The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has revealed there will be no category for video game writing in its upcoming 2020 awards.
Despite a number of writers sharing their dismay on Twitter and intimating the removal of the award was “one step forward, seven steps back” for the industry, in a statement to USGamer, the WGA said it was suspending the award until there was “a critical mass” of video games, as the organisation will only consider games written by its members.
“There won’t be a Videogame Writing Award in 2020,” the WGA said in the brief statement. “However, the category will be reinstated when there is a critical mass of videogames covered by the WGA in order to provide a meaningful award selection process.”
Confirming only WGA members could have their games considered for the award, a number of notable video game writers such as Portal and Half-Life writer Chet Faliszek said they’d never participated in the awards as the category only exists as “a way for the WGA to build its membership among games writers”.
“I’ve never joined the WGA and never will,” Faliszek tweeted. “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.”
“The WGA Game Writing Award was never more than a way for the WGA to build its membership among game writers, incentivizing us to pay dues in exchange [for] the privilege of being eligible for that award,” added Mortal Kombat 11 writer, Shawn Kittelsen.
“For all the good and vital work that the WGA does for writers in the Film & TV markets, they have ZERO presence in the games industry. Getting rid of this award at least does away with the charade that the WGA advocates for game writers in any capacity.”
Winners of previous awards for best video game writing include The Last of Us, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and the rebooted God of War. The awards have been recognising excellence in video game writing for more than a decade.