Interview With The Secret World Writer Joshua Alan Doetsch

Recently, I had the great privilege to sit down and interview The Secret World’s lead writer, Joshua “Scrivnomancer” Alan Doetsch, for All Day, All Night, All In.

Daimon Kiyota being awesome in The Secret WorldAs a big fan of TSW and its story, it was quite a thrill for me to be able to pick the brains of one of the main drivers behind it. And I didn’t even end up with liquid whispers telling me to carve alien runes into my living flesh.

Here’s an excerpt:

ADANAI: Explain a bit about what your job involves. What does an average day in the life of a video game writer look like?

Joshua Alan Doetsch: Every morning, a cult of gameplay designers draws a ritual circle in chalk, blood, and grave wax, summoning me with a blasphemous rite. Then we have a morning meeting. They compel me to give them text, careful not to break the circle, careful not to get too close…

4 thoughts on “Interview With The Secret World Writer Joshua Alan Doetsch

  1. Interesting interview! It’s always fun to see “behind the scenes” and one doesn’t always hear very much about the people who actually write the game stories. Well, at least about the process of writing without it turning into lore debates lol.

    • From what I understand, it’s actually very rare, even in this day and age, for video game companies to have dedicated writers. Usually, the story is done by other devs when they have spare time.

      It’s a testament to the commitment to story Funcom has that they have a guy who does nothing but write.

      • Maybe that’s why it’s a good story and WoW is a mish-mash that doesn’t make sense sometimes 😀
        I thought WoW had some Lore people around but apparently they don’t have a lot of influence as Red Shirt Guy points out every Blizzcon lol.
        It’s not like they couldn’t afford dedicated writers although they are on record saying game play > story. Don’t know why a big company like Blizzard couldn’t do both 😛

      • Blizzard does actually have dedicated writers and lore people. Metzen, Micky Neilson, Dave Kosak. Maybe one or two other peeps. StarCraft and Diablo are also worked on by Brian Kindregan, who was one of the guys behind the Mass Effect games. Which explains why those games have such great supporting characters.

        I think the problem is that Metzen tends to tunnel vision on how “awesome” an idea is without necessarily thinking it through. Sometimes this means he creates something really spectacular, but sometimes it just turns into bizarre nonsense.

        Fun fact: Up until Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard had no system in place for internal consistency and continuity. Hence why Burning Crusade was such a lorestrocity.

        Now, they have a dedicated historical/fact-checking team. I believe it’s headed up by Evelyn Frederickson.

        I’m still not happy with the gameplay > lore philosophy. I don’t think it’s always been that way. Certainly, Warcraft III struck me as the result of the opposite belief. Not that gameplay suffered because of story — quite the opposite — but the gameplay seemed designed from the ground up to serve the story.

        It’s especially confusing in regards to WoW because story is just about all it has left to claim as its own. It’s a ten year-old game; that’s ancient in the computer world. Pretty much every other game on the market has surpassed in virtually every aspect of gameplay. The lore of the Warcraft universe is one of the few things no one can take from them.

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