After 10 years, since its introduction in 2008, the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) will cut their video game award in 2020. The award officially named “outstanding achievement in video game writing”, has helped video games receive recognization as an art form instead of their stereotypical portrayal of being a waste of time gorefest.
The WGA is a writer’s labor union with members from a variety of mediums including television, news, documentaries, animation and the internet. A WGA representative discussed why video games are no longer included, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“There won’t be a Videogame Writing Award in 2020. However, the category will be reinstated when there is a critical mass of video games covered by the WGA in order to provide a meaningful award selection process.”
As mentioned above, the award could come back, but the reason for cutting it is a bit controversial. In order to get nominated, developers must pay a $100 fee to join the Game Writer’s Caucus, which explains Red Dead Redemption 2‘s absence last year. Some video game writers are open about their disdain of the selection process including Chet Faliszek, writer for Portal and Half-Life, who took to Twitter.
“I’ve never joined the WGA and never will. To win this award you have to be a member. When they asked us to join so we could win – we could pay dues but not vote because game writing isn’t real writing, not like have a short story published in a zine read by 12 people.”
It looks as though it will take a long time to reach the “critical mass of video games” if the rules stay the same. Neil Druckmann, who previously won for Uncharted, also posted on Twitter to express his feelings on the situation.
Very disappointed at the WGA for removing the video game category from their awards. A misguided slap in the face for writers in games. https://t.co/663vOFXDhH
— Neil Druckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) October 3, 2019
Recent winners of the now-extinct award include Sony Santa Monica with God of War, Guerrilla Games with Horizon Zero Dawn, Naughty Dog with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Crystal Dynamics with Rise of the Tomb Raider.