Failbetter Games has an enviable reputation for storytelling. Ken Rolston (lead design on Elder Scrolls III and IV) has called us ‘a constant North Star of narrative design’. We’re growing, and we want to recruit a full-time writer with narrative design responsibilities, to work on our online game Fallen London, our PC game Sunless Sea, and related future projects in the same universe.
If you’re a games writer, this is a dream role, and one of those good dreams, not the one where the bookshelf eats your dog. Writers get respect at Failbetter: they have a strong voice in the creative process here throughout the whole production cycle. Quality writing is at the heart of everything we do. We pay good market rates, our office has amazing views, there’s a private health plan, we sometimes provide ginger cake.
But we are also small. We punch above our weight in terms of reputation, but we’ll need help to get the word out. And although this is not an entry-level role, we want to make sure the door is open to applicants from diverse, under-represented and unusual backgrounds.
This is a permanent full-time on-site hire. You must be able to interview in person in London, and work full-time on-site in London if successful – we could sponsor a work visa for the right applicant, but a physical interview is essential. (At least one person from the US always applies for our roles, and asks for a Skype interview: I’m afraid we always say no.)
Please send the following to firstname.lastname@example.org –
- your CV
- a concise, appropriate covering letter
- links to / copies of two finished, commercially published digital interactive narrative pieces.
If we want to take your application further, we’ll ask you to do a small Fallen London demo piece in StoryNexus. You don’t need to do that yet.
These things would make you the ideal candidate:
- a vivid, intelligent prose style
- deep, varied understanding of interactive digital storytelling
- enthusiasm for a collaborative creative process – not a lone gunman
- strong affection for the Fallen London universe, and Failbetter’s other work
- restless enthusiasm: the initiative to find and pursue new projects and ideas
- a thoughtful, meticulous attitude to your craft
CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: 30th November 2014
NOTE: We originally said we’d open applications on 3rd November. We’re going in early for boring logistical reasons. If you have been working frantically on a piece to publish for 3rd November, don’t fret! The closing date is still the 30th November.
Q. What about pay and conditions?
We can’t compete with big developers on free saunas and skiing trips, but we’ll only make you an offer if we can match or improve your salary. We like to hire for the long term. (In five years, no-one has ever resigned from a Failbetter role.)
Q. What does ‘commercially published’ mean?
We’re defining it loosely. It includes working in a team on a mainstream videogame, or self-publishing a one-person indie game. It also includes (e.g.) a successful (and successfully fulfilled) Kickstarter, a Patreon reliably used to subsidise projects or a Twine story sold through digital distribution. If you can produce finished, polished interactive work, and have done so at least twice, that’s what we’re looking for as a starting point.
Q. What does ‘digital interactive narrative’ mean?
We need someone who’s dealt with the specific challenges of branching or interactive or non-linear fiction. The acid test is: do players/readers encounter different words (spoken or written) in a different order depending on their actions? If so, then we’re good.
Q. Why ‘commercially’?
It’s a basic proxy for quality, and for the ability to finish work to a polished standard. It’s not a great proxy, because there are a lot of extremely high-quality free games. But working on a passion project in unpaid time is different from working under commercial pressure. We care deeply about our craft, but we’re a commercial operation.
Q. Should I be familiar with StoryNexus?
Lord no. Familiarity would be a small advantage, but if you’ve used Inform 7 or Twine or ChoiceScript or Undum or the NWN scenario editor or inklewriter or any of a hundred proprietary in-house tools… you’ll be familiar with the basic challenges.
Q. Can you sponsor a work visa?
You must be able to interview in and move to the UK, but yes, we’ll sponsor a visa if we think you’re the best candidate. Like we said, key role.
Q. You say you’ve got good office views. Of what?
I think the answer might be ‘the future’.