Freelance video game writing has risen considerably over the past two decades. With the growth of the gaming industry into a gargantuan $120 billion/year beast, it’s no wonder! There’s plenty of ground to cover, between games journalism, scriptwriting, reviews, social media, copywriting, and more. If anything, enterprising freelance video game writers have more opportunities than ever before. If you’re an avid gamer, you may have just finally found your Bigfoot: a way to mix work and pleasure.
And gaming writing is no second-rate job either. While it is still a fairly new niche, there are many success stories you can draw inspiration from, as well as quite a variety of jobs. You don’t have to settle for one meager specialization if that’s not your game. Let’s take a look at some of the freelance video game writing gigs you can embark on:
- Journalist (with different branches, like trade shows, news, tech reviews, and guides, etc.)
- Review Writer
- Guide Writer
- Social Media Writer
As you can see, the business is a fertile breeding ground for all kinds of interesting jobs. You can try your hand at several of these simultaneously, or embrace your passion and find your calling. Through the course of this article, I’ll describe each job in detail, and let you in on where to find writing opportunities. Whether you’re a new freelance video game writer or looking for a freelance video game writer for hire, you’ve come to the right place.
First, let’s get the broad definitions out of the way:
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What is Freelance Video Game Writing?
It’s a broad umbrella term with various categories, as you’ve seen. In broad strokes, we’re talking about an unaffiliated writer (ie: working for themselves; independent) who works on subjects in or related to the video game industry. Simple enough, isn’t it?
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of video game writing jobs where you can be employed by a single company. In fact, they abound right now; just get on Glassdoor to see how booming demand is. There’s work in every category, and game companies are more willing to offer remote positions than ever before — they were always ahead of the curve on that front. After events like the COVID-19 outbreak, your chances of working from home are even bigger.
But, if you go down that route, you’d probably be missing out on some great perks from the freelance life. To wit:
- Freedom. You’re your own boss, and you don’t have to do work you don’t feel comfortable or happy doing. There’s always something else around the corner, or you could always renegotiate. There’s no need to be tied to a single location; work where you want, when you want.
- Flexibility. Set your own hours, achieve a healthy work/life balance, get out of the careerist mindset. If the rat race’s not for you, then you don’t have to pretend it is. You can live as large or as lean as you see fit, and there’s no one to tell you any different. You set your goals.
- Set your value. Did you think there was no money in the freelance lifestyle? Think again! As you make new clients and grow your freelance video game writing resume, you’ll access better-paying, more satisfying jobs.
If you’ve got the guts, the lifestyle’s there for the taking.
Freelance Video Game Writing Jobs
Now’s where we get down to the nitty-gritty. If you feel like you’ve got the drive and the passion to become a freelance video game writer, here are some of the jobs you could tackle.
It may not be the most glamorous, but someone’s gotta do it. If writing attractive, punchy sales pitches is your thing, then the gaming industry’s got need of you, my friend. Gaming is always selling the newest, trendiest console, accessory, gadget, or game. And the cycle is constantly repeating itself, so work never dries up. There’s always a product description, game manual, or social media marketing strategy to head, and gaming never sleeps.
But, aside from this ancillary work, a gaming copywriter may also write in-game texts. Think stuff like some tutorials, in-game signs, descriptions, etc. It may not be the flashiest, but you bet it’s always in demand.
Social Media Writer
This role frequently overlaps with the copywriter. It’s, in a nutshell, the mix of customer relations, creation of ongoing hype cycles, and keeping consumers on the up and up. You’ll be the visible face of a company or a news outlet, always pumping out updates and interesting information. You’ll have to do it in a tireless, positive, and customer-facing way every step of the way.
If you’re a people person, this may be the freelance video game writing gig for you. These days, it all starts with having a strong social media presence, and you could be at the head of that strategy.
Some hardcore gamers just love finding out every little nook and cranny in their chosen game. They will just not stop until they’ve found every last secret, or mastered every boss to perfection. If you’re one of these, then you might find that guide writing is for you. After all, the rest of us mortals sometimes need a little help nudging us along the right path, or finding the right strategy for a tricky section. As we transition into busier and busier lifestyles, sometimes the burden of getting good at a game can make us throw in the towel.
If it weren’t for the brave (and awesome) guide writers out there, many gamers would never see the end of some great stories. It’s a good thing we’ve got a helping hand when we most need it.
