It’s been an exciting six months! We’ve reorganised the company, and we’ve travelled across the globe, working on console titles, escape rooms, large-scale VR, PC, mobile, print work… we’ve been busy! So, without further ado:
Talespinners has transformed completely over the last few months. Ian and Giles ran the company as a partnership; now, our core team has expanded into a cooperative of freelance writers and narrative designers, all sharing the responsibility equally.
This is an important move for us, but one that builds on the spirit of why we founded Talespinners in the first place; the acknowledgement that freelancing can be both tough and lonely, and that we’re stronger together.
There has been – and quite rightly so – a lot of discussion about unionisation in the games industry of late. As a cooperative of freelancers, we gain some of the benefits of such unionisation by looking out for each other. It allows us to have more weight when it comes to legal and financial matters, but also empowers us to pool our resources, both time and money, so that we can give back to the industry, whether that is via running mentorship schemes or sponsoring events, such as AdventureX in London this weekend.
It also lets us pass on a range of benefits to our clients too, while allowing them to draw upon a team of writers who have different talents, specialisms, and interests. These benefits include the ability to quickly and easily scale the number of writers involved in a project, as well as giving us peers who we can turn to for a second opinion to both check and push the quality of our writing. It also offers more practical benefits, such as sick cover, etc.
In short, Talespinners becoming a cooperative improves what we can offer via our writing, narrative design, workshops, and consultancy on games, by working together and lifting everyone up.
We’ve waved a fond farewell to Giles Armstrong, who’s taken on the role of Senior Writer at Guerilla Games in Amsterdam. In his place, our core team has expanded to include Matt Gibbs, based in Bristol; Chris Tihor, based in Toronto; and Cash DeCuir, based in Milton Keynes. Each of them brings a wealth of talent and experience to the company – and what’s more, we’re now technically a multinational!
Two titles we have worked on have been released: My Child Lebensborn by Sarepta Studios (which was The Guardian‘s Game of the Month), and the wonderful Catastronauts by Inertia Game Studios. We were also very pleased to see Dan Smith‘s The Spectrum Retreat come out on Switch.
We’ve been running story workshops for companies across Europe, including another title for UsTwo Games in London, a workshop on Tellicherry‘s The Cabin in Oslo, and in Berlin for Studio Fizbin‘s new title.
This is alongside our ongoing work on Mosaic; The Siege and the Sandfox; Winter Hall; a new title from Frictional Games; plus many more we can’t yet reveal. It’s been fascinating to see our project list branch out into escape rooms, AR, VR, TV, live events, marketing puzzles, immersive experiences, and hybrids that combine elements from all of these. It’s an exciting time for storytellers!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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