Virginia wins the Writers' Guild of Great Britain's prize for best game writing

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. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.