Friday, September 7, 2012

Sacrifices Were Made

Today, we're going to talk about the Surviving High School update and novel release! It might take you a couple of hours to play through the update, but the writers work for months to brainstorm, write, and edit that content. M Doty sat down with Lilly to talk about how she and the writing team got through the frantic two months of writing the huge new Season 1 for Surviving High School and promoting the book's launch.

Emily makes the jump to the real world.

MD: I wasn't involved in the actual writing for the update, but I saw how hard everyone was working in the office. Can you talk a little about what it was like so fans can understand what really went into getting this huge drop of free content out?

L: It was a really intense time for the team. We knew we wanted to time it with the release of the novel so people could read the book and the come back to this new, rebooted world. But we were really locked into the publication date, so we knew we were going to be working night and day to hit that deadline. I would spend the day writing content and then doing passes on other writers' work at night so the next day the feedback would be there for them to put in. It was really common to see everyone up at midnight still hard at work. I love being a part of such a passionate team--it's what makes it so fun to work on this product, but it also means that we all really care about making the final product as good as we can make it.

MD: You mentioned that everyone was working hard on the update. Does it ever get hard to have multiple writers working on the same product?

L: Definitely. When we write something huge like a new mega pack, we usually have multiple writers working on it at the same time, and that requires an incredible amount of coordination and planning. Everyone really has to be on the same page or else you end up with things that are horribly broken. For instance, there was some debate about how Zoe and Nate should act around each other, and since different writers were tackling Episodes 1, 2, and 3, we ended up with three very different views of Nate. In Episode 1, he was Zoe's boyfriend. In Episode 2, he was very insecure. In Episode 3, he was super aggressive. We finally got it all to work right, but it made for a really funny time playing through the game where Nate just looked like a crazy person.

MD: Was there any particular part of the update that was difficult for the writing team?

L: Yes! In the new Season 1, Zoe decides to compete for Social Chair. We had the hardest time naming that position. We started out with "Spirit Captain" but that didn't feel quite right. Then we tried "Social Committee." "Spirit Advisor," "Head of the Spirit Committee," and "Spirit Leader" all were rejected. I think it came down to anything having the term "Spirit" in the title felt way too cheesy.

MD: Now that the update is out, how does it feel to see fans responding?

L: It's really awesome when people are positive. It makes it feel like all of the hard work was really worth it. I know we work for a game that's put out by EA and that can make it feel like it's a big corporation behind it, but at the heart of SHS and COD, we're a team of 7 writers working like crazy and pouring our hearts into these stories that we love. When we get a fan posting something kind on Facebook or on the Apple store reviews, the team really gets a huge boost of morale from that. Especially the Amazon page for the SHS novel. Whenever we have time, we check to see what fans are saying. Then everyone forwards it around the office and we all gossip about it. People wouldn't believe how excited we get about it, it's silly. The hardest part is when people think we're being greedy. We do need to make money to keep feeding the writers. We're really grateful to all of the fans who are able to support us and purchase content so we can keep these games going!

Writer Fact: Yes, we know this is the third makeover we've given Ben.


  1. Guys we appreciate the thought but you really need to get over your obsession with making every episode about us or featuring us in some way. We are not interesting characters.

  2. I like the makeover for Ben :D
    Uh, really? i don't think that's the case. I appreciate all the hardwork they are doing for us.. I don't despise it at all. I like how they are focused on us and what makes us HAPPY. I'd rather have an interactive game that cares about us than some game that only cares about the money..

  3. Hi guys! First of all; thank you so much for answering most of my questions!! :D Definitely made my day :) It's so interesting to read about you guys... (You could write an article about your fave food and I'd probably still be interested hahahaha)

    I've played the SHS update and thought it was awesome! Definitely noticed some of the Football megapack elements heh :p I have to admit that I hadn't launched the app for quite a while, so I was like 'huh, where's Howard?! o__O' XD But it was a great story! Great job you guys :)

    Same for the Volume10 ending of CoD! It was AMAZINGLY MINDBLOWING! I loved every bit of it. And every time I was like; 'omg it can't get any better than this..' BUT IT DID GET BETTER! Well, y'know, up until the point where Malachi got kidnapped........ PLOT TWIST! I mean, I expected Selene to be full blown cuckoo, and I expected Maltara to happen, but I reaaally did not expect Mal to get kidnapped right after their first kiss.. Poor guy didn't even have time to process what was happening! xD Even though I'm kinda pissed off at you guys because of the whole kidnap-situation, I still applaud you. It was a brilliant plot twist... Now here's what crazy; I don't even know any of you, but I'm so, so proud of you. The episodes/short stories etc. are always pure awesomeness. They never fail to amaze me! The storyline is just so.... Indescribably good! CoD really deserves more players...

    Aaaanyways, I have a few other questions... Do you guys write a chapter each or something? For some reason I thought that there was one person who wrote for different characters :p And who does the artwork? And which of the writers has been reading '50 shades of grey' because lawwwd, CoD's (idk about SHS, I haven't really been following it....) been getting kinda freaky lately! :') Not that I mind... I mean, good for them, right? I'm just waiting until Mal & Natara get to profit from it! (Seriously though, it has almost been two years!) And who comes up with all the random Kai stuff? Cuz he always makes me laugh! It's pure genius :D

    Oh, is any of you guys by chance Dutch? Because, I swear, I've stumbled on waaaay to much Dutch references! I mean, okay, at first it was just the fact that Seth/Deb last name is 'HOLLAND'. But then Blaise mentioned that 'she heard good things about AMSTERDAM' in the V9 Interlude. And Mal asked 'Boobhound, huh? What is that, DUTCH?' in the Alma Maltara episode! Like... Maybe I'm looking too much into this, but I swear that the "Woke up this mornin', and just my luck... She stole my heart, and my pick-up truck...' reminds me of a Dutch hit song called 'Bagagedrager' by Gers Pardoel..... So is this just all pure coincidence or...? :p

    Okay, that's enough crazy fangirling for one day :p Thank you guys so much for all your hard work!! You guys make my week :) Last week, when I thought that there wouldn't be a new CoD episode because of Labour Day, Monday REALLY sucked! But the new CoD episodes always makes it better :) So thank you!

    Welp, this became kinda long.. Yikes!