Meet Colin Harvey, Senior Narrative Designer on the VR team!

09/07/2019

How did you start at London Studio?

I joined in 2017 as Senior Narrative Designer, through an agency. I’d just finished a two year stint at Rebellion working on various franchises including Sniper Elite and Strange Brigade.

What does your role entail?

Okay, deep breath:

I write all the supporting game documentation – character biographies, story bible, treatments, etc. I’m responsible for outlining, in conjunction with a lot of other people – the overall narrative structure, the plot and characters. In the case of Blood and Truth, I co-wrote the screenplay and wrote a lot of the in-game dialogue, including about half the Barks (the things the enemies shout at you). I also update the localisation database. I write marketing copy where appropriate, including trailer scripts. I also undertake some voice performance direction. I attend read-throughs, workshopping sessions with actors and motion-capture shoots, incorporating changes along the way. Because this is a heavily collaborative medium, I’m constantly incorporating ideas from across the team.

What do you find most exciting about your work here?

Definitely the motion-capture shoots. There’s a massive buzz involved in watching the actors bring the characters to life. I also like the story planning process – working out what will and won’t work in the VR medium is very challenging but also very rewarding.

What has your career path looked like over the years?

My game development career kicked off in 2002 when I started freelancing for Team Soho (the year they became the now London Studio!) and simultaneously writing for gaming magazines like Edge and Retrogamer. (I was a commissioned writer long before that, though, working for The Guardian and BBC Light Entertainment).

Over four years I was involved in pitching ideas for The Getaway 2 and the ‘lost classic’ Eight Days. In 2006 a gothic-themed short story I wrote won the first national Pulp Idol award, jointly conferred by SFX Magazine and Gollancz Books. From there I was asked to write licensed Doctor Who and Highlander spinoff fiction for the British company Big Finish. In fact, I’ve worked on a few licenses over the years, including Judge Dredd and The Black Bat (a pulp hero that emerged at the same time as Batman).

From 2001 to 2011 I taught game writing and creative writing courses at London South Bank University and undertook a PhD with the University of East London exploring the interrelationship of storytelling and playing in video games (that was awarded in 2009). As well as working on Rebellion’s video games, I also wrote for their publishing imprint Abaddon Books and for galaxy’s greatest comic, 2000AD. My non-fiction book about science fiction and fantasy cross media franchises called Fantastic Transmedia was published by Macmillan in 2015.

What is it like to work in the heart of central London?

I love it. I live in South London so it’s an easy commute, and I walk up from Charing Cross. If you’re interested in stories then it’s perfect to be in a place where there’s a lot of hustle and bustle, a lot of people to watch.

If you could describe London Studio in a few words, what would they be?

Cutting edge, witty, clever and committed to pioneering a new medium.

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