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We're Hiring! Senior Writer/Narrative Designer

Update: applications for this position are now closed.

We’re Failbetter Games, makers of Sunless Skies, Sunless Sea and Fallen London. We’re known for inventive narrative design and rich, atmospheric storytelling.

We’re looking for an experienced writer and narrative designer to join our award-winning in-house writing team. Duties of this role include:

  • Pitching story arcs and contributing to content planning
  • Writing a much wider range of content than the typical game franchise allows
  • Designing mechanics that support story, themes, and the desired play experience
  • Implementing stories using ink and our in-house tools
  • Reviewing work by other writers
  • Providing visual briefs for artists
What ‘Writer’ Means Here

At Failbetter, we write a much wider range of content than the typical game franchise allows. A lot of our game content consists of prose. That means we still need rich lore and engaging dialogue, but we also have the chance to write striking action scenes and fantastical settings, unconstrained by an animation budget.

We look to tell stories that are fundamentally truthful, and that respect the variety and dignity of human experience.

What ‘Narrative Designer’ Means Here

Unlike some narrative designer roles, this position does not require scripting, 3D level design, voice-over directing, or proficiency with a game engine such as Unity or Unreal.

However, we are seeking someone who tells interactive stories through systems and structures as well as through words. In our games, story and mechanics are tightly interlocked. Every narrative beat affects the world state. We use mechanics to communicate risk, sacrifice, character development, and even the surrounding culture.

We also look to our narrative designers for tasks that might count as systems design at another studio, such as balancing costs and rewards for story beats, or defining progression curves.

What We Can Offer

We have a very experienced, very collaborative writing team. We talk a lot about what we’re doing, how, and why. We celebrate each other’s successes. We’d love to learn what you have to teach and to share our knowledge with you. If you’d like your future career to involve more engagement with the rest of the game industry, we may be able to help with networking, public speaking, or other forms of visibility and connection.

Failbetter is committed to offering employees a safe, respectful environment, a healthy work-life balance, and transparent decision-making. We make our games without crunch and enthusiastically eliminate systemic sources of overtime. We don’t talk over one another in meetings, and we don’t expect all our employees to share the same hobbies and cultural referents. We twice won’s Best Places to Work award, in 2017 and 2019.

Further benefits of working here include:

  • Flexi-time
  • One “silent” day a week, to work free of meetings or Slack interruptions
  • Employer pension contributions
  • Twenty-five days of leave in addition to UK public holidays
  • Free games from our friends in the industry
  • Optional multiplayer gaming and lunch-time hangouts (virtual, during the pandemic)
Remote Work

For the duration of the pandemic, we are working exclusively from home. If you join us, you will also begin as a remote worker. Even before the current circumstances, we had a number of team members who worked mostly or entirely remotely. It is likely we will eventually reopen an office in London. When office work resumes, you will have the option of joining us there or continuing to work from home.

You also don’t have to be in the UK, provided you can work our core hours: between 11:00 and 16:00 in the UK. We pay London salaries; whether that works in your favour will depend on your location.

Requirements (and Non-Essential Extras)

You don't need a particular degree, or an arbitrary number of years' experience or shipped titles to work for us. As long as you’re able to do the job well and can demonstrate that in your application, we’d love to hear from you.

Any of the following would be helpful, but they’re very much secondary and not required for you to apply:

  • Pre-existing familiarity with Fallen London
  • Comfort with game genres where the player reads a fair amount of on-screen text
  • Experience writing for interactive forms that go beyond branching narrative
  • Experience leading a team and managing staff

If you have a life experience or perspective that is not typically represented in video games, please feel free to tell us about that in your application as well.

How to apply

Contact us at by 3rd May 2020, including all of the following:

  • A CV.
  • The role you’re applying for, in the subject line of your email.
  • A cover letter in the body of your email. Please use this to let us know what makes you a good fit for the position and why it interests you.

Also, if you’re unsure whether to apply, we’ll be happy to answer questions – please email us at the above address.