The Writers' Guild of Great Britain has awarded its 2017 prize for best writing in a videogame to Virginia, Variable State's tale of FBI agents investigating the disappearance of a young boy in the town of Kingdom, Virginia. The game, written by Jonathan Burroughs, Lyndon Holland, and Terry Kenny, beat out FIFA 17: The Journey, by Martin Korda, Matthew Turner, and Tom Watt, and Fragments of Him, by Mata Haggis, to claim the top honor.
What makes the win especially interesting is that Virginia is a silent game, "without a single line of dialog," as we noted in our review. "No one, including protagonist Anne Tarver, utters a single word." Despite that, "perhaps its greatest accomplishment is how, with a completely silent narrative, its cast is somehow more interesting than characters from other games who have thousands of lines of dialogue."
And of course, it was written: Silent or not, this stuff doesn't just magically appear out of thin air. The fact that Virginia was able to so effectively spin its X-Files-flavored early-'90s detective story without relying on chatty characters or expositional asides speaks very highly of its writers' efforts. And the WGGB isn't the only organization to think so. Virginia also leads the pack at this year's IGF Awards, with four nominations including, unsurprisingly, Excellence in Narration.
It's also fun, in a purely academic sense, to compare the Writers' Guild of Great Britain's nominees for best game writing with those of the Writers Guild of America, which has Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Far Cry Primal, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, and the mobile game MR. ROBOT 1.51exfiltratiOn competing for the prize. The WGA award winners will be announced in February.