Talespinners: State of the Nation November 2018

November 7, 2018 by
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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:

The Company

All Change

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.

A Farewell and A Welcome

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!

Recent Work and Announcements

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 announced our work on Cryptant for Orcari Games, an unannounced title for Paper Seven, and a large-scale VR title for DIVR Labs.

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!

Other News

  • We were nominated for a Develop Award (Best Creative Outsourcer, Visual + Development). And we were very pleased that Runner Duck, whom we helped with Bomber Crew, picked up Develop’s New Studio award.
  • We are moving into offices in Cardiff, which open in November, as part of the fantastic new location for Arcade Vaults, a co-working space, café, retro arcade, and game dev education centre in a beautiful Edwardian shopping arcade right in the middle of the city.
  • We’ve become full members of UKIE. UKIE has been championing the games development industry for years, and we’ve always found them extremely supportive, so we thought it was time to give something back.
  • Our mentorship programme is continuing and we hope to be showing off results from the first intake in the next couple of months.
  • We’ve given a variety of lectures and talks; including a panel for Radio 1, teaching a university class in London, and keynote lectures on VR Storytelling and the role of writers in games.
  • We’ve been flying across the world to conferences and games shows, including a very successful Gamescom, where we were part of the Welsh trade mission, and EGX, EGLX, and Develop. And for the second year running, we’re sponsoring AdventureX. We’d love to see you there!

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