28 November 2012

The best fantasy video games written by women

The best fantasy video games written by women

There has been some stirring on Twitter recently about sexism among video game developers on the #1reasonwhy hashtag. I'm not completely clued up on the situation, but the gist of it is that women in the video game industry are being treated pretty damn poorly in a predominantly male sector. I don't have enough knowledge or any experience in the industry to comment, but it made me wonder about the contribution that women have made to fantasy video games, and I found that some of my all-time favourite fantasy video games have been penned by women.


Marianne KrawczykMarianne Krawczyk - goddess of characterisation


Marianne Krawczyk is responsible for the plot and story behind the hugely popular God of War series. Without her input, the entire franchise would have been nothing but killing (it's still largely killing, I grant you that, but Krawczyk's efforts have put a damn good character behind the killing). She was the lead writer for all of the God of War games, and she won a BAFTA award in 2007 for Best Story and Character. If that doesn't prove her writing chops, I don't know what does.

Marianne is currently working on the video game adaptation of Star Trek Into Darkness.


Rhianna Pratchett

Rhianna Pratchett - muse of the funny bone


Rhianna Pratchett gets kudos for writing the story and script behind the bloody hilarious Overlord video games. If you've not played it, take a look at it. It's one of the rare occasions where being the bad guy is a hell of a lot more fun than being the hero. Pratchett's work on Overlord won her the Best Videogame Script Award by the Writer's Guild of Great Britain. She was also responsible for the story for Mirror's Edge, as well as its six-part comic adaptation.

It has been announced that Rhianna is to take over the intellectual rights for Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, and she is to co-write The Watch, a TV series based on the Discworld. I cannot wait for this, and with her humour and flair I can't think of a better person to assume the mantle.



Amy HennigAmy Hennig - queen of fantasy video games


Amy Hennig is responsible for my all-time favourite video game series, The Legacy of Kain. Seriously, I'm completely gaga for these games as it has one of the best fantasy stories I've come across (vampires and time travel, what more could you want?!). Hennig wrote all but one of the games in the Legacy of Kain series (the weakest of the series, Blood Omen 2, was the only one she didn't work on. That says it all, really).

Since then, she's moved on to work for Naughty Dog and also wrote the super Uncharted series. I still hope that she will one day return to the Legacy of Kain series ...

So if there are any ladies who are worried about breaking into the video game industry, the fantasy section is filled with talent and prove that, despite the sexism and all that nasty business, success is still very possible.

Which female writers inspire you? Which video games do you think are especially well written?


31 comments:

  1. I've played God of War.
    The Fall series is extremely well-written.

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    1. I'm trying to get more involved with fantasy video games to review them here; If I manage to get a cheap PS3 I'll try and do the God of War series :)

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  2. This post makes me wish I played more video games but as I'm still working on the original Legend of Zelda series, it'll take me a while to get to the more advanced stuff. A long while.

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    1. Let's be fair, the original LoZ series is still one of the greatest ever.

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  3. I'm not up on video games, but it'd be nice to see equality in all areas.

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    1. There's still a ways to go, but we're making progress.

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  4. Jaims, weird. I posted on video games, today. And one of the early progenitors of gaming who I think deserves a mention is Roberta Williams, creator of Mystery House.

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    1. I'll have to go check her out. Thanks Suze :)

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  5. Awesome post. I have some very fond memories about Legacy of Kain. Another woman in video games that comes to mind is... what's her name again?...Jade Raymond (that you, Google), who produced the first two games in the Assassin's Creed series.

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    1. Thanks Michael :) I was going to include Jade, but she didn't write the series, only produced the first 2 games. She's still pretty awesome though.

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  6. Too bad God of war is a mary-sue story, Mirror edge is a forgettable story. Uncharted is just a Indiana Jones rip-off.

    Legacy of Kain was entertaining.

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    1. Hi, you must have come from 4chan. Welcome :)

      I'm glad you liked LoK; bloody awesome series.

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  7. I don't play video games though I recognize lots of the titles being mentioned because of my sons. I don't know if women are well-represented or not, but I believe more guys play video games. Any stats on that?

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    1. women made up 40% of gamers as far as I've heard. They aren't marketed at, and tend to be ignored as a demographic.

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    2. Thanks, Anon. Women are still underrepresented in terms of game development, but the split for gamers is almost equal by the looks of things.

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  8. I don't do video games, but I still enjoyed this post. I'm not going to lie, I usually picture guys working on video games, so I appreciated this as a wake up call.

    How are you liking Boneshaker? I just started reading it today. Haven't gotten far yet, but I already find it interesting.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. I was the same before I started researching, to be honest. I knew Amy Hennig because I'm such a big fan of the Kain series, but that was it.

      I loved Boneshaker! I thought it was a brilliant slice of steampunk; Priest does a great job with her dialogue and her pacing is brilliant. I'm a fan :)

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  9. Man what I wouldn't give for a Soul Reaver reboot... Loved those games sooo much.

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    1. You and me both :) After Tweeting Rhianna Pratchett, she said she'd be up for working on a new LoK game with Amy Hennig if Amy was up for it. Here's hoping :)

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  10. Well there are definitely more guys who play video games than girls, so it makes sense that the majority of developers would be guys as well. I would think the females would be treated with MORE respect because of that, rather than less. Go figure. I think there was also a woman writer in the Portal series :)

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    1. I really like Portal, so that's another one for the list of awesome games written by women :) It sucks that women get sidelined in the industry, but hopefully it'll get better soon.

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  11. I'm not really into video games...mostly because I'm a idiot when it comes to controllers. I just cannot work them. (I played Crazy Taxi once and hit every single pedestrian and other car around!) But it's good to see what other women are up to in the field. I've been trying to get games design companies to our girls schools to do careers talks, but they are mighty difficult people to get hold of. I'll keep trying and hopefully we'll inspire a new generation of young girls into gaming :)

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    1. Good luck getting them in :) I reckon Twitter would be the best place to get hold of them :)

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  12. I know pretty much nothing about video games. But I think it's rad you wrote a blog about female writers! That's super cool of you.

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    1. Thanks Alexia, though my name was thrown about in the less scrupulous corners of the Internet as a result (the trolls had a field day with it :P)

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  13. Of these, I've played God of War and Mirror's Edge. Both were fabulous.

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    1. Both really good games, though I've only played both briefly.

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  14. Not into gaming whatsoever, but I do love that you give props to female talent in the industry. My inner feminist warrior loves you. :) I love Jane Espenson and Marti Noxon who have both worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Noxon worked on Mad Men, Glee and Grey's Anatomy. Espenson went on to write for Battlestar Galactica, Caprica and is currently working on Once Upon a Time.

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    1. Good list; I'll have to see which episodes they wrote and take a look see. Thanks!

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  15. Soul Reaver is up there as one of my favourite games ever and the story was a big factor in that. The rest of the Legacy of Kain series never quite captured the essence of what made Soul Reaver such a good game but its a testament writing that I played every single one just to know what happened in the story.

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    1. Soul Reaver 1 and 2 hooked me; I wasn't that much a fan of Blood Omen 2, but Defiance was pretty sweet.

      I heard that they're working on a new title called War of Nosgoth. I can't wait!

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