The gaming industry’s in a constant state of ebb and flow. We all need game journalists to reach within that confusing data stream and make the news legible to us busy folk. That could be your job if you’re up for it, and there’s always almost too much to handle. Everybody wants the news, 24/7, and there are minute-by-minute developments just begging to be shared with the public.
This is also one of the jobs with the most variety, a nesting doll of niche within a niche within a niche. You see, game journalists can perform a wide range of tasks. Here are some of the most popular you could consider:
- News reporting – Keep gamers on the up and up. This could mean anything from reporting on the latest Twitter feud, to actually attending a trade show like E3, Gamescom, or TGS.
- Tech reviews and reporting – Review the latest tech, or perform in-depth performance reports and comparisons like Digital Foundry.
- Essays, op-eds, analyses – It’s not all just about the news. Sometimes we need to think deeper about the social, political, philosophical, or moral implications of video games. They’re an art form as valid as any other, and they provide as much grist for the mill as anything when it comes to detailed analysis.
There’s plenty more, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to specialization. A freelance video game writer can make a name for themselves by being a game journalist.
Now that’s what we’re talking about! This may seem like the no-brainer out of the bunch but bear with me. Being a video game reviewer has some responsibilities associated with it that may not be immediately apparent. At first, it may seem like all you’d do is sit on your rear end all day while playing video games. Then, at the end of a multi-day binge, you’d just write out your thoughts about it, and you’re good to go! Only, it’s significantly more complicated than that.
For one, video game reviewers owe a certain debt to their audience. For starters, they have to be skilled enough to complete the game they set out to review, or at least engage with it significantly. There was plenty of brouhaha about games journalists complaining about the difficulty of Sekiro, one of From Software’s latest (and hardest) titles. Some games may challenge your skills as a gamer to the breaking point. Others may be tedious, plodding, overlong, or you may simply not like them. While finishing them may not always be possible, you still have to have a fair go at them.
As a games reviewer, you owe your audience to give as unbiased, in-depth a take of your time with the game as possible. This means doing your best to finish the game, as well as understanding it mechanically, thematically, and within its largest context in the world of gaming and art. If that seems like it’s your thing, then this may be the freelance video game writing gig for you. It’s one of the categories that give the most creative leeway when it comes to style as well. You can write how you want, and feel.
Be forewarned, though: reviewing games comes with perils, responsibility, and a ton of scrutiny. You will be held accountable for your opinions, and the Internet’s an unforgiving mistress. But, if you manage to make a good reputation for yourself, gamers will come to you for information and entertainment alike.
This is another highly-sought-after job. After all, you could be the next Chris Avellone, writing the next best “games as art” candidate. But, even if you don’t have such lofty ambitions, it could be said that scriptwriting is where it’s at for the most creative souls out there.
After all, someone needs to map out the storyline, write the dialogue for player characters and NPCs, and to write an interesting, engaging plot. It also goes without saying that there’s plenty of variety to be had. RPGs, Sci-fi, military games, strategy, fantasy, horror, adventure — there’s no limit to the number of genres you’ll be tackling.
And scriptwriting comes in various forms as well. Sometimes you’ll be working by yourself, busting your head to create an engaging, believable world; others you’ll be liaising with a group of equally-minded writers as part of a team; others you’ll be working as an editor, proofreading others’ content, and making sure that their work has structural and thematic integrity; in some cases, you might be tasked with approaching a particular aspect of production, like writing dialogue.
There’s plenty of work to go around here. This is one freelance video game writing well that never dries up.
Sounds Good — How Do I Get in on This?
Thankfully, the internet has opened up several avenues where you can reliably find freelance video game writers for hire. And, the good thing is that these platforms work both ways — if you’re looking to get into freelance video game writing, there’s plenty of work up as well!
The main draw with being (or hiring) a Bunny Pro is that they’re part of a curated, vetted list. You can find pros that have made video game freelance writing their niche, and procure their high-quality services. Or, if you’re a writer looking to get started and have got the goods, it could be a way to finally start making a name for yourself in the… game writing game (heh). After all, the part that many aspiring pros struggle with is getting their foot in the door. Once you start building your freelance video game writing resume, it’s off to the races!
So, are you looking to finally give that new lifestyle a chance? Are you an avid gamer that relishes the opportunity to combine your penchant for beating bosses with having no bosses? Then you’ve found the right career path, my friend. When you decide to go from amateur to pro player, we’ll be waiting.