On January 19, I'm moderating a panel on videogame writing. It will be at McGill at 7pm; save the date. Nina Sund will be one of our panelists.
Nina Sund started in the game industry with what I'd call in a screenplay Inevitability and Surprise. She was a hardcore Anarchy Online game player, and volunteered to be part of their volunteer customer service program (ARK*). AO is a Massively Multiplayer Online game, like World of Warcraft; the ARKs help craft in-game events to bring story development and random encounters to more casual players. In other words, she was writing and implementing game story for free. After three years, Funcom asked her to come in for an interview. She paid her dues in Quality Assurance (QA, or playtesting), and then moved onto the development team for Anarchy Online. As Nina puts it:
This kind of recruitment isn't at all common in Funcom, and I have no idea how common it is in other companies, but it's happened for Anarchy Online a few times. It's an old game with an enormous wealth of information, and often, players themselves are good candidates for working on it, given they have the proper talent and skill, of course.
Since then, she has written dialogue for Age of Conan, trying to recreate the narrative voice of Robert E. Howard. For the last two years, she has written lore and backstory for an upcoming modern-day MMO.
Come see her and pester her with questions on January 19th!
*This acronym makes sense in Norwegian.
UPDATE: Check out Nina's post on How to become a content designer