The Writers Guild of America, or WGA, has hosted an award show every February for over fifty years to showcase some of the best writing in film, tv, and radio. Since 2008, the awards have also honoured the video game industry with a writing award. While there was only ever just one Video Game Writing award category, it was always a respectful nod to the time and effort put in by video game narrative teams to create immersive, detailed stories.
However, the WGA will not be honouring the games industry in 2020. According to the Hollywood Reporter:
“There won’t be a Videogame Writing Award in 2020. However, the category will be reinstated when there is a critical mass of video games covered by the WGA in order to provide a meaningful award selection process.” The Hollywood Reporter
That report is further supported by the lack of a video game submission category on the WGA Award website. Submissions are open “for all categories” which include original and adapted screenplays, drama, comedy, and new series, TV-radio/audio-new media scripts, documentaries, and nominees for the Paul Selvin Award.
The WGA has not clarified their stance on the snub. While 2019 was not gaming’s best year, there were still quite a few games that took massive narrative risks and told original stories with immense attention to detail. The immediate standouts for 2019 include Life is Strange 2, Control, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Warsaw. There are also a ton of games releasing this month that could make the cut. So the decision to cut gaming from the 2020 awards seems baffling. However, game narrative awards will continue to exist in the mainstream thanks to the BAFTA Games Awards and The Game Awards.
The 2019 WGA Award for Video Game Writing went to Sony Santa Monica’s Matt Sophos, Richard Zangrande Gaubert, and Cory Barlog for God of War. Other nominees for the 2019 award included Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Batman: The Enemy Within, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. Other notable winners of the WGA Award include Horizon: Zero Dawn and The Last of Us.