Hi and thanks for visiting my website! My name is Gerben Grave, and I’m a narrative designer, game writer, educator, scholar, speaker, and community leader based in Groningen, The Netherlands.
I got into the industry in 2014 by combining my oldest hobbies: gaming and writing. My education as a literary scholar offered much knowledge and methods that enable me to approach stories and narratives from different perspectives. I was fortunate enough to join a few teams early so I could get my feet wet. And before I knew it, I was a fulltime freelancer!
My portfolio will tell you more about my professional achievements. Most often, my contributions include:
- providing stories, backgrounds, dialogues;
- designing narrative structures that empower players and allow them to retain their agency in the story experience;
- inventing languages that cause game worlds to gain an extra layer of depth.
I enjoy being part of the development process of the game, ensuring that story and gameplay complement each other (as I believe is necessary to achieve an outstanding game).
I live in the countryside with my wife, daughter, and two sons. In my spare time, I practice longsword HEMA, play guitar and Irish instruments, read (about) mythology and folklore, and practice archery in my yard.
I enjoy writing narratives that require some measure of work from the player. While I enjoy a classic story as much as anyone, I find personal satisfaction and challenge in crafting an intricate narrative that encourages players to find out for themselves what the story (or stories) are. Moreover, I believe that a story can be conveyed through various channels, meaning that not only text or dialogue should present the story. Visual elements in the environment or music are just as crucial for a full experience. (I wish I could work together with composers more often.
If you are interested in working with me, want to discuss game writing privately, or just looking for a chat: feel free to contact me.
Game Bakery Coop
I have an office in the co-working space of the Game Bakery Cooperative in Groningen, city of start-ups. I was one of the co-founders and served three years on the board as secretary, and three additional years as chair. The coop consists of 15-25 game development studios and freelancers. We are able to develop our expertise by learning from one another, and creating games together allows great synergy.
I also develop my own games, usually with the help from Game Bakery members. One of these is Eloquence, a narrative exploration game featuring language puzzles that teaches you how to express yourself in a fully function yet fictional symbol language. The other is The Stargazer Epics, a narrative-focused rogue-like adventure game that asks you to reframe your adventure as an epic after every mission, and then share that epic with your friends to help build your fame.
Personal gaming favorites and inspirations:
- Monkey Island series (Lucasfilm Games, 1990 and onward)
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Ubisoft, 2003)
- XCOM/Marvel’s Midnight Suns (Firaxis, 2012 and onward)
- Portal 1 & 2 (Valve, 2007 & 2011)
- To the Moon (Freebird Games, 2011)
- Crusader Kings 2+3 (Paradox, 2012 onwards)
- Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (Starbreeze Studio’s, 2013)
- The Stanley Parable (Galactic Cafe, 2013)
- The Banner Saga (Stoic, 2014 onwards)
- The Talos Principle (Croteam, 2014)