Halo 4 trumps Walking Dead: Writers Guild of America unveils best games writing nominees

Assassin's Creed III

This morning, the Writer’s Guild of America unveiled its annual list of best writing nominees. The Guild covers almost every form of media, from films to television to zero-budget web series’ and as you might expect this includes video games. Based on the WGA’s list though, we’re not entirely convinced that the Guild is all that familiar with the medium.

We’ll get to our complaints with this list in a moment, but first let’s take a look at which games the WGA considers to be the best examples of games writing to emerge from 2012:



  • 007 Legends, Written By Bruce Feirstein; Activision
  • Assassin’s Creed III, Story By Alex Hutchinson, Corey May, Matt Turner; Multiplayer Story By Richard Farrese, Jeffrey Yohalem; Lead Scriptwriter Corey May; Scriptwriter Nicholas Grimwood, Russell Lees, Matt Turner, Danny Wallace, Ceri Young; Ubisoft
  • Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, Scriptwriting by Richard Farrese, Jill Murray; Ubisoft
  • Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Writing Consultant Marv Wolfman; Disney Interactive Studios
  • Halo 4, Narrative Design Christopher Schlerf; Microsoft Studios
  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Written By John Garvin; Sony Computer Entertainment America

From these six titles, the WGA plans to select one shining, golden example of video games writing to hoist as winner. That game will receive its honors at a ceremony in Los Angeles on February 17.


Pertinent details aside, let’s get back to what really makes this list important: Its utterly baffling nature. Devoted Digital Trends readers may recall that we issued a relatively similar list toward the beginning of December as part of our year-end “Best of 2012” awards. We listed three nominees, and of those only Assassin’s Creed III also appears on the WGA list.


Not that we’re claiming to be the ultimate arbiter of what is good and bad in games writing, but it doesn’t take a trained expert to see the flaws in the WGA list. Did you notice that all six of those games come from major publishers? Activision, Ubisoft, Disney, Microsoft, and Sony are all represented there, alongside exactly zero smaller companies. This wouldn’t be such a glaring oversight if critics and fans alike had not almost unanimously dubbed Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead as the best game of 2012 almost entirely by virtue of its phenomenal characterization and story line. It’s no secret that we adore The Walking Dead and to see it slighted by a list that should feature its name in bold, red text makes us very wary of what criteria the WGA might use in selecting its nominees. It’s also odd to see 007 Legends on the list. Not only did that game adapt properties rather than write them, the game itself was a broken mess.


Perhaps sensing our incredulity, representatives from the WGA refused to explain the specific rationale behind the list and instead directed us to the catch-all explanation found on the group’s site. It doesn’t explain what qualitative measurements the WGA relies on, nor does it state that the awards are purely subjective, but it does serve as our only extant glimpse into the process behind selecting nominees:


Now in its sixth year, the WGA Videogame Writing Award honors the best qualifying script from a videogame published in the previous year. To be eligible for WGA consideration, games must have been released between December 1, 2011 and November 30, 2012, and feature on-screen writing credit(s). Credited videogame writers must have been or must have applied to become members of the WGA Videogame Writers Caucus at the time scripts were submitted. Work that was not produced under WGA jurisdiction was also eligible for submission. Preliminary and final judging for the WGA Videogame Writing Award is conducted by panels comprised of Videogame Writers Caucus members and/or Writers Guild members active in videogame writing.


That does little to explain how the WGA came up with its list of nominees, but it raises one very important point: The WGA has only been judging games for the past six years, so it wouldn’t be totally surprising to find out that it’s still fine-tuning whatever metrics it uses to rate a game’s script. Hopefully this is the real culprit behind the WGA’s baffling collection of nominees because it indicates that future lists might be more credible. If not, if the WGA legitimately considers those six games to be the best examples of script writing to emerge from the medium in 2012, then perhaps the WGA ought to stick to watching action flicks and sitcoms.


These are the worst passwords of 2018. Is yours on this list?

Do you use a bad password that makes your online accounts easy to break into? SplashData has compiled a list of the top 100 worst passwords for 2018 and there are quite a few listings that were carryovers from prior lists.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma, ‘Sabrina’ special

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Alfonso Cuaron's new film Roma, Jim Henson's classic fantasy The Dark Crystal, and more.

Best holiday gifts for the outdoor junkie on your list

Have an outdoorsy person on your list and not sure what they need? We've hand-picked our favorite outdoor gear with an eye towards the unique and useful. From high-powered headlamps to heated socks, we've found something for everyone on…
Movies & TV

Sit down and watch some of the best stand-up comedy on Netflix

Feeling a little funny? There are hundreds of hilarious comedy specials out there, and you can't be expected to comb through them all. Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of the best stand-up specials on Netflix.

Want every suit in 'Marvel's Spider-Man' for PS4? Here's how to get them all

Marvel's Spider-Man features a whopping 33 different suits for Peter Parker to wear as he swings across New York City knocking out baddies. Here are all the suits and how to unlock them.

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

New ‘Stardew Valley’ content on the way, as game’s maker freezes next project

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone said that he will continue working on new content for the indie farming simulator. The developer previously said that he will devote all his time to his next game, but that has been placed on hold for now.

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Find the perfect weapon in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4' multiplayer with our guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has several different guns to choose from in its multiplayer mode, and they're split across multiple classes. Here's a guide to all of them and when you should use them.

Underwater survival game ‘Subnautica’ free on Epic Games’ online store

The award-winning underwater survival game Subnautica is currently available as a free download on the Epic Games store. The Steam challenger looks to attract players with a new free game every two weeks.

Kanye West wants to meet ‘Metal Gear Solid’ creator Hideo Kojima, for some reason

Rapper Kanye West wants to meet video game designer Hideo Kojima in New York. Nobody knows the reason behind the meeting, but fans are speculating that it may have something to do with Death Stranding for the PlayStation 4.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!