Senior Writer / Narrative Content Designer

Failbetter Games
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This position has been closed.
January 26, 2022
Full Time

We’re Failbetter Games, makers of Sunless Skies, Sunless Sea and Fallen London. We’re known for inventive narrative design and rich, atmospheric storytelling.

We’re looking for an experienced writer and narrative designer to join our award-winning in-house writing team. This is a permanent, full-time position, which for us means 35 hours a week.

Duties of this role include:

  • Pitching story arcs and contributing to content planning
  • Writing a wider range of content than the typical game franchise allows
  • Using mechanics to support story, themes, and the desired play experience
  • Implementing stories using ink, and also sometimes other in-house tools
  • Offering feedback on work by other writers and participating in writer’s rooms
  • Providing visual briefs for artists

What ‘Writer’ Means Here

Failbetter’s games feature dense, dynamic stories where the player’s choices can significantly shape outcomes. You would be writing dialogue, screenplay-style direction, and incidental text for a project in a new fantasy setting that has an extensive written narrative and is tonally somewhat gentler than our past work. We’d also look for you to both offer and receive feedback on theme, tone, and characterisation.

We aim to tell stories that are fundamentally truthful, and that respect the variety and dignity of human experience.

What ‘Narrative Content Designer’ Means Here

Unlike some narrative designer roles, this position does not require scripting, 3D level design, voice-over directing, or proficiency with a game engine such as Unity or Unreal. We will be working with Unity, but we can train you on the ways you’ll need to use it, and it will not be the primary focus of your work.

However, we are seeking someone who is interested in using mechanics as well as dialogue and art to tell stories. In our games, every narrative beat affects world state. We use mechanics to communicate risk, sacrifice, character development, and even the surrounding culture.

You’d be working alongside narrative systems designers who have laid the groundwork for our projects, but we’ll look to you to apply those systems effectively in your areas of the game.

What We Can Offer

We have a very experienced, very collaborative writing team. We talk a lot about what we’re doing, how, and why. We celebrate each other’s successes. We’d love to learn what you have to teach and to share our knowledge with you.

Failbetter is committed to offering employees a safe, respectful environment, a healthy work-life balance, and transparent decision-making. We make our games without crunch and enthusiastically eliminate systemic sources of overtime. We don’t talk over one another in meetings, and we don’t expect all our employees to share the same hobbies and cultural references. We won’s Best Places to Work award in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

Further benefits of working here include:

  • Flexi-time
  • One “silent” day a week, to work free of meetings or Slack interruptions
  • Employer pension contributions
  • Twenty-five days of leave in addition to UK public holidays
  • Free games from our friends in the industry
  • Optional multiplayer gaming and virtual hangouts
  • Periodic consultations in which we invite subject matter experts to teach us about topics relevant to our work
  • Remote Work

The entire company is remote, and we expect to remain that way.

We’re based in the UK but you don’t have to be, provided you can work our core hours: 11:00 to 16:00, UK time.

We typically find that this arrangement works best for people who live no more than three time zones away from the UK. If you think your personal circumstances might make you an exception, please explain why in your cover letter.

We pay London salaries; whether that works in your favour will depend on your location. In particular, this frequently means that our positions are not a good fit for people working from the United States, due to the differences in cost of living and health care.

Requirements (and Non-Essential Extras)

You don’t need a particular degree, or an arbitrary number of years’ experience or shipped titles to work for us. As long as you’re able to do the job well and can demonstrate that in your application, we’d love to hear from you.

Any of the following would be helpful, but they’re very much secondary and not required for you to apply:

  • Pre-existing familiarity with Fallen London
  • Comfort with game genres where the player reads a fair amount of on-screen text
  • Experience writing for interactive forms that go beyond branching narrative
  • Experience leading a team and managing staff

If you have a life experience or perspective that is not typically represented in video games, please feel free to tell us about that in your application as well.

How to apply

Contact us at by 9 AM UTC, Monday 7th February, including all of the following:

  • A CV.
  • The role you’re applying for, in the subject line of your email.
  • A cover letter in the body of your email. Please use this to let us know what makes you a good fit for the position and why it interests you. If your timezone is more than three hours away from the UK’s, please also tell us about any circumstances that would nonetheless make our core hours practical for you.

Also, if you’re unsure whether to apply, we’ll be happy to answer questions – please email us at the above address.

Our Recent and Upcoming Games

Mask of the Rose is a marvellous romance with a hint of murder. Lose your heart to a stolen city in this game of amorous intrigue! Seek love, for yourself or your friends. Help a murdered man find justice. And watch out for the bats.

SAIL THE STARS. BETRAY YOUR QUEEN. MURDER A SUN. Sunless Skies is a Gothic Horror roleplay game with a focus on exploration and exquisite storytelling.

LOSE YOUR MIND. EAT YOUR CREW. Take the helm of your steamship and set sail for the unknown! Sunless Sea is a game of discovery, loneliness and frequent death, set in the award-winning Victorian Gothic universe of Fallen London.

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