I honestly never imagined I’d be scriptwriting for videogames. But since graduating from TFS I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to write on four of the biggest AAA videogame franchises in the industry.
My dream was to be a scriptwriter on an animated television series. In fact, thanks to TFS, I was able to develop a writing portfolio I was proud to send off to ShadowMachine, the production company responsible for Bojack Horseman. But I’ve discovered that sometimes you don’t even realize what your “real” dreams are until they’re presented to you. Because when Ubisoft said “Hey, wanna help us write an Assassin’s Creed game set in Ancient Greece?” I was like “Umm, are you freaking kidding me???”
Turns out they weren’t kidding.
I was sad to leave Toronto for Quebec City, but in the three years that followed I got to collaborate with some of the most talented artists, actors, writers, designers, and directors on the planet. One of the major highlights from that project was when I was assigned to write all the cinematics featuring the Spartan King Leonidas and the famous Battle of Thermopylae.
Once we locked the scripts, they flew us to Ubisoft’s motion capture studio in Toronto where not only did I get to watch actors bringing scenes I had written to life, but Elias Toufexis, a fantastic actor and my former voice acting coach, was cast to play the great Leonidas himself. Like I said, I couldn’t have dreamed that up if I tried.
A second highlight was when Ubisoft flew me around the world as a spokesperson for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, where I got to put my stand-up comedy skills to good use, giving presentations at videogame conventions while interacting with journalists and the fans. Oh, and our game was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award. No big deal.
After that we worked on a fun little game called Immortals Fenyx Rising. Once that was completed, I transferred back to my hometown to help the Montreal team write Far Cry 6, which was led by our fantastic team in Toronto. Once again, I would be working with some incredible talent, spending a lot of time in voice recording sessions with actors and many voice directors I knew from my time as a voice actor in Toronto. We created a fictionalized version of Cuba and called it Yara, where a group of revolutionaries fight to overthrow their dictatorial overlord Castillo, played by none other than Giancarlo Esposito.
One highlight from that project was writing for the character Gilberto, a fabulous spymaster/ drag queen known as Rosa Mel. I got to re-write the lyrics for the song Mambo Italiano, which was then performed beautifully in game by Toronto’s own drag queen Selena Vyle. But if players shoot up the party and ruin Rosa Mel’s performance, don’t worry, my “new and improved” version called Mamo Yarano plays during the credits and can also be found on Spotify. Once again, a dream I didn’t even know I had.
When we finished with Far Cry 6, I became the lead writer on Rainbow Six Siege, where in one year I wrote several short comics, short animated stories (animation dream come true), and CGI marketing trailers.
After six wonderful years at Ubisoft, I moved on to another Montreal studio called Cloud Chamber, a subsidiary of 2K, where we’re currently working on the latest installment of the beloved Bioshock franchise. I can’t say much about this project except I’m once again surrounded by absolutely brilliant people, working on something really special. As someone who’s been passionate about narrative his entire life, working on the game that has literally revolutionized the industry in terms of narrative is truly a blessing.
I’ll never forget the day I finished writing a script in a Kensington Market coffee shop. I Googled “how to pitch a TV show” and TFS came up. I don’t know if it was destiny, or just good SEO, but choosing to enroll in the Writing for Film & Television program was easily one of the best decisions of my life. Meeting Adam Till, his wonderful faculty, and especially the great friends I made there, are things I’ll cherish forever.
– Daniel Bingham is an award-winning comedian turned videogame scriptwriter who graduated from Toronto Film School’s Writing for Film & Television program in 2016. As a game writer, he’s worked on the WGA-nominated Assassins Creed Odyssey, where he specialized in cinematics, open-world branching dialogue, and was a lead writer on the Torment of Hades DLC. He was a senior writer on Fenyx Immortals Rising, Far Cry 6, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, where he also helped expand the game universe by writing CGI marketing trailers, animes, and comics. Bingham is currently a writer at Cloud Chamber (2K) working on Bioshock 4. Follow him on Twitter here.