In writing the 1,500-page script for Life Is Strange: Before the Storm, Deck Nine Games narrative director Zak Garriss worked to create a writer's room that was diverse and followed one edict: the no asshole rule.
"I ask my writers to really invest in their work," he said during a GDC talk about the process of writing Life is Strange. "How do you have a dialog that can become so contentious around socially charged issues and still make it fruitful, let along pleasant?"
Mainly, he said, by ensuring he doesn't hire assholes and instead seeks out people with inherent kindness and humility.
Garriss was the lead writer for the game, in charge of a team of writers that would spend hours talking about a character or theme, location, race, gender and gameplay. Eventually, all of that discussion would help form a high-level outline and writers would be assigned their pieces of the story. But it was in that writers room, in front of a whiteboard, where the amazing story for Beyond the Storm came into focus.
"A room can produce high quality content quickly," Garriss said. "The right room, a good room, a healthy room can Voltron four writers into one super writer. To build a great room you need three things: you need an etiquette of exchange - a vocabulary and methodology for discussing complex ideas, a culture of transparency - where every voice can speak and be heard, and a mechanism in place for making decisions."
Garris noted that it's also important that the team of writers are diverse. "Having a plurality of voices leverages diversity and protects the script from any one person's blind spots."
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