Partner and Founder
What’s your story?
Ian is a writer, programmer, and narrative designer who’s handled interactivity and storytelling for a living for over two decades. He’s worked in interactive television, education, puppet-making, film, publishing, larp, and the games industry, and has contributed code, writing, or design to more than sixty games, including franchises from LittleBigPlanet to LEGO.
He founded Talespinners in 2016 with Giles Armstrong, and since then has written, consulted, and directed on over 40 titles, including as Story Lead on Frictional Games‘ next game.
Outside mainstream games, Ian’s work includes the Napoleonic horror movie Fallen Soldiers, the children’s Cthulhu book Where’s My Shoggoth?, the best-selling interactive story Pendragon Rising, and the podcast roleplaying series Flotsam.
He’s also written, designed, and directed for immersive larp experiences since the early 90s, most recently on titles such as the acclaimed ghost story God Rest Ye Merry, the Three Musketeers event All for One, and the World War II women’s airforce recreation Wing and Prayer.
Matt is a writer and editor. He has worked on games such as DICE’s Battlefield 1, Creative Assembly’s Total War: Rome II, Sega’s Binary Domain, and Ubisoft Reflections’ Driver San Francisco.
Alongside his work for Talespinners, he is the Managing Editor of Improper Books, a comic and book publishing studio focused on creator-owned stories that have a touch of the fairy tale or otherworldly about them.
Before going freelance, he worked in creative services for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Originally a field archaeologist, he has worked on sites covering the Mesolithic to the Medieval throughout the United Kingdom.
Among other Talespinners projects, he’s currently lead writer on Lost Forest‘s Winter Hall.
Chris is a writer and game designer with over twenty years of game and software development experience. He has a background in the arts and a never-ending love affair with geek culture and has written for video games, comic books, and role-playing and board games.
Before Talespinners, he worked with studios such as Harebrained Schemes, Tap Tap Tap, Headless Chicken and One More Story. He’s best known as the creator of the award-winning game Mandatory Upgrade: X Marks the Spot.
For Talespinners, he’s worked on Depot, Raid: World War II and a number of unannounced titles.
He’s based in Toronto, Canada.
Cash is a narrative designer and writer, who formerly worked for Failbetter Games. In his time with the company, he worked on Sunless Sea: Zubmariner and Sunless Skies and acted as lead writer on Fallen London. He is also the lead writer and designer on the upcoming narrative adventure game, Over the Alps, which recently made its first public appearance as part of the EGX Rezzed Leftfield Collection.
He has been named one of the Top 100 Rising Stars of the UK Games Industry by GamesIndustry.Biz.
Before joining Talespinners, Cash worked as a freelancer for the company on such titles as Catastronauts.
Michelle is a writer and narrative designer based in Vancouver, BC. Co-founder and chair of the IGDA Romance and Sexuality SIG, she has spoken about male sexualization and healthy, diverse fanservice at multiple conferences, including Queerness and Games, PAX Dev, and the GDC Narrative Summit. Her credits include QA for Mass Effect 3, senior writer/editor for the adventure dating sim 1931: Scheherazade at the Library of Pergamum, and current work in sci-fi RPGs, mobile interactive fiction and VR experiences.
Michelle was lead editor on Purrfect Date.
Part writer, part performer, part games journalist and part corporate mouthpiece, Jason has been connecting words into meaningful sequences for the better part of two decades. He’s worked on marketing for games such as Ratchet & Clank and Killzone, scripts and taglines for Nokia and Microsoft, and even finds time to write his own stories and roleplaying adventures. He also likes to act and do the odd voiceover now and again.
Rachel has designed, organised, and written live events for over twenty years, including critically-acclaimed games such as the ghost story God Rest Ye Merry, the horror Slaght Maand, and the pulp action-adventure Dick Britton and the Voice of the Seraph. She is a founder member of Crooked House.
When not working with Talespinners, Rachel is a photographer, and practising veterinary surgeon.
Giles co-founded Talespinners with Ian in 2016, and in his time with us worked on over 25 titles. He was the lead writer on Bloody Zombies, developed by Paw Print Games, and on The Spectrum Retreat by Dan Smith Studios and Ripstone.
Giles left Talespinners to join Guerilla Games as a Senior Writer in July 2018, and we can’t wait to see what he produces! He’s still a friend and advisor to the company, and will forever be a Talespinner.
We work with a wide range of external writers, with specialists in genre, medium, but also in particular topics. Along with games writers, we have award-winning authors, comic book writers, screenwriters, copywriters and editors on our books. Let us know if you’re looking for something in particular.
