Gearbox Software recently spoke about the power of having a writing team when producing Borderlands 3. Speaking at Devcom, head of world development Randy Varnell discussed the writing process of their games and how this has now changed with their most recent game.
Gamesindustry.biz reports that the typical process would be to designate the writing to a single writer during the development of games like Borderlands and Battleborn. However, Gearbox had to acknowledge that this was no longer viable, as Varnell said in the interview:
“If you’ve played any Borderlands, you know that the games are not small…There is a lot of dialogue, there is a lot of story, there are a lot of lines said, and when we came to Borderlands 3, we knew we were gonna make the game even bigger than before.”
With this ambition, Gearbox had to include a narrative department. Never before had the studio had such a department in their twenty-year history.
So, What Has Gearbox Included?
According to the report, they have included:
“…a resident voice-over artist, a pre-visualization team and, crucially, four dedicated writers. That unit worked with the creative leads from the other key areas of the production, and reported to the company’s senior leadership.”
These inclusion show a clear direction for Gearbox, in regards to the game’s writing. Ambition and an understanding of the limitations of using a single writer underpin this move.
“Before, it was just a lot for one writer to tackle… At the end of a project, writing so many lines, and having to work so heavily on iteration, on polish, on working individually with mission designers and level designers, there just wasn’t a lot of writer to go around.”
The writer couldn’t work with other developers due to so many other commitments. As we get closer to the launch of Borderlands 3, we will see whether hiring the department paid off.
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