Writing for MissionX

I joined the Hyperbit: MissionX project early in development for a 6 month full-time contract. My main role was to define the voice, story, and lore and to write key blog posts and marketing materials. Beyond some basic mechanical concepts, little work had been done on the game.

My first task was to work with the creative director and art lead to establish atmosphere/mood. I started by developing core worldbuilding ideas to use as a launching point: general location, historical details, a day in the life for an average NPC, etc. We then researched art styles and architecture, played similar games, and worked with a concept artist to sketch out ideas and arrive at the final style.

With the look and feel established I got to work developing internal documents with character outlines and an overarching plot for the game. This helped the dev and art teams build the first environments and models. I then created missions, dialogue, UX copy, item descriptions, and everything else players would directly interact with.

For this first pre-release alpha version of the game I wrote several dozen quests, created descriptions for 15+ items, scripted dialogue for the two initial characters, and developed UX copy for all buttons, menus, the crafting interface, and interactions with blockchain wallets.

Parallel to the creative work I also wrote weekly blog posts to build engagement and tease certain pieces of information. One of these posts was a three-part series detailing background lore for the game, all of which were illustrated by a concept artists using descriptions I provided. These posts ended up being the most popular posts we released, earning incredibly high engagement rates of 11-13%.

Oh, the Drama!

One of the main challenges I encountered during this project was creating story details that could be shared with the community but modified later on. This was necessary due to the nature of Web3 development — planned features may need to be canceled or reworked without notice, forcing a sudden change in scope. If the story couldn’t pivot we would have to contradict public information, which is never a good look.

This flexibility was put to the test midway through my contract. A planned early gameplay element was suddenly postponed weeks before the initial private launch. This meant a complete rewrite of the first 15 minutes of the game, including the opening cutscene, the first 10-15 lines of dialogue, and a dozen missions. Because of the way I had structured the worldbuilding, however, no public information was retconned. I completed the rewrites in just a few days.

UX writing was a unique challenge. Because the game is connected to the blockchain, we had a lot of technical and legal information to share with end users. When writing brief dialog boxes or defining UI elements, I had to condense an incredible amount of information into one or two short lines, all while keeping the tone in-universe and preserving the game’s sense of humor. This was especially difficult when writing had to pass through the legal team before release.