Character Development and Storytelling for Games  book cover
3rd Edition

Character Development and Storytelling for Games

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 18, 2022
ISBN 9780367248987
November 18, 2022 Forthcoming by CRC Press
416 Pages 55 Color & 41 B/W Illustrations

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USD $59.95

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Book Description

This is the third edition of Character Development and Storytelling for Games, a standard work in the field that brings up to date all of the teaching from the first two books and tackles the new challenges of today. Professional game writer and designer, Lee Sheldon, combines his experience and expertise in this updated edition. New examples, new game types, and new challenges throughout the text highlight the fundamentals of character writing and storytelling.

But this book is not just a box of techniques for writers of video games. It is an exploration of the roots of character development and storytelling that readers can trace from Homer to Chaucer to Cervantes to Dickens and even Mozart. Many contemporary writers also contribute insights from books, plays, television, films, and yes, games.


Sheldon and his contributors emphasize the importance of creative instinct and listening to the inner voice that guides successful game writers and designers. Join him on his quest to instruct, inform, and maybe even inspire your next great game.

Table of Contents






Part One – Background

Chapter 1 Myths and Equations

Chapter 2 The Story Remains the Same

Part Two – Creating Characters

Chapter 3 – Respecting Characters

Chapter 4 - Character Roles

Chapter 5 – Character Traits

Chapter 6 – Character Encounters

Part Three – Telling the Story

Chapter 7 – Once Upon a Time

Chapter 8 – Respecting Story

Chapter 9 – Bringing the Story to Life

Chapter 10 – Games: Charting New Territory

Chapter 11 – Story Anatomy

Chapter 12 – Editing

Chapter 13 – The Roots of a New Storytelling

Chapter 14 – Modular Storytelling

Part 4 - Games People Play Today

Chapter 15 – Game Types

Chapter 16 – Game Genres

Chapter 17 – Storytelling in Virtual Worlds

Chapter 18 – Storytelling in Small Games

Chapter 19 – Storytelling in Applied Games

Part 5 – Reflections

Chapter 20 – Postlude: Endgame

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Lee Sheldon began his writing career in television as a writer-producer, eventually writing over 200 shows ranging from Charlie’s Angels (writer) to Edge of Night (head writer) to Star Trek: The Next Generation (writer-producer). Having written and designed over forty commercial and applied video games, Lee spearheaded the first full writing for games concentration in North America at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the second writing concentration in North America at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The second edition of his book, The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game, was published by CRC Press in March 2020. The second edition continues the story of multiplayer classrooms from elementary schools to post-secondary classrooms, designed and taught by Lee and sixteen other educators.

A companion book, The Multiplayer Classroom: Game Plans, was published by CRC Press in March 2021. Complete with design documents and associated production materials, the book covers in detail four multiplayer classroom projects, funded by grants or institutions and played in the real world in real time to teach and entertain. They were collaborations between Lee, as writer/designer, and subject matter experts in various fields. They are written to be accessible to anyone--designer, educator, student or layperson--interested in game-based learning. The subjects are increasingly relevant in this day and age: physical fitness, Mandarin, cybersecurity, and especially an online class exploring culture and identity on the internet.

This third edition of Lee’s book, Character Development and Storytelling for Games, is a standard text in the field. He is a regular lecturer and consultant on game design and writing in the U.S. and abroad. His most recent commercial game, the award-winning The Lion’s Song, is currently on Steam. Recently he was a consultant on an "escape room in a box," funded by NASA, that gives visitors to hundreds of science museums and planetariums the opportunity to play colonizers on the moon. He is currently narrative designer on a new game for Microids that is his second adaptation of one of the best-selling mystery novels of all time.