|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.|