2

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