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Failbetter WILL BE hiring: writer / narrative designer

[This role is now filled!]

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. We're pre-advertising that role now. Read on to find out why.

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.

Our essential minimum criteria for entry - once we open applications - will be

(1) You must have worked on at least two finished, commercially published digital interactive narrative pieces. You must be able to link to or provide copies of the work.

(2) You'll need to provide a small proposed Fallen London story arc, built in StoryNexus, of 3-5 storylets, no more. This should be no more than an evening's work, and is a basic test that you're familiar with our work and can fit with house style.

(3) 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 and asks for a Skype interview: I'm afraid we always say no. )

You have questions!

What else is important?

An ideal candidate will have

  • a vivid, intelligent prose style
  • deep, varied understanding of interactive digital storytelling
  • enthusiasm for a collaborative creative process - no lone gunmen
  • 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

When will you be taking applications?

From November 3rd. Applications will be open until we find the right candidate (or candidates). We'll provide contact information and application details then.

Why are you pre-advertising the role?

We've recently made a lot of hires, and we want to take time to integrate the new team. But we want to spread the net as wide as possible for the writing role so we have promising candidates when we're ready to grow further. And we want to give newcomers time to work towards satisfying criterion (1) above. Experience counts, but so does talent.

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.

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.

I think I know someone who would be perfect for...

Marvellous! Please spread the word! We'd love to hear from them when we start taking applications in November.

Are you serious about the ginger cake?


I have other questions...

We answered some more over here.