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 I wrote based on talks with THQ Canada. 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. Interactive Narrative Design is a new craft waiting to be further defined and explored.
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, the industry has seemed to watch the development of this new role with a skeptical eye. Many writers have falsely taken on the self-appointed title of ‘Narrative Designer’ and as a result there has been a watering down of the term and a general sense that the role is for nothing more than an relabeled game writer. This assumption is false. Narrative Designers are a new breed of hybrid talent for interactive entertainment industry, specifically the AAA-games sector.
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