From Pixel to Paper: From Videogame to Novel

From Pixel to Paper: From Videogame to Novel


We had the opportunity to talk to Tricia Pasternak, Editorial Director at Del Ray Books. This special imprint of Random House publishes the Star Wars Novels, as well as recent Rage and Resistance novels.

There is no denying it - videogames are often as fun to read as they are to play. Most gamers are familiar with the best-selling Halo novels, but the great adaptations don’t stop there. Every franchise from Gears of War to Uncharted is getting into the business with great results.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Tricia Pasternak, Editorial Director at Del Ray Books. Not familiar with them? This special imprint of Random House publishes the Star Wars Novels, as well as recent Rage and Resistance novels. Read on below to find out exactly how your favorite game reaches the printed page, and what upcoming hit game will become a hit novel. Your head will hit the rim of the sky when you find out.

Hooked Gamers: You work with Del Ray to get these videogames out there in a different form. How do you decide which videogames to publish? Do you go to the game companies themselves and say, ‘Hey, We have an author who’s going to write something’? Or do they come to you?

Tricia Pasternak: It’s a little of both. We have very strong relationships with a number of game companies, and they’ll approach us with the properties they’re really excited about. We’ll talk to them about story possibilities because for us choosing a game property means beginning with the story, what has a great world, great characters that we know fans will want to return to and learn more about.

Hooked Gamers: Once you’ve decided to work with a game company, how do you begin?

Tricia Pasternak: We begin by talking to our stable of fantastic authors; we are lucky to have a number of talented authors we work with on a regular basis. We think about who is the best match for the property, and the game company and the creators have the final say over who that writer is. Then we make the introduction and that’s when the creative discussion of the story begins.

Hooked Gamers: Once an author is selected, is he (or she) required to play through the entire game?

Tricia Pasternak: Required, well that’s wonderful homework to have {laughs}. So yes, we always get them a copy of the game or he sometimes goes to the game studio to play through the game. We’ll get scripts, concept art, anything that he needs to fully immerse himself in the world of the game.

Hooked Gamers: Speaking of scripts and concept art, how closely does the author work with the writers of the original game?

Tricia Pasternak: Extremely closely. The story conference always begins with a conversation between the author and the game’s creator. Every step of the way the creator is involved. They have approval over the outline, over the manuscript; it’s a conversation that goes on through the entire development process.

Hooked Gamers: Obviously in a book you can go a lot more in-depth than you can with a videogame. Who decides these new details that can often become canon for the franchise?

Tricia Pasternak: It begins with the writer having a fantastic idea, running it by the creators, and they’ll collaborate, throw the idea, develop it. So again it’s all part of the creative process.

Hooked Gamers: Could you walk us through the steps once a script is finished?

Tricia Pasternak: Once the manuscript is finished and the creator has approved every single detail and they’re happy with it, that’s when we go to production.

Hooked Gamers: Has it ever worked the other way around, in which you write a really good novel and you find people who want to turn it into a videogame?

Tricia Pasternak: Unfortunately no, it doesn’t work that way because of the rights situation.

Hooked Gamers: Final question, are there any new videogames that you are turning into novels that you’d like to spotlight for our community?

Tricia Pasternak: We’re most excited about our Uncharted novel which is out in stores now, and coming out soon is an Elder Scrolls novel that ties directly into Skyrim.