Alexander Swords is a multidisciplinary narrative development specialist working across the screen arts and beyond for over a decade.

Alexander Swords

Alexander Swords is a multidisciplinary narrative development specialist working across the screen arts and beyond for over a decade. These works have exhibited locally and internationally both serving niche audiences and the wider community to acclaim and recognition. Over this time, he has also worked with a range of major cultural organisations in Melbourne, in various capacities, to care for, grow and develop their audiences. Bringing these skills in both creative and audience development to studios across Europe, he now helps Victorian developers create narrative games with an understanding of their role as cultural artefacts.

The Project

Narrative design is still a rather new concept in game development, though it is a crucial intersection of the arts of storytelling and play. Over this period, I will consult and experiment across live and video games to develop an accessible narrative design framework friendly to all creatives wishing to work in an interactive space to encourage greater diversity in stories and storytellers in games and interactive media.

What does being awarded a Creators Fund grant mean to you?

Initially when I moved into games it did feel like I was moving away from the arts, and what the arts does well. Since being back in my home state I’ve enjoyed the bold statement that the games industry makes here, that games are art. That this statement is shared through something like the Creator’s Fund says to me the statement is taken seriously and is welcomed. It’s a great time to be making games in Victoria. 

How important is 'time' to you, as an artist/creative professional?

Often my experience in the creative industries has involved either being financially stable, or time rich. It feels a little surreal to not only have both those at once, but that the time also allows for creative research and experimentation is incredible. The space created means I can move from doing the work, to being able to innovate and share. That last part also being important. Time to engage with my peers, connect with mentors and offer knowledge to those keen to learn. 

What are you most looking forward to over the months ahead?

The response from the community so far has been wonderful, and even before starting it has prompted conversations throughout about the importance of narrative and what benefits it can bring commercially and culturally. The fact that I’ll have the opportunity to work with so many different talented people over this time is what I look forward to most. Putting narrative at the centre of a community-wide conversation about how more people can tell better stories in games. 

Where would like to see yourself at the end of this process? How do you anticipate your career will develop as a result?

I’d like to see myself as a resource for the industry – not just knowledge, but also use what I learn to inspire others. Being able to legitimise my techniques through this research also means I’ll be able to confidently consult across the industry, attend events, and champion narrative in interactive projects. In the long-term I hope to help lift Victorian narrative games up to a point where that’s what we’re known for – inspiring audiences around the world.

Follow on Twitter: @aboutalexander