I've been writing and designing video game stories for 15 years. While most of my experience is in genre-heavy action games, it’s the intersection of fantasy, design and process that actually gets me going. That’s why video games have always been my focus – no other medium is as challenging or rewarding to write.
On this Electronic Arts mobile project, I designed new story features, developed seasonal narratives, and wrote dialogue for in-game experiences. I also collaborated with map designers, product managers, and artists to fill out our seasonal content offerings.
I was very excited about this opportunity because, even though the game was chiefly a PVP shooter, the studio was really interested in narrative innovation on mobile. I got to design some very interactive meta-narrative features.
"Jeffrey is a standout writer and narrative designer of games. He truly loves the medium. I’ve worked with writers in the past who were somewhat distant from the underpinnings of game development…. not Jeffrey. He is a true gamer and that passion exemplifies his understandng of the core motivations of a player. "
Mataio Gardi | Producer @ Electronic Arts
"If I were looking to hire a writer, he would be at the top of my list."
Rudy Mankovits | Director of Production @ Skybox Labs
"I can honestly say Jeff is the best writer I’ve worked with in my 25 years in games. He is rare in the industry because he truly loves games and game development. He understands that to make a great story he needs to work with art, design and production to achieve this goal. He was a valued and respected member of the team. "
Bryce Cochrane | CD @ Supernatural Studios
For this Kickstarter mega-success, I wrote thousands of lines of on-screen character dialogue to support the stress/affliction feature. I also aided the studio with developing the heroes' personalities and characteristics.
Years after release, I still see fan art and memes referencing the heroes' crazed shouting and unique catchphrases.
"When the Vestal, an acolyte of a Roman goddess of purifying fire, became racked with fear, she would cry out for her god’s protection in the darkness. I love that Darkest Dungeon takes inspiration from so many sources, yet uses all of those pieces to create character classes that serve a clever, foreboding fiction."
"It's morbid, but not without a sense of dark glee, balancing a world that makes Diablo's look like Center Parcs with a presentation that makes it fun to explore. The snarling character portraits. The deliciously hammy narration. The increasingly insane hollerings from your team as they go from variably heroic hopefuls to broken husks."
When I joined Dead Rising 4, Capcom Vancouver wasn't confident with the state of their story. I rewrote the plot in four weeks and then stuck it out for all the mission rewrites, voice acting, and mocap.
This is my favourite project I've ever worked on. Capcom let me really own the narrative, and I got to make the wild, funny, heartfelt story that I thought Dead Rising needed. And the press loved it too. So, bonus.
"For a game that's all about mindless zombie murder, the storytelling is remarkably adept. Frank and Vick's relationship feels nuanced and believable. The central mystery consistently metes out new clues that keep the plot intriguing and the action meaningful. And though Frank isn't always likable, he's frequently relatable and entertaining, spouting goofy, smart-assed quips at every opportunity.
There's also a coherent personality that binds every aspect of the experience together. From the dark, satirical humor of the collectible journals to the jaunty holiday music that plays over the pause screen, Dead Rising's juxtaposition of slaughter and silliness makes for a memorable world."
On this Activision/Radical project, I swooped in as the lead story designer and helped them identify weak spots in the overall narrative and mission blueprint. In the end, I rewrote many sequences myself and managed a team of two other full-time writers. It was a big, bombastic, silly story, and I loved it.
"He spearheaded a major narrative pivot under difficult conditions, to great success. Jeff is also not precious about cinematics and other traditional narrative. His priority is integrating the story into the game."
Phillip Boule | Principal Designer @ Relic Entertainment
"His powerpoint presentations are the stuff of legend. He can tell you the story he's written, and I promise you'll come out of the meeting with a crystal clear picture of what the game can be."
Geoff Coates | Creative Director @ Timbre Games
As a senior writer on this fifth entry in the DX Universe, I contributed material for all aspects of the narrative: story development, cinematics, AI narrative designs, faction concepts, character profiles, loads of location names, and I managed a team of six that wrote over 80,000 lines of NPC barks.
My favourite work was researching and writing all the content for Adam's complex weapons and cybertech. I did this in collaboration with a legit implant engineer who acted as consultant. This was really exciting to me because, at my core, I'm a sci-fi nerd.
"Jeff combines an encyclopedic knowledge of games with a relentless work ethic and high quality writing skills to form a pretty perfect package. He's a unicorn with a blood-dripping horn!"
Paul O'Connor| Studio Director @ Supernatural Studios
"Jeffrey owns the process, working closely with designers, artists, animators, actors and project managers to ensure that his vision is being executed to the right balance of quality versus schedule."
Matt Armstrong | Creative Director @ Electronic Arts
He played our game a lot, and in a variety of different ways to see that the dialog was appropriate in each instance. That helped to make a better game and one with some really memorable lines.
Paul Pawlicki | Senior Dev Director @ Codemasters
Jeff has the conviction to forcefully, but respectfully, voice unpopular opinions. That conviction was always backed up by a desire to work collaboratively to balance gameplay, story and production.
John Howard | Princ. Product Manager @ Amazon