We run a mentorship programme to help up-and-coming games writers produce portfolio pieces.
About: Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, I strongly believe that anything can be deep-fried. I have a B.A. in Interactive Entertainment, an M.F.A. in Writing for Screen & Television from the University of Southern California, and a lot of theories about misunderstood Star Wars villain Elan Sleazebaggano.
The Programme: As an aspiring video game writer, I would like to create an interactive story that will help strengthen my portfolio.
The Project: When her best friend is murdered and she’s targeted next, Ash must break into the memories of her estranged friends to determined which one is the killer.
About: I am a 22 year old freelance writer and blogger from Montreal who has a degree in literature. When I’m not drowning myself in coffee and working on my manuscript, I’m probably slaying something on Final Fantasy or exploring a tomb with Lara Croft.
The Programme: Working under Talespinners, I hope to gain some insight into the game industry as well as how I can make my project ‘Beneath The Bluest Sea’ become a polished stand-out piece of my portfolio!
The Project: Roan, a human child born in a world of turbulent storms and Blue, a river-spirit stuck in a scorching desert, are thrown together as unlikely friends in a quest to save their parallel worlds from total destruction.
About: As a fan of interactive narratives and unique games, I am always looking for ways to combine these two interests together.
Progress: Check out Kelly’s write-up on the mentorship programme here.
The Project: As part of the mentorship programme Kelly created the interactive fiction piece The Dinner Party. You can play it here!
About: I’m a Danish/Swedish academic researcher specialising in Viking Age runes and medieval manuscripts. My main claim to fame in the games industry so far has been translating Harald Hardrada’s lines into Old Norse for Civilization VI.
Progress: Check out Maja’s write-up on the mentorship programme here.
The Project: As part of the mentorship programme Maja created the interactive fiction piece Pilgrimage. You can play it here!
Talespinners quickly grasped our concept and were immediately able to work it into a captivating and inspirational story. Whenever an issue with the narrative came up, Talespinners were always quick to respond and promptly came up with solutions.
Mostafa Hafez CEO, Instinct Games
It was a pleasure working with Ian on The Bunker, he has an expert eye for game design detail and an incredible talent for bringing real humanity to storylines. His logic in game narrative structure is flawless and he brought an amazing attention to detail to The Bunker, providing layer after layer of storytelling, making the game richer and more immersive.
Allan Plenderleith Director, Splendy Games
When you develop a game, you need a great writing team, and that is where Talespinners are indispensable. They are able to take your ideas and create whole worlds with them. From the initial idea all the way to final delivery, I wouldn't trust any other wordsmiths.
Mark Drew CEO, Villainous Games
Decisively creative. Insightfully articulate. Committed to the craft. For example, Ian’s recent advice decisively reshaped our critical opening narrative moments to make them deeply affecting... [Talespinners] are consistently responsible, reliable, and efficient.
Luke Hughes Project Lead, Burden of Command
Talespinners have been wonderful to work with; enthusiastic, imaginative, and organised. I thoroughly enjoyed our story meetings. They’ve delivered excellent dialogue and plenty of strong ideas that have lifted our narrative, and spotted story problems early that might have resulted in wasted work. Even if you have a good handle on your story, I would recommend bouncing your ideas off Talespinners – they’ll come back even better.
Chris Payne Managing Director, Quantum Soup
What we achieved in a day really impressed us! Talespinners helped us to clarify and amplify our own ideas, bringing them into a clearer structure...We see the workshop and the document that summarises the results as a big success.
Lea Schönfelder Senior Game Designer, ustwo Games
Being just a two-person studio, working with Talespinners has been invaluable to us. From brief to delivery they're professional, friendly and punctual. It's reassuring to know that we can rely on them to create high-quality writing that adds an extra dimension to our game, allowing us to focus on the art and code.
Dave Miller Co-owner, Runner Duck Games
We had a rough and sprawling story and lore for The Exiled that organically developed over years of development. Ian came and turned that chaos into a structured and coherent document, in the course solving the many logical problems and inconsistencies that had developed. With tiny amounts oversight and feedback from our side he came up with an interesting lore and turned that lore into engaging words. Will work with him again on future projects.
Alexander Zacherl Managing Director / Game Director, Fairytale Distillery
Ian doesn’t just do the job you give him. He brings new ideas, new approaches and directions, and pulls, sculpts and batters your ideas until they look far shinier than they ever were - or would have been – without him. He is an excellent writer, coder, and logical mind that will help you and your project in far more ways than what is written on any contract or agreement.
Olly Bennett Managing Director, Cardboard Sword